Daphne’s Southwood Kitchen presents upscale cuisine in an approachable atmosphere

IMG_6615Chef 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

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New Owners of Ed’s Seafood Shed will continue the tradition of fun Southern Classics

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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

Spanish Fort’s Fresh Healthy Cafe focuses on wholesome, good food that promotes optimal health

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Photography by Travon Gibbs

Everything that Nicole Shipman has encountered in her life has prepared her for this most recent journey that she has embarked upon.

This Georgia girl was born and raised in Atlanta. After graduating from college she taught kindergarten and married Jason Shipman. The newlyweds relocated to Dothan, Alabama where they started their family and lived for eight years. With a longing to be closer to water, the couple began researching potential places to call home. They found the Eastern Shore and after a weekend visit, were sold. “Everything about the area was attractive”, says Nicole, “it’s a little country and a little cutting edge.”
After their second child was born, Nicole began working out. She became a certified Zumba instructor and also a certified personal trainer. These accomplishments are what began preparing her for what was just around the corner.

After a family trip to California, Nicole personally witnessed the abundant amount of quick-casual, healthy dining options available on the west coast, She began investigating business opportunities related to healthy eating. She was in search of a proven business model that was small but yet customizable. On the “up and coming” list she discovered FRESH, a Canadian based company that appealed to her personal requirements concerning nutrition.

She chose to support the local business community by using other local business folks when it came to needed services. She also personalized the interior to reflect the characteristics of our area describing the feel as “Southern Coastal Industrial Chic”. After the 19 month process, Nicole, with the support of her family, were thrilled to share her passion with the public.

Fresh Healthy Cafe opened this October in Spanish Fort. The restaurant sources and serves the freshest, highest-quality ingredients they can procure. All menu items completely customizable and include paninis, wraps, salads, power and protein bowls and even seasonal specials. An extensive line of freshly squeezed juices and pure and super smoothies are also offered. Their menu is quite extensive and includes vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten free options. Proteins include chicken breast, turkey breast, un’chicken, tofu and hummus. There are no beef products on the menu nor will you find mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard. They will also do their best to accommodate individuals with food allergies. With the start of the new year you might want to consider “reFRESH” – a fresh juice program designed to reset eating habits, support the body’s natural detoxification and kick start a healthy diet. More details are available in-store. Catering, platters and big salads are available for parties and special events. Make
plans to stop by and experience Fresh and see what every ”body” has been missing!

Fresh Healthy Cafe • 10184 Eastern Shore Blvd.• Spanish Fort • (251) 444-7170
www.freshrestaurants.com
Facebook “Fresh Spanish Fort” • Instagram “FreshHealthyCafe”

Bay House Bistro’s Chef Karadimos describes himself as “a little Greek, a little Chesapeake”

BrianKphotoWhen Chef Brian Karadimos began his career path and he enrolled in culinary school and started out in the kitchen at Olive Garden. He decided to be in the top one percent in his profession, so he approached his culinary teachers and inquired about finding a Chef mentor. This is how Karadimos encountered Chef Christopher Hastings.
Chef Hastings owned and operated Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Chef Hastings took Brian under his wing and trained him as a father would a son. Karadimos would come to retain the position of Sous Chef at the age of 20. Karadimos left the Hot and Hot to join the team at Chez Fonfon owned by Chef Frank Stitt. He learned many things from Chef Stitt pertaining to technique of preparing food.
Chef Karadimos made the decision to get back to his roots and move back to Baltimore Maryland, where he was born and lived until he was fourteen. While there, Brian worked as the Executive Chef at The Black Olive, which was a Greek restaurant that focused on the tradition of cooking in the most simplistic way while using the finest ingredients.
After this, Chef Karadimos was looking more to find the philosophy of food as an art rather than a technique. This led him to Chef Chris Dupont and Café Dupont. Chef Dupont led by example and showed him how it was just as important to be a good man as it was to be a chef.
There he also learned the “art” of cooking. Since moving to Fairhope in 2006, Brian spent time as chef of Camp Beckwith and working with great teams in local fine dining restaurants as well as guest cheffing.
Most recently, Brian was approached by local investors who have remodeled a quaint cottage on Mobile Street with an incredible view of the bay. This new culinary endeavor is the blending of two families that love to eat and the desire to give that experience to the community. Fairhope’s newest addition to the dining scene is Bay House Bistro.
Chef Karadimos labels himself as “a little Greek, a little Chesapeake”. He enjoys blending cuisines from different countries with a Mediterranean flair. Brian works with his wife, Lenore, who contributes her talents as a pastry chef to the operation. They share seven children who have all helped in making the family dream possible.
Bay House Bistro’s lunch menu currently features gumbo, a dip platter, a variety of salads and solid sandwiches (crab cake, burger, gyro, shrimp po-boy). Lunch entrees include shrimp & grits and a duck & andouille etouffee in addition to a vegetable plate.
Dinners entrees offered are fresh gulf fish, a pan seared filet, braised lamb shank, shrimp creole and a vegetable plate. Chef Brian supports local vendors and the menus will always be reflective of seasonal ingredients.
Sundays are for Brunching! The brunch menu ranges from brioche french toast to an omelette to their own version of a crab cake benedict. There is a grilled filet and grit cake as well as shrimp & grits, a bay house burger and a gyro.
Lunch is served Wednesday through Saturday from 11am until 2pm, Dinner is Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30pm until 9pm and you can enjoy brunch on Sunday from 10:30am until 2pm. There is a fabulous wine list to choose from and you can be seated
indoor or out.
Bay House Bistro • 151 South Mobile Street, Fairhope • (251) 978-2125
Facebook “Bay House Bistro”

Manci’s Antique Club introduces new enhancement and welcomes Managing Partner

GarrettDeLuca-1Garrett DeLuca is excited to embark on a new chapter in his career within the food and beverage industry. This Daphne native was initiated at the ripe old age of thirteen. He worked at restaurants throughout high school and college and graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Marketing. He tried his hand at sales and “hated it”.
For those of you who know the industry, there is no easy escape, so you just make the best of it. And that is exactly what DeLuca is doing.
In 2015, Manci’s Antique Club in the heart of Olde Towne Daphne was reopened under new ownership. The historical Daphne landmark was rejuvenated by two very talented, restaurant/bar owners from both sides of the bay, Harry Johnson and John Thompson.
With Thompson’s business model (Callahan’s Irish Social Club) as the blueprint, Manci’s was reformatted as an entertainment venue with a great bar. Burgers and other eats were introduced following an extensive kitchen renovation.
Thompson has hosted some of the South’s most talented musicians at his Mobile establishment and for the past two years has included the Eastern Shore venue in his bookings.
The latest renovation began in May when a portion of the business began yet another transformation. Within the wall’s of Manci’s there was an overflow area that was revamped as Buster’s. It is an offshoot of the original bar and touts a more upscale, yet cozy feel. Behind the bar is a wood and gas fired brick pizza oven that cranks out gourmet pizzas that compliment an extensive list of wines and craft beers. There is also a full bar which features a separate cocktail list and includes high end scotch and bourbons. You can still enjoy the music that streams in from the original bar area but it is more of a background accent allowing you to simultaneously enjoy conversation.
Garrett capitalized on this opportunity to personally expand within the industry and now holds a vested interest. He is still managing, but now as a partner. With all the finishing touches now in place, DeLuca, Johnson and Thompson can now service clientele with options within the same facility.
Make plans to stop by and peruse the list of wines that are available by the glass or by the bottle, the craft beers and the specialty cocktail menu. All of which can be enjoyed with appetizers, a charcuterie board, salads, gourmet pizzas and even desserts. Whatever you are in the mood for, Manci’s has you covered!
Manci’s is open Monday through Thursday from 3:30 until and Friday through Sunday from 11am until. Buster’s hours are Wednesday through Sunday starting at 5pm.
Manci’s Antique Club and Buster’s

1715 Main Street, Daphne • (251) 375-0543 www.mancisantiqueclub.com
Facebook “Manci’s Antique Club BusterBar-1

 

The Bean & Bistro reinvents itself within Fairhope Antique Mall

TDaysREVISEDTerri Days transitioned from years in the corporate food service industry to a calmer and personal atmosphere with the opening of her cozy coffee shop and eatery, The Bean & Bistro. For three years ago she served an array of coffees and smoothies in addition to breakfast and lunch. She also made a name for herself in the catering arena. From party trays to dinner parties, baby and bridal showers to wedding receptions, the opportunities began to steadily present themselves.  With the increasing demand came a need for more flexibility in Terri’s daily schedule. She closed the shop and started focusing on catering, special events and various other food related projects.

Memorie Martinez, who owns Southern Antiques and Accents was a business neighbor whose store front is adjacent to the original location of The Bean & Bistro. Earlier this year she contacted Days with the idea of having a food offering to compliment her antique mall. 

The ladies transformed some available space to accommodate kitchen equipment and made a new and different type of home for The Bean and Bistro. Customers of both businesses now have availability to the services that Days provides. Terri prepares weekly specials that can be pre-ordered for pick up. There is a cooler stocked with meals to go, casseroles, desserts (Yes, the Raspberry Bars are a staple) and other edibles in addition to beverages.

Weekly email notifications are sent out to let folks know what is on the menu for the week. You can request to be added to the list by emailing terridays@gmail.com. Orders can be place through email or by just giving her a call and she will have it ready for you.

Terri is also currently working to expand her business with a mobile unit – look details to come!

Because the business is located within the antique mall, pick up hours allow customers more flexibility. They are open 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 1pm-5pm on Sunday. The third Tuesday of every month is Ladies Night at Southern Antiques and Accents. There is a discount offered in addition to live music and complimentary food and beverages from The Bean and Bistro.

The Bean & Bistro @ Southern Antiques and Accents • 249 Greeno Rd South, Fairhope (251) 942-2365 • Facebook “The Bean & Bistro”
Email: terridays@gmail.com

Buck’s Diner looks to celebrate 10 years this June

BucksBunchAlthough the restaurant business was not the chosen career path of either sibling, Ken Buck and his sister, Daneen have worked many restaurant ventures together throughout the years. They always worked well together so, as fate would have it, they ended up conjoining their talents and focusing on the family’s business. Buck’s Diner is approaching their 10th year of business on Section Street in Downtown Fairhope. When the diner first opened, it was for lunch only. Shortly thereafter, a dinner service  was added and within a few months, breakfast was underway. It has truly been a work in progress and is still continuing to evolve. Various cosmetic changes have been made along the way. Last year the restaurant’s main entrance was relocated to better utilize existing space. This spurred the installation of a bar area which has been something that Ken and Daneen have always wanted to implement. Buck’s Diner has always served alcohol – mainly in the form of Bloody Marys, Mimosas, wine and beer – but now with the addition of the bar, the options appear unlimited.
Breakfast at Buck’s is served every day. You can go classic, piggy or deluxe with your traditional breakfast plate, opt for pancakes, french toast or an omlette or try their signature Cajun Eggs Benedict with a side of Diner Donuts. They also have shrimp & grits, breakfast sandwiches and  more a la carte breakfast items.
Buck’s features daily lunch specials and is home of your local meat and three with fresh meats and vegetables prepared daily. Good ole Southern cookin – country fried steak, meat loaf, hamburger steak with gravy, pork chops, fried chicken (on Tuesday), catfish, burgers and more!
Dinner is served Tuesday through Friday from 5pm until 8:30pm and features some of the same things that are on the lunch menu plus a few more items such as crab cakes, pasta alfredo and a chicken dish along with burgers, salads and sandwiches and a nightly fresh fish special. Buck’s Diner also offers catering – on and off site.
Buck’s Diner, 58 North Section Street, Fairhope (251) 928-8521 • Facebook “Buck’s Diner”