Fairhope’s The Mill transitions to new ownership

Cheryl and Kirk Dye both have traveled all over the United States with their former careers involving the military and defense contracting. Not being afraid to try something different, they decided that it was time to travel back to the South and focus on a business of their own.
Kirk actually grew up in Pensacola, graduated from University of South Alabama and has family ties to Fairhope. Cheryl’s experience in a management capacity, combined with legal and human resources is the perfect transition to being a successful business owner.
The couple discovered that The Mill was for sale and loved the concept. With two popular dining options (MaryAnn’s Deli and Ox Kitchen) that provide a firm foundation, the couple plans to simply build what is already in place.
They have changed the atmosphere only slightly with more large screen televisions and vintage signage. They are still very family friendly with plans to add more live weekend entertainment. Kirk and Cheryl see The Mill lending itself to a more adult oriented environment during evening hours.
While The Mill opens every day at 10am. The Bar – Southern Chill @ the Mill currently operates Thursday through Sunday. There are plenty of craft and domestic beers on tap along with  champagne, wine and even canned beer. Also available are non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate.
The generous amount of indoor and outdoor space makes The Mill perfect for large groups and/or social distancing. Kirk and Cheryl are also working on some enhancements to the third kitchen that will soon be available to occupy a third eatery. Make sure to stop by soon for a bite or a beverage!
The Mill • 85 Bancroft Street, Fairhope • (251) 333-0211 • www.themillfairhope.com

Sugar, spice & everything nice

Rachel and Eric Knoll moved to Fairhope from Atlanta four years ago. They have always wanted to own a business of their own and spent quite a while researching options. Their results presented them the opportunity to visit St. Augustine, Florida and the headquarters of a company called The Spice & Tea Exchange. After some due diligence and conversation with other franchise owners across the country, the Knoll’s procured the rights to the territory that is now home to their cozy location in the heart of Downtown Fairhope.

A little more than a year ago Rachel and Eric opened The Spice and Tea Exchange on De La Mare Avenue. It is an extensive showcase of exquisite teas, spices, herbs, salts, peppers, sugars and more that are sourced from all over the world.

If you are a tea aficionado or foodie you will be impressed and amazed at everything that this shop has to offer. A high-quality, diverse assortment of products are offered in a sensory shopping experience. All of their blends are mixed and packaged on site by a knowledgeable staff that is eager to help customers find easy ways to create unique and flavorful food through the use of teas, spice blends, and various culinary techniques.

A variety of tea cups/mugs and accessories, salt blocks and spice sampler sets are available along with other prepackaged gift bundles and candles. You can browse their selection of complimentary recipe cards that highlight popular dishes using spices, herbs, salts and other ingredients that are available. They even have rice and pasta mixes. While browsing, go ahead and choose a tea to enjoy while you’re there. Freshly brewed in 12, 16 and 24 ounce sizes – hot or iced.

Whether you are entertaining, meal prepping or just need some quick flavor tips to add some diversity to your own recipes – The Spice and Tea Exchange of Fairhope has you covered. Stop by and see how they can kick it up a notch!

The Spice & Tea Exchange • 323 De La Mare Avenue, Fairhope • (251) 219-0339

Fairhope Rotary Youth Club continues to care for our community

Things are awful quiet at Fairhope’s Rotary Youth Club without the kids. Covid-19 has made sure of that. But nonetheless, generous sponsorship, community volunteers and dedicated staff at the center are doing everything in their power to make sure the children and elderly of the Fairhope community knows they are of utmost priority.

Feeding the Gulf Coast, a local food bank, works through the Fairhope Youth Club providing single-day distributions to hundreds of families in need. This location provides 200 meals (breakfast and lunch) each week day for children up to age eighteen. They have a drive up distribution and are happy to provide these meals. They want everyone to know that anyone is eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. Gallons of milk have also been donated and are also available at no charge.

Also on hand, are miscellaneous pantry essentials, dry goods and household supplies. If there is a need for cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and masks during these uncertain times, those in need are encouraged to ask. They are happy to oblige.

On Fridays the focus is on providing a hot lunch to the elderly and shut in. Local churches participate by assembling and delivering and there is also drive up access.

Executive Director Tracey Miller is in the process of implementing A Virtual Summer Enrichment Program. Computers will be used to help keep children engaged and be able to access some of the benefits of enrichment and tutoring as it relates to reading and math. The costs associated with this process are considerably more than the traditional method. Each computer costs $328. They are looking at purchasing 100 computers and are accepting donations to help with the expense. Miller and her staff truly miss and worry about all of the Rotary Youth Families. They look forward to getting back to the way things used to be. In the meantime, they are doing their best to maximize efforts and provide services to Fairhope’s youth as we all proceed with this much different way of getting needs met.

To donate to the Fairhope Rotary Youth Club, please contact Executive Director Tracey Miller at 251-928-9148 email: tmiller@rotaryyouthclub.org

Three amigos combine talents to fine tune and develop plans for future ventures

Mark Strickland was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. After graduating from McGill, he served in the United States Marine Corps and then ventured on to pursue his culinary aspirations in Colorado. He had the opportunity to work for Chef Rick Kangas at Grouse Mountain Grill and also with Chef David Walford at Splendido, both James Beard Award winning chefs.

In 2002, Mark was offered a head chef position at Cafe 615 in Downtown Mobile by good friend, former classmate and business owner Noell Broughton. Strickland accepted the position and made the journey back to his old stomping grounds. Being classically French trained, it was a smooth transition and definite enhancement to the fine dining scene in a historic downtown venue.
Mark decided to take a break from Back of the House operations and further develop his resume. He went to work for Cooper Restaurants to learn the details of Front of the House procedure and did so with Ruth’s Chris and Felix’s Fish Camp.
In 2013, Strickland went to the water and accepted a culinary position in the oil and gas industry. He was responsible for preparing and feeding engineers and crews on supply boats, rigs and other platforms from a remote operating vessel. Mark took to dry land in 2018 to welcome a son and enjoy some family time.
While freelancing as a Chef partner with Thermador and Bosch appliances, Mark re-entered the full time culinary world and went to work with two of his best and oldest friends, Noell Broughton and Bobby Kilpatrick, as head chef at The Bone & Barrel in Downtown Fairhope last September. With an existing menu in place and thriving business, Mark placed his emphasis on minor tweaks while focusing on consistency and attention to detail. Strickland will implement some menu changes in the Spring with the offering some lighter seasonal fare.

But for now…you might want to try their Mother Clucker! A buttermilk fried chicken breast that has been marinated in a pickle juice and sweet tea brine, topped with a bourbon bacon and caramelized onion jam, drizzled with white BBQ sauces and topped with Wickles pickles. This sandwich is accompanied by a serving of white cheddar jalapeno mac & cheese…mouthwatering!

Their other “Between the Bun” specialties include Po-Boys (debris, shrimp and/or oyster), a Wicked Cuban, a Spider (soft shell crab) Sandwich and incredible burgers. They have some hearty appetizers that could also serve as entrees; Fried Ribs, Sugar Cane Shrimp, Nachos a la Hawg and Wings (Rosemary Parmesan, Bourbon Molasses and Classic Buffalo) in addition to Crab Cakes and Blue Crab Dip. Their signature entrees include an 18 ounce Bone-In Ribeye and Fried Spinach & Goat Cheese Grits.
Bone and Barrel offers a daily lunch and dinner special as well as seasonal desserts and cobblers. Kids are welcome and they even have a special menu. The Bone and Barrel opens every day at 11am with full bar service and the kitchen serves until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends.
There is live music almost every day and always on weekends, indoor and outdoor seating and upstairs accommodations for special events.

The Bone and Barrel • 311 Fairhope Ave, Downtown Fairhope (251) 990-0782

Local couple forms business to promote a Southern staple

Any time is Tailgate time according to Paige and Jimmy Dill. This cute couple started baking their cheesestraws just for the fun of it and have turned it into a thriving business.
Jimmy Dill has taken a recipe that was given to him by a beloved friend, made a few tweaks and has come up with his version of a popular Southern entertaining staple. 
The Dill’s, who both enjoy baking, started out in the kitchen of their home under the Cottage Law and quickly realized that they needed a larger space. They moved their operation to the kitchen at Camp Beckwith in Fairhope. Because of the equipment they were using, the couple was producing small batches and putting in a tremendous amount of hours. Within a short amount of time, they realized that they just couldn’t keep up and it was time to step up their game. They relocated to their own commercial kitchen in Fairhope, upgraded their equipment and are now capable of producing multiple batches of thousands of cheese straws.
Tailgate Cheesestraws are made with quality ingredients. They are crispy, savory and pair perfectly with a nice glass of wine. They can be served as an appetizer or just simply eaten as a snack. They contain just the right amount of seasoning but, if you prefer, a spicier version is available for those who “like it hot”. 
Paige and Jimmy are thankful to all their friends whom have supported their endeavor and spread the word (and their product) throughout the community. The Dills also appreciate local vendors like B&B Pecans, Hazel’s, Greer’s, Piggly Wiggly and Rouses who have also embraced their business by offering Tailgate Cheese Straws for sale in their locations.
This past Christmas season they participated in a Christmas Market (Merry Little Market in Point Clear) showcasing not only their cheese straws but other family favorites;  cheese cake cookies, oatmeal craisin cookies and poundcake! Because of the shelf life of those items, they are not sold in stores but available as a special order. For more information on Tailgate Traditions Cheese Straws, special orders or shipping contact Jimmy Dill at (251) 278-9600 or email jimmy.dill@tailgatecheesestraws.com.

Featured Foodservice Distributor

Delivery Driver Beau Porter, Ben E Keith District Sales Representative Brian Injaian and Customer Horace Sledge of Market by the Bay

Bryan Injaian has been worked in and with restaurants his entire career. This native Mobilian attended the University of Southern Mississippi on a music performance scholarship. After deciding to hang up the violin, he hopped a bus and took off for California. Bryan worked at Yosemite National Park in Food and Beverage. He camped out in a tent for a year before deciding to head back home and finish his schooling in Mobile. He graduated from the University of South Alabama with degree in Hospitality Management.
Over the past twenty plus years, Injaian has worked his way up the restaurant operations chain.  His experiences have taken him from breakfast cook at Cracker Barrel to Area Director of Restaurants for Ruby Tuesday and Wintzell’s Oyster House. During his time in restaurant management, Bryan was also recognized by the Alabama Restaurant Association as Restaurant Manager of the Year. Bryan now serves as a District Sales Representative for broadliner Ben E. Keith servicing and cultivating accounts in Mobile and on the Eastern Shore. In addition to supplying restaurants with product, he assists his customers with ways to increase sales, improve operations and maximize profitability through a host of multiple resources that are available through the company. His knowledge of restaurants and the Hospitality Industry is quite the  recipe for success.
Ben E. Keith Company is a distributor of food and beverage products founded in 1906.  Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Ben E. Keith is one of the largest broadliners in the country. The Elba division services our Gulf Coast area and supplies a full line of produce, frozen foods, meats, dry groceries, refrigerated foods, paper goods, equipment and supplies to restaurants, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other institutional businesses.  Ben E. Keith is expanding their footprint into the Southeast. A state of the art warehouse and test kitchen is currently under construction in New Brockton, Alabama to better service their growing customer base. For more information about Ben E. Keith and how they can assist, feel free to contact Bryan at (251) 895-2332 or email:bdinjaian@benekeith.com

From take out stand to full service restaurant – Papa Dave’s BBQ is smoking in Barnwell

Bryan Murphy, Aleigha, Tina and Dave Delaney

After David Delaney’s second excursion to Alabama’s Gulf Coast he was sold! He told his wife, Tina, that he wasn’t coming back home to Wisconsin.
Delaney is a logger by trade. He moved his business, all of his equipment, his crew AND his family to South Alabama. A few years ago, there was flooding on the river and Mother Nature presented some logistical issues pertaining to Delaney’s logging operation. Dave decided to send his equipment and crew back to Wisconsin and open Papa Dave’s BBQ, a barbecue take out stand, at the corner of Section Street and County Road 44 in Fairhope. He sold sandwiches and meats by the pound and the response from the public was incredible. He was selling out of his product by 2pm everyday, often disappointing customers who arrived later in the day.
Papa Dave was presented with the opportunity to expand his offering and move to a bigger location in Barnwell. With the help and support of his friends, family and church family he took a leap of faith and went whole hog (pun intended). Papa Dave built a smoke house and opened his full service restaurant in the former location of Nanny’s Kountry Kitchen this past May. Papa Dave describes his barbecue as all “his own”. “There’s no vinegar so it would be more of a mix of Texas and Kansas City style, but it is a cross of all barbecue I have tried. I made my own (style)”, says Delaney.
Everything is made from scratch and his sauces include a sweet and a hot version. He also has his own buffalo sauce for the chicken and offers a brisket gravy on the breakfast menu.
His meats include brisket, chicken and pulled pork. On the menu they are offered in nachos, loaded potatoes, in po-boys, sandwiches, wraps and even quesadillas. Baby back ribs are also available by the whole, half or quarter rack.
Papa Dave’s also has a burger menu that implements their barbecue offerings. The Barnwell Burger is topped with cheese and a sauced brisket. The Piggy Burger features a patty, cheese and a sauced pulled pork. The Cow Burger: cheese, sauced brisket and ranch slaw. If you aren’t in the mood for barbecue you can go strictly burger – single or double. You can even go bunless for their Keto Burger: TWO burger patties served with cheese, pickle and tomato on a bed of ranch slaw.
Papa Dave is available for catering and offers limited delivery ($25 minimum order). Dave, a proud Army Veteran, offers a 10% discount to all Military and first responders. Papa Dave’s BBQ is open every day. Mondays from 11am-2pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 6am-2pm, Thursday through Saturday 6am-9pm and Sunday 6am-2pm. Make sure to like “Papa Dave’s BBQ” on Facebook for daily specials and other information.
Papa Dave’s BBQ • 9111 Highway 98, Fairhope • (251) 228-0248

Bill-E’s Operation names a notable General Manager

Meet Chip Reed, award winning Chef, writer & cooking show host and recently named General Manager of Bill-E’s Restaurant.

Many noticeable changes have been made in the last six months to Bill-E’s, the iconic roadside attraction, known fondly as ‘Old 27 Grill’, on Hwy 181 and Windmill Rd in Fairhope.  The internationally recognized Bill-E’s Small Batch Bacon has gained a cult following to the point that its creator and producer, William “Bill-E” Stitt, decided to rebrand his restaurant to showcase the highly acclaimed bacon.  “Hungry for a good time?  I opened my restaurant (some call it a dive, but whatever) back in 2011 for two reasons. I wanted the good people of Fairhope, Alabama to have a no-frills place where they could kick back and enjoy an afternoon or evening of live music, lively conversation, and killer grub. Also, I needed a place to smoke and serenade my delicious bacon. Located on Highway 181—formerly Highway 27, hence my original name, Old 27 Grill—Bill-E’s is where locals and vacationers alike come to throw their cares and their diets to the wind. I welcome you to do the same.”  Bill E

After a full menu rewrite, new signage, even increased power supply, Stitt looked to add an operator that could bring it all together to grow his brand and deliver great service to his hungry guests.

Chef Chip Reed and Stitt met in 2016 at the Orange Beach World Food Championships. Chef Reed was managing one of the world’s largest food trucks for country singer, Zac Brown. “I immediately became a fan of Bill-E’s Small Batch Bacon. It was absolutely the cleanest, best tasting bacon I’d ever experienced,” says Reed. Once they began talking, Chip & William discovered that, although a few years apart, they both had begun their restaurant careers in Oxford Mississippi. Stitt studied Hospitality Management, whereas Reed was in the Southern Studies program. After Ole Miss Chip went to Miami and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Johnson & Wales University. From there, he cooked around Italy, South America & The South before settling in Savannah, GA. While in Savannah, Chef Reed built a successful local produce distribution house & a boutique seafood company. With a continued emphasis on promoting local foodways, Chip received the Flavor of Georgia award in 2010. Following that recognition, he continues to develop Southern brands and takes them to the national market. Most recently, Chef has been featured on the cover of Southern Flavor magazine. He is also the host of “The Dirty Dish”, a cooking show currently being filmed in Baldwin County. Chef Reed is also a World Food Championship & Culinary Fight Club Judge.

Bill-E’s fabulous fare starts out featuring “Big Little Bites” such as smoked tuna dip, pimento cheese, boiled peanuts, fried green beans, a bacon taster and a pork belly bite trio in addition to chicken wings and tenders. It moves on to boast of shrimp gumbo, chili, a Comeback Salad and a grilled Wedge Salad.

All of Bill-E’s burgers are served with lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions with your choice of house-made chips or rough cut fries. The Burgers include the Old 27 Burger served with dill pickle and Comeback sauce, a Black and Blue Burger, Bill-E’s Signature Holy Cow burger, Ole Texas Burger, Mushroom Burger, a Blended Burger (pork belly and Certified Angus Beef) which is topped with a soft fried egg, a Waygu Burger and even a Veggie Burger.

Their sandwiches have all the bases covered. The Dixie Chic Sandwich features their house made Pimento cheese, Bill-E’s bacon goes on the BLT and proceeds to go a bit thicker with his Pork Belly Sandwich. The Comeback Sandwich comes in chicken or shrimp and you can get a fish sandwich either blackened or fried!

If you need a sweet treat, try their Hot Chocolate & Caramel Brownie served with ice cream, one of their seasonal fruit pies or Bill-E’s Chocolate Belly – sweet & salted caramel pork belly bites covered with a bourbon brown sugar glaze topped with a smoked cherry.

There’s a lot going on at Bill-E’s and we haven’t even addressed the beer and libations at the bar. You can check those out for yourself! Bill-E’s is open daily and you can check out their music schedule in The Eat Beat or online at www.eat-beat.com
BILL-E’s • 19992 US Highway 181, Fairhope • (251) 281-2663

Olde Towne Daphne’s newest nightly dining venue… Kitchen on Main

Dorothy Overstreet, Kitchen on Main

Dorothy Overstreet was Bayou la Batre born and raised amoungst a family of incredible cooks. She remembers her Mom and Dad participating in all the Bayou Tasting events and preparing their seafood gumbo and more for the masses of people that would attend each year. Overstreet enjoys feeding folks and finds cooking very cathartic. She is also a talented singer and songwriter, and lived in Nashville for a while before honing her cooking skills at Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta. After returning to Baldwin County, Dorothy focused on offering catering services. Opening a restaurant of her very own has been a dream of Dorothy’s for some time and she knew it was now or never. When a spot on Daphne’s Main Street came available this past July, she knew the timing was right and this was her opportunity. She
admired the industrial feel and clean lines of the small cozy space.
It reminded her of places she had frequented in Nashville with just the right feeling of a intimate, yet approachable, neighborhood restaurant. In addition to the main dining area, there is a side deck that is used for outdoor seating when the weather is conducive.
In October the KITCHEN ON MAIN opened its doors to the public with a menu of Dorothy’s recipes that she has perfected over the years. Everything is hand crafted using the freshest of ingredients. The menu of American fare is comprised on small plates, sharebles, add-ons, large plates and desserts. The seafood selections change more frequently and the other selections are subject to change based on seasonality. There is a full bar and a wine list that compliments the dinner menu. Kitchen on Main is currently open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until 9pm. Reservations are accepted but not required. Be sure to follow “Kitchen on Main” on Facebook to see what’s cookin’.
Kitchen On Main • 1716 Main Street • Daphne •  (251) 307-5350

Buster’s Brick Oven prepares for November Bourbon Dinner

Tucked just to the side of the ever famous Manci’s Antique Club is a quaint, cozy spot that has blossomed within the bussle of it’s big brother’s shadow…with a personality all of it’s own.
Buster’s Brick Oven originally opened in May of 2017 and is emerging as one of the Eastern Shore’s go to spots to relax and unwind with an adult beverage.
Managing Partner, Garrett DeLuca has embraced his position, fostered the business and built his back of the house team in a manner that completely personifies what Buster’s was intended to accomplish. DeLuca’s accomplished kitchen staff is comprised of Judon Price, Marian Titlestad and Ben Flores. He credits them with the creativity and passion that has pushed – and continues to push – Buster’s menu to the next level.
The food menu at Buster’s consists of small plates/irons, charcuterie boards, freshly prepared brick oven pizzas and a small selection of savory entrees/seared selections. Buster’s offers a nice selection and variety of wines in addition to a full bar with a specialty cocktail menu. They have also recently added draft beer and serve craft and local brews.
The week begins on Wednesday at Buster’s. Every Wednesday they feature
a $5 house wine and a $10 pizza. The current days/hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 5pm until with plans of reintroducing a Sunday Brunch by the end of the year. Be sure to like them on Facebook (Buster’s Brick Oven) to keep up with their “pizza of the night” and their Friday & Saturday Dinner “special of the night”.
On November 14th, Buster’s will host an Old Forester Bourbon Dinner. The culinary team will debut their three course menu that will pair an Old Forester Bourbon that complimenting each course. There will be an Ambassador from Old Forester on hand to educate and enhance the experience. The menu and price will posted online and reservations will be taken via email at bustersbrickoven@gmail.com
Buster’s Brick Oven • 1711 Main Street • Daphne •  (251) 264-2520