Rootz – Fairhope’s new Nutrition Kitchen is giving people what they want and need

IMG_4335Tony Tkac is a medical professional who truly understands the process of disease. On a daily basis he specializes in emergency medicine and witnesses how diet and lifestyle contribute to one’s health. That along with his personal goals, spurred Tony’s desire to delve into the world of nutrition. All the research he did subsequently ignited his passion to not only further educate himself but others as well. His findings unveiled how food affects our bodies on a cellular level and that we as a people are basically nutrient starved.

Initially, Tkac began with the idea of a food truck but he knew he was going to need physical help with the day to day operation of such. With the help of Fairhope Fitness owner, Eddie Henry, Tony was connected with Ms. Sofia Fly and that set the wheels in motion for what is now in place.

Sofia grew up in this area and started cooking as a child when her Guatemalan mother presented her with a microwave cookbook. She perfected her egg making skills, then moved on to fudge and taffy in her own “kid kitchen”. Her first paying gig included learning how to roll sushi at Doug Kerr’s Dragonfly Cafe. “He really opened my eyes to a lot of cool culinary skills” says Fly. Sofia moved to Birmingham and was able to get her foot in the door with Frank Stitt at Chez Fonfon where she worked for five years. As an employee, she had access to his other restaurants, Highlands Bar & Grill and Botega. She immersed herself in learning French cuisine and enjoyed recreating dishes at home that incorporated her own touch. Sofia lived and worked on and off in Birmingham for thirteen years which included time spent learning Thai cuisine from Nepali owners at Surin West and a two year stint in Hawaii. When Sofia started working for Whole Foods her interest and attitude about food and nutrition shifted. She has always wanted her own business. When she moved back to Fairhope, she started teaching cooking classes on an individual basis and by word of mouth became quite busy as a private instructor and chef.

As soon as Sofia and Tony met they became fast friends. For the past 18 months Tony has been physically building out the space and everything else for their concept, Rootz – Fresh Local Eats. Their recently opened Nutrition Kitchen in Fairhope has been designed to get people back to their roots. In addition to educating the public, these two individuals wish to provide the healthiest food in the most convenient manner.

Rootz uses local farms, sustainably grown produce and Sofia can accommodate any special dietary need. The foods and beverages contain no processed sugar and everything that is prepared contains ten ingredients or less.

The menu varies from week to week but Rootz offers a variety of prepared eggs, muffins, bowls, wraps, parfaits, burgers, salads and soups. Protein choices include fish, shrimp, grass finished beef, pasture raised chicken and pasture raised eggs. They also prepare
sides, sweets and snacks from the freshest ingredients possible. You can drink your nutrients with a variety of cold pressed juices, nut milks, Kombucha on tap, coffee, tea and flavored water.

The hours of operation are Monday and Tuesday, 7am until 5pm and Wednesday and Thursday, 9am until 7pm. Tony and Sofia invite you to open your mind and your stomach and join them in the quest to choose a healthier lifestyle for a better quality of life and longevity.

Rootz • 209 A South Section Street • Fairhope • (251) 270-7120 • Facebook “Rootz”

Frios of Fairhope – Gourmet Pops are Fresh. Frozen. Fun.

KariBLove comes in many forms, and for Kari Benson, it was love at first bite. Last year Kari visited the Fairhope Arts and Craft festival and noticed a niche vendor selling gourmet pops. Curious about what a “pop” was she discovered the company, Frios Gourmet Pops, who makes frozen desserts from fresh, local fruit, organic sweeteners, and even local dairy. Kari purchased a Key Lime Pop and was instantly in love.
“It was certainly no ordinary popsicle,” Kari said. “The flavor, smoothness, and presentation of the product was all spot on – you could tell with a single taste that the company was passionate about what they do.”
Kari couldn’t stop thinking about the delicious treat she purchased at the festival and wanted to have the pops at her daughter’s birthday party. When she called Frios to ask about catering the party, she found out they were based in Gadsden, Alabama and a little too far for the party. However, she also learned that Frios had plans to expand in the Fairhope area. That’s when love met opportunity and Kari started thinking about becoming a part of the Frios team and opening her own Frios business in Baldwin County. Further research into the company and the story behind how this Gadsden company evolved really intrigued Kari.
“I thought if I don’t pursue this, I’ve missed an opportunity.” Kari said. “I had been thinking of ways I could have a fun career and also have the flexibility to spend time with by daughters.”
Her career as a pharmacist at the Mitchell Cancer Institute puts her in Mobile for most of day and with two young daughters she found herself not wanting to miss out on all the fun things a five and seven year old get to experience. Owning her own business was the ticket to making herself more available for her girls.
“The first time we talked to Kari it was evident that we shared the same passion and drive for our product,” said Andy Harp, founder of Frios Gourmet Pops. “I have to admit I was skeptical after hearing she had only tried a single pop and wanted to own a Frios in Baldwin County. But Kari is a natural fit and a perfect example of what we look for in a distributor. We are very proud to have her as part of the Frios family.
Kari opened Frios of Fairhope in June and it has been a big hit with a quick following of “Frios Fans.” The store, which is located inside the Windmill Market in historic downtown Fairhope, has already outgrown its space on the patio and will soon move into a permanent structure inside the main dining area at Windmill Market. “I am so excited about the quick success we have seen in Fairhope and very thankful to our customers and supporters who have helped us grow so fast.”
Frios believes a quality product starts with the freshest possible ingredients. The frozen treats are made from simple ingredients and use produce and dairy products from local farmers and suppliers. The company has relationships with farmers all over the southeast and are continuing to grow their network of local sources. The fruit-based pops contain no artificial flavors and utilize organic sugar, agave, or locally produced honey.
Because of the ingredients used the flavors offered are seasonal and are offered in a creamy variety or a fruity variety. Some of the flavors (some of which are subject to seasonal availability) are Avocado Lime, Blueberries Cheesecake, Cherry Lime, Key Lime Pie, Sea Salt Caramel, Cookies & Milk, Pink Lemonade, Lemon Ice Box Pie, Watermelon Mojito, Mango Orange and Banana Pudding.
Fall will bring new flavors such as Smores, Caramel Apple and Pear Ginger – just to name a few.
Frios of Fairhope is open daily from 11am until 6pm. They also have a Frios cart that goes to different locations and special events to sell the gourmet pops.
Frios Gourmet Pops @ Windmill Market, 85 N Bancroft Street, Fairhope (251) 581-1909 • Facebook “Frios Gourmet Pops – Fairhope” •