Pittsburgh native Mark Bentz began his career in the food service industry at a famous burger restaurant by the name of Tessaro’s Hardwood Grill in Pittsburgh. Like many, he started out washing dishes and then worked his way up to a kitchen position. He was a loyal employee of Tessaro’s for 14 years before he transitioned into cooking in a private country club north of Pittsburgh. He learned a lot from the chefs that he was surrounded by and benefitted from their knowledge. In 2004, Mark landed on the the Eastern Shore and settled in Daphne. He went to work part-time for Kris Konlon at Cousin Vinny’s. He fit right in and gained a lot of experience from working at the pizzeria. Mark, being a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and missing the comradery of like individuals, decided to open a place of his own and pay homage to his home city and favorite team. His first restaurant, Bentz’s Pizza Pub opened in 2006. The establishment was nestled right beside Daphne’s largest subdivision and was decorated with all things Pittsburgh. Mark was pleasantly surprised and delighted to find that he just so happened to be among a great number of fellow Steeler fans in the area. In 2014, Bentz was involved in opening a second restaurant in Spanish Fort. And now, just this past weekend, Mark has just embarked upon his third and largest operation in the area. He named his new venture YINZERS BREW & GRILL. The term “yinzer” is used to describe a native or inhabitant of the city of Pittsburgh. Bentz and his managing partner, Kim Paige, are most thankful for the host of friends and family that have been supportive of their efforts. They invite you to come out and enjoy the great view overlooking Mobile Bay, entertainment and opening celebration of Daphne’s newest eatery.
Yinzers specializes in Pittsburgh pies (pizza) and sandwiches and brew! There are sixteen taps that will feature a variety of domestic and craft beers – some of which will rotate based on seasonality. The current menu features appetizers that include soft pretzels, wings, pub chips and various cheesy breads and cheesy fries in addition to fried pickle spears, onion rings, and fried mozzarella. Sandwich options include Philly Steak, Italian, Italian Steak and Muffaletta. The side items are coleslaw, french fries, pub chips, onion rings, fried okra, mac & cheese or pasta salad. Their Yinzer-style specialty salads are uniquely enhanced with fries or fried okra unless you specify your greens without such. The pizza pies are offered in cheese or a variety of combinations that are available in a 12 inch or 16 inch size. The current menu is an abbreviated one. There will soon be a lineup of handmade burgers added to the food lineup. Yinzers is open daily.
Yinzers Brew & Grill, 28850 Highway 98, Suite 200, Daphne • (251) 621-6990
Facebook “Yinzers Brew and Grill” • www.YinzersDaphne.com
Photography courtesy of Dawn Gorman (217) 737-7565
Lenny’s Subs arrived in Daphne in 2007. Andy and Jennifer McGee were familiar with Lennys being that both worked for the company as college students. Since they were knowledgeable with inner workings of the operation and wanted to have a business of their own, they decided to invest in a Lenny’s franchise. Jennifer was from Mobile and she and Andy decided to open and grow their business in Daphne around the same time that Lennys was introduced to the Mobile market.
Andy’s parents lived in Memphis but they knew they would be relocating before grandchildren entered the scene. In 2012, two months before the couple’s triplets arrived Andy’s parents Randy and Cathy settled on the Eastern Shore. Randy McGee knew that his number one role was that of a grandparent but to aid in the adjustment to his new surroundings he asked Andy if there was a place from him at Lenny’s. Randy started out assisting with the occasional catering. Since then the demand for catering has increased and Lennys of Daphne now has their own catering vehicle and a part-time employee that executes the daily catering. Randy has taken on more of a public relations position and enjoys interacting with customers on a regular basis. He calls it relationship management and has definitely raised the bar when it comes to hospitality and guest services. Randy helps the staff start their day before the doors open every morning and then returns around lunch time to welcome patrons and to ensure they enjoy their Lenny’s experience.
There are over twenty different sandwiches that you can choose from in addition to the salads and wraps. Their deli sandwiches are prepared the “Lenny’s Way” and include onion, lettuce, tomato, oil, salt, pepper, oregano, pickles, red wine vinegar and mayo – unless otherwise specified. They are served on bread that is baked fresh daily and the meats are sliced at the time you order. Their philly cheesesteaks and grilled subs are served hot and all of their sandwiches are available in a 5 inch, 7 1/2 inch, 10 inch or 15 inch sizes. If you are planning a special event, they offer party platters, large salad bowls that serve eight to ten people and even a hot catering option that features their philly cheesesteak, chicken philly or meatball sub. You can even place your order online and also take advantage of their VIP Rewards Membership to earn free food and receive special offers.
The McGee’s have recently opened their second location on Highway 90 and are now serving both the Daphne and Malbis areas with a fresh, quality product that prepared just the way you like it. Lennys is open Monday through Saturday from 11am until 9pm.
Lennys Grill & Subs • 2020 Hwy 98, Daphne (251) 621-1635 and 9475 US Hwy 90, Daphne (251) 333-1108 • Facebook “Lennys Subs” www.lennys.com
Leslie and Justin Hanks have both grown up in the food service business. Justin is originally from Fairhope and started working in restaurants before he could even drive. Leslie is from the Pensacola area and got her experience at a young age as well. Her family owns a food/concessions operation and they travel around the Gulf Coast area setting up at festivals and events. They both continued their involvement in food service and in restaurants throughout their teenage years and into adulthood gaining incredible experience from family and local restaurant owners who are passionate about the food they serve. Around this time last year, the couple obtained their food truck license and started researching opportunities that would allow the public to try a taste of Tin Tin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck.
This husband and wife team strives to provide gourmet food as well as great customer service in a fun atmosphere. They turn up the tunes and crank out a variety of items that includes an American, Mediterranean and Filipino flavors. Leslie showcases her heritage as part of the variety of food options that are showcased on the menu. Her lumpia (the Filipino version of egg rolls) and pancit (traditional Filipino noodle dish) have developed quite a following with customers everywhere they present. You can even go taco with their fish or shrimp version that takes on a fresh Asian flair. Try one of their
tasty gyro (lamb or chicken) or shish kabob plates or just go with what you know and order a po boy, burger or some fried green tomatoes or zucchini.
Leslie and Justin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck makes a regular guest appearance at Fairhope Brewing Company on Wednesday evenings for trivia night and most Thursdays for lunch at The Burrow Coffee & Co. just south of Thomas Hospital. For more details or to find out where the Rock-N-Roll Food Truck may be located be sure to follow their Facebook Page – Tin Tin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck. They can also make arrangements to cater or be at your special event. Just give them a call at (251) 228-6305 or email them at email@example.com
Persistence is just part of Nonie Taul’s personality. When this mom’s oldest child, Annie started complaining of frequent stomach aches, Nonie did what any mom would do. After several doctors visits and a noticeable weight loss, Taul’s daughter was referred to a gastroenterologist. Annie was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten can lead to the damage in the small intestine. The dietary changes that took place in the Taul household were also adopted by Nonie. After the omission of all things gluten, Nonie began to notice how much better she felt.
Nonie has always led an active lifestyle, from youth sports through her college years as a dance major. She is a certified yoga, pilates and group fitness instructor. As Nonie’s students became inquisitive about her personal diet and nutrition she started a Facebook Page as a support site. As her followers grew in number, so did her passion to help others with their quest for better health through diet and exercise. In 2015 she started her business, Naturally Strong Nonie. She teaches classes that are designed to help women look and feel great in addition to providing meal plans and even grocery lists to help with meal preparation. Taul has also taken it a step further by visiting and inquiring with local restaurant owners about menu items that fall in line with the nutrition plan she promotes. Healthy choices are most certainly available when dining out and can be found “Nonie Approved” at Moe’s Southwestern, The Ox Kitchen, Sage, Two Sisters Bakery & Deli and Locals.
When 2018 rolled around, Taul’s persistence again came into play with the gals at Rae’s Kitchen. She had approached Jessica Guthrie and Nancy Dupree about preparing some of her healthy recipes that would be easy to grab and go. After the Christmas Holiday season Guthrie agreed to give it a try. The response has been amazing and the kitchen’s
business has increased such that they had to hire friends to help out a couple of days a week just to keep up with the demand for the “Naturally Strong/Nonie Approved” items that occupy the cooler shelves. “We have moms that come and stock up for themselves and also grab a different dinner casserole for the husband and kids” says Guthrie, “It’s a win – win!” Some of the current healthy choices endorsed by Nonie and prepared by Rae’s Kitchen include an extremely popular Egg Roll Bowl, an Edamame Quinoa Salad, Chicken Lettuce Wrap Stuffing, a GLOW (gluten free, low carb, organic) Bowl, a Green Quinoa Bowl, Cauliflower Detox Salad, Vegetable Detox Soup and a Turkey Sausage & Cabbage Soup. The offerings vary and are seasonal but there are typically approximately ten different choices available at all times.
For more information on Nonie Taul and the services she offers visit her website at www.naturallystrongnonie.com or visit her Facebook Page “Naturally Strong Nonie”. To get a taste of what Taul is advocating (and more) visit Rae’s Kitchen at 460 N. Section Street, Fairhope (251) 210-6135 www.raeskitchenandcatering.com • Facebook “Rae’s Kitchen”
It’s been over twenty years since this duo worked together near the beginning of both of their culinary journeys. Ryan Glass met Chris Litts during his final stage of training after culinary school. Glass did his externship under Litts at the Martini House in St. Helena, Napa County, California.
Before the upstate New York native arrived at the Martini House, he served as the Executive Sous Chef for the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.
Litts left the Martini House to partner with three others to open Kitchen Door where he is still a partner. After numerous invitations from Glass to come to South Alabama and the need for a change of pace, Litts finally landed on the Eastern Shore last July.
The long time friends picked up where they left off and are back together again in the kitchen at Camellia Cafe. Chris and Ryan have revamped the menu at Camellia Cafe and now offer three to four nightly specials.
They have an incredible line up of appetizers that include truffle fries, smoked salmon bruschetta, a wagyu beef carpaccio, grilled artichoke and a crispy Georgia quail. Some of the regular entrees feature hickory grilled fish, filet of beef, pan roasted duck a Kobe
beef burger. There are also an assortment of other dishes that together showcase a variety of proteins accompanied by complementary sides in an elegant presentation.
Handcrafted cocktails and martinis in addition to the exclusive wine list, pair perfectly with the menu that the cafe presents. All of their desserts are house made and go hand in hand with a French pressed coffee to finish off an incredible experience.
Camellia Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner service. Reservations are recommended.
Camellia Cafe • 61 Section Street, Fairhope (251) 928-4321
Chef Jeremiah Matthews’ education, culinary travels and experiences have allowed him to cultivate the kind of food experience that he not only shares with his customers but also with his entire staff. The creativity that flows through his kitchen embraces a philosophy of continuing education, ingredient appreciation and a never ending quest of progression.
Early last year, Matthews was presented with the opportunity to build a legacy of his own. It was an offer that he couldn’t pass up and the timing was right. He opened his restaurant, Southwood Kitchen, in August of 2017.
His back of the house team includes his son, Noah Matthews and Sous Chef Tyler Ales, both who are well seasoned and industry trained. General Manager, Steven Hall and Bar Manager, Robbie Dozier engage with customers front of the house with a professional hospitality, well stocked bar and a wine list that is constantly evolving.
Although there are no white tablecloths, that doesn’t mean the food is undeserving. Matthews strives for upscale cuisine in an unpretentious atmosphere. Fresh, local ingredients are used – seasonal vegetables, fresh fish, hand ground beef, hand cut fries, house made salad dressings and even pickles.
The menu descriptions share credit with the farms and purveyors of the ingredients allowing the diner to recognize quality and appreciate the communities they represent.
The lunch menu is more constant but the dinner menu changes daily based on what Chef Matthews is able to procure.
Snacks/Starters are known to include buttermilk onion straws, hot crab dip, pimento cheese with house made pork rinds, fresh soup, oysters and pork belly. Salads are made of local greens, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, in addition to other seasonal items. Seafood/Fish entrees come from local gulf waters in addition to other fresh catches from
around the world. There are a variety of tenderloins, filets and high end beef cuts that fall into the meat category.
Southwood Kitchen is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11am until 3pm with dinner service beginning at 5pm. Reservations have recently become an option for guests. Although they are accepted, they are not mandatory to enjoy a delightful dining experience.
Southwood Kitchen • 1203 US Highway 98, Suite 3D, Daphne • (251) 626-6676
Facebook “Southwood Kitchen” • www.southwoodkitchen.com
Ed and Barbara Bridges created a loyal customer base during the seventeen years they owned Ed’s Seafood Shed on the Causeway. With no prior restaurant experience, the rookie restaurateurs did an incredible job serving their family recipes cooked the ‘Old Mobile’way.
This past October the Bridges were able to comfortably pass the torch to a group of new owners. They know that the business is in good hands and have been assured that what they built will always have a an “Ed” in it.
Pete Blohme, Nick Dimario and Robert Kabakoff partnered to refresh and relaunch the restaurant and offer their customers Southern coastal classics. Gumbo, fried oysters, fried gulf shrimp, a variety of fish, scallops, crab claws, turnip greens, garlic cheese grits and the famous cole slaw with crackers are just some of what Ed’s Shed has offered and will continue to offer. They are dedicated to improve and enhance without changing what Ed’s is all about.
The gorgeous view of Mobile Bay could not be improved upon but some of the building’s features have. The spacious back patios have been redecked and freshly painted, new windows and state of the art heaters have been installed. An outdoor kid’s zone is in the works and lots of great live music is being scheduled.
Neal Hollingshead is the General Manager of Ed’s Seafood Shed and preceeded the purchase of the business. His commitment and dedication to this location and the industry is just one of the reasons that the PP Restaurant Group successful. The passion that this group of guys displays is more than evident, not only in words but in actions
“Everything that Pete has talked about has happened” says Dimario “and more!”
The company’s brands (Panini Pete’s, Sunset Pointe and now Ed’s Shed) not only serve the public with great food they also share a commitment to develop and mentor their employees. “Food is a great way to make friends.” says Blohme, “Develop them, enhance their skills and launch them onto something that makes them better.”
In conjunction with helping others, the PP Group has created the PR Foundation. Through fundraisers, volunteer efforts and donations the foundation’s purpose is to do very special things for very special people giving back to individuals with special needs, Veterans of the Armed Forces, no kill animal shelters and other community causes.
Ed’s Seafood Shed • 3382 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort • (251) 625-1947
Facebook “Ed’s Seafood Shed” • www.edsshed.com