Joe and Misty Rider are originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Before arriving on the Eastern Shore nine years ago, they lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While in Tulsa, Misty owned and operated several small restaurants and has been catering as long as she can remember. She was helping a friend with catering when an opportunity presented itself to open another restaurant – this time in Downtown Fairhope. Before Misty and Joe’s relocation to Fairhope, they had always vacationed in the area. Gulf Coast flavor with an emphasis on New Orleans and French creole cuisine is something that enticed the couple. They took this inspiration and created a quaint version of a New Orleans Bistro with all the warmth and hospitality that you would expect to find in South Alabama. This past September, the Riders purchased the building that they have been located in since they opened the Bistro. They have recently added a 10 seat bar and and renovating other areas to provide their customers with the ultimate dining experience. Joe’s crawfish gravy has made a name for itself. When the couple were operating a restaurant in Tulsa, Joe would come in and make breakfast for his buddies. One morning he whipped up a batch of crawfish gravy and served it over biscuits and that was all it took. It wasn’t long before their customers were requesting it more than over biscuits. Some were eating it as a soup, over French bread, on top of steaks, fish and more! Now the crawfish gravy is a signature offering at R Bistro. Misty’s passion is baking and pastries. This passion has become one that she now shares with her daughter, Maddie. Maddie recently graduated from the French Pastry School in Chicago where she trained under world renowned pastry chefs from all over the world. Maddie has recently become a permanent fixture at R Bistro and will be showcasing her talents in the pastry case and on the menu with house made croissants and French baguettes. The Riders recognize that Southern folks love traditional foods and desserts. The tourists, well, they want to enjoy Gulf Coast cuisine during their visit. So, the menu at R Bistro was designed with that in mind. Appetizers include barbecue shrimp, spinach and artichoke gratin, bacon wrapped scallops, Downtown oysters, crabcakes, mushroom stuffed mushrooms and crawfish mac and cheese. R Bistro offers beautiful salads that boast of flavorful ingredients in which chicken, shrimp or salmon can be added. There is also a Salade Nicoise that features a seared ahi tuna, a Poulet Salade that showcases a zesty chicken salad and a Walnut Pimento Cheese that is served with a croissant and fruit. The Shrimp and Slaw featuring a four cabbage blend with fried shrimp topped with a smoked tomato glaze is also becoming a customer favorite. Under the classification of Sandwiches, a must try is the Croque Monsieur. It is a croissant layered with dijon mustard, smoked ham and gruyere cheese smothered with a bechamel sauce and broiled to perfection. Po Boys are available with your choice of shrimp or oyster or you can choose from Tenderloin sliders, a Salmon burger or a Creole Chicken BLT. R Bistro Specialties include their Crawfish Gravy – served by the cup or the bowl, gumbo, freshly baked quiche, Dixie Shrimp or Oysters, Shrimp and Gouda Grits and Beef Tenderloin Stroganoff. R Bistro serves dinner every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with their menu focusing on fresh and local. You typically will find a steak, catch of the day and a chicken that can complemented by a selection from their new bar. R Bistro offers a Sunday Brunch that features both sweet and savory. Crawfish Gravy and Biscuits, Crabcake with Egg and Crawfish gravy, Stuffed French Toast Croissant, Omelettes in which you can add crab, conecuh or spinach, Eggs Benedict and other brunch style selections can only be enhanced with one of Misty’s Absolut Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas or champagne. The desserts, pastries and pies that are available will simply delight you. The taste, presentation and quality are incredible. There is always an assortment which typically includes caramel cake, pecan pie, peanut putter pie, lemon tarts, carrot cake, whoopie pies, cheesecakes, creme brulee and other sweet desserts. Look for more incredible French pastries to come from Maddie. You can now purchase some of the dressings and sauces that are used in creating the R Bistro recipes. Their Smoked Tomato Glaze, the Aupoivre Steak Sauce and Honey Mustard are bottled and available for purchase along with their creole seasoning spice. R Bistro is open every day. They serve lunch Monday through Saturday, Sunday Brunch and dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (dinner reservations are highly recommended). R Bistro and Pastry , 334 Fairhope Avenue, Downtown Fairhope (251) 928-2399 • Facebook “R Bistro & Pastry”
The Corte family’s farming ventures began in Baldwin county over 120 years ago when Arthur Angelo Corte purchased land in South Alabama and started farming with the help of his seven children. In 2012, Chase Corte started his agriculture adventure by combining his business background, farming contacts and sales experience to find the freshest, highest quality food that is available. It started out in the back of his truck as a delivery venture. Chase would find out what farmers were growing and had available to sell and send out order forms as to what was available that week. He would gather what had been harvested and because of lack of storage, immediately deliver to customers. It wasn’t long before that process became a logistical nightmare. That spurred the need for a market. He wanted to have a place where people could come look at what was in season and available to them. Chase and his wife Wynter opened Chasing Fresh Produce Market on Highway 181 in Fairhope. They were in that location for about a year when they were courted by the owners of Windmill Market. It made perfect sense. A fabulous venue filled with like minded vendors and patrons right in the heart of Downtown Fairhope. They made the move this past November and the response has been amazing. The redesign of the space lends a more open air feel and increased traffic and sales have allowed the Corte’s to be able to bring more farmers to the proverbial table. Chasing Fresh is 100% Alabama. While the majority of the produce they carry comes from Mobile and Baldwin County, they are reaching out to some of the northern parts of the Alabama for items that might not be available in our local area.
In addition to seasonal fruits and veggies, Chasing Fresh carries dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese), meats, grains, honey and more. Some is certified organic and most all of their growers use organic practices. They know all the farmers personally and can give details about each item. They also provide residential and restaurant delivery. Market hours are Monday-Saturday from 8am-5pm and also on Sunday. Chasing Fresh Produce @ Windmill Market, 85 N. Bancroft Street, Fairhope (251) 517-5800 • Facebook “Chasing Fresh” http://www.ChasingFresh.com
Chef Doug Kerr has certainly made a name for himself with his eclectic combinations of fresh ingredients that both surprise and delight at the same time. This local Fairhope Foodie started challenging his patrons years ago when he owned and operated the Dragonfly Cafe in the Fairhope French Quarter while he was completing his coursework to graduate as part of the first graduating class of Faulkner State University’s Culinary Arts Program. He acquired corporate experience when he went to work for a restaurant group headquartered in Orange Beach, Alabama that specialized in fine dining. He seized the opportunity to travel, heading north to Chicago to work in private clubs and boutique style restaurants and then west to New Mexico and Dallas before his homecoming in 2007. Both Doug and Brie were working at in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area when the Deepwater Horizon occurred. When Doug was laid off he immediately began planning the menu for to revisit “dragonfly” with his taco concept for Dragonfly Foodbar. The first Dragonfly Foodbar location opened on Fairhope Avenue in 2010 and the Kerr’s daughter, Cirra, was born just 2 week later. For four years the couple and their staff worked out of a very small kitchen where at times, seating hungry patrons was a challenge. Their business grew exponentially and after much thought, they decided that they needed more room. This past December, Dragonfly Foodbar relocated to a larger location just around the corner on Church Street. The transition to their new location went seamlessly and the reception to their new home has been everything they could have hoped for. The menu at Dragonfly Foodbar offers “smalls” that include crispy calamari, blue crab corn fritters, crispy oyster blue cheese french toast and firecracker langostino nachos.
The tacos are available a la carte and the flavor combinations don’t disappoint. Choose from Braised Pork with apple, habanero, lime and avocado, a Blackened Ribeye with greens, blue cheese, garlic and tomato, a Firecracker shrimp with asian slaw, Five Spice Duck with figs, cranberry, radish and green chili, Crispy Oyster with pickled cabbage, Seared Tuna with edamame, wasabi and jalapeno and several other scrumptious options.
“Bowls” are also an option – Roast Pork with Udon Noodles, Spicy Red Curry Coconut Chicken, Pan Fried Udon Noodles, Kung Pao Chicken fried basmati rice, Firecracker Langostino Fried Rice, and Five Spice Duck Fried Rice.
“Sides” available are Tempura Turnip Fries, Edamame and Miso Coconut Braised Cabbage. Chef Kerr is currently working on some bold and spicy menu changes for the near future. Monday are host to Not-Yo average Monday with a different nacho special each week. Check out their $2 taco specials on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday accompanied by beer and wine specials on those evenings and stay tuned on Saturdays for “Slider” specials.
Dragonfly Foodbar, 7 South Church Street, Fairhope (251) 990-5722 • Facebook “Dragonfly Foodbar”