The Pigeon Hole makes its debut on Main Street, Daphne

CindyPigeon-1Cindy Nicholson grew up in Mississippi surrounded by a family who enjoyed, appreciated and instilled in her the importance of a great Southern meal. She learned the good old fashioned way – from Mamaw and Papaw – and it is reflected in the recipes and techniques that she uses in her offerings that are now available to the public at her newly opened restaurant, The Pigeon Hole, located on Main Street in Daphne. Cindy loves to feed people and has always wanted to share her passion for Southern comfort food.

After working in restaurants for the past twelve years, her opportunity arose. Because of the variety of things she loves to cook she didn’t want to be pigeon holed into a limited menu. The terminology that she used to describe her predicament actually became the inspiration for the name that she chose for the restaurant. Cindy had actually managed the business that occupied the actual location that she now leases. The former tenant hired her to oversee the restaurant operation while he was of the country. She offered to purchase the business upon the owners return but was initially rejected. After a few months, Cindy was approached and offered the opportunity that she initially sought out. Cindy and her husband, Dan acquired the space and started the process of transforming the surroundings to their likings. Cindy desired to have a yellow awning in the front of the building and permission was granted to take down the existing overhang to accommodate her awning. Upon removal, there was structural damage that was uncovered that required some extensive work. That prevented customers from being able to enter the business through the front entrance. Cindy was determined that this was not going to hinder progress. She started promoting and serving a limited take out menu that was available through a side entrance and dubbed them her “side door specials”. Cindy looks at the process as a “blessing in disguise”. She has been able to make a gradual progression, building her staff and menu, working the kinks out along the way. The dining room officially opened the first time the night of one of Daphne’s Mardi Gras parades. The following Monday was the implementation of her full menu, Southern Cooking and Then Some. Daily specials, every day entrees with an extensive list of side items, burgers, brisket and sandwiches, soups, salads and even a squabs (kids) menu.

The full lunch menu is served from 11am until 2pm Monday through Wednesday and from 11am until 8pm on Thursday and Friday. A breakfast menu is the most recent addition. The Pigeon Hole is now serving breakfast from 7am until 10:30am. The menu for the most important meal of the day includes breakfast meals that include pork chops, brisket and eggs, country ham, biscuits and gravy, a breakfast casserole, french toast and pancakes. You can build your own omelette, sammich or stuffer or choose from the a la carte menu. Mimosas and wine cocktails are also available. Current business hours are Monday through Friday 7am-10:30am for breakfast and 11am until 2pm for lunch Monday through Wednesday. On Thursdays and Fridays the lunch menu is available until 8pm. Look for weekend hours to be announced soon. Call-in/pick-up orders are welcome and delivery is even available through for a small fee (charged by the delivery company).

The Pigeon Hole, 1716 Main Street, Daphne • (251) 222-4120 • Facebook “The Pigeon Hole” •

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”

Country Queen Cafe features “good home cooking” for breakfast and lunch

BettyMBetty Maradik was raised in Fairhope and has been working in restaurants since she was thirteen years old. Her restaurant experience fostered her love of cooking and provided her with a solid front of the house foundation in restaurant hospitality. Maradik was also able to explore the business side of the industry after obtaining a degree in Accounting. Several years ago, Betty and her husband, David, decided that they needed something to do upon retirement. On the weekends they began working on a project on a piece of property that they owned. The couple devoted their time and energy into a building that now houses the new COUNTRY QUEEN CAFE. This past January, after all the finishing touches were put on the building, Betty got everything in order to make her cafe a reality. Betty knew that she wanted to provide the area with good home cooking and that is whats on the menu at the Country Queen Cafe. Breakfast from the hen house is served starting at 7am. Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage, grits, biscuits & gravy – all made from scratch. The lunch menu changes daily but you will find featured entrees such as beef tips, roasted pork, baked chicken, hamburger steak, meat loaf, chicken & dumplings and fried fish. Vegetables such as butter beans & okra, corn casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, lima beans, field peas and squash are just a few of the options you might find to choose from. The Country Queen does have a few lunch items that are always available. Her signature sandwich is the Drip Beef Sandwich which is already making a name for itself. Slow cooked roast beef served on a warm crunchy bun with peperoncinos and melted cheese. Other sandwiches include a burger and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. There is also a daily dessert. Some of the featured options will be a gooey butter cake, coconut cake, chocolate cake, rice pudding and different flavored cobblers. The Country Queen Cafe is open Monday through Friday. breakfast is served from 7am until 10am and lunch is served from 11am until 2pm.  Country Queen Cafe, 19548 Boothe Road, Fairhope  (251) 928-0500 • Facebook “Country Queen Cafe”