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” •

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”

Mother Daughter Duo do it again – so you don’t have to!

Jess&NancyJessica Guthrie and her mother Nancy Dupre left East Texas and headed to Fairhope a little over a year ago.  They were familiar with the area because they formerly owned a restaurant in Seaside, Florida and also have good friends in the area. Nancy knew that she eventually wanted to end up in Fairhope so they sold their operation in Texas and headed East.
After five previous startups, the girls had this formula down pat. They found a unique location, pulled out the paintbrushes and got busy painting, decking and outfitting their new kitchen in a fun and eclectic fashion that is warm, inviting and surprisingly quite spacious.
The premise of Rae’s SOUTHERN KITCHEN & CATERING COMPANY is grab and go! It is simple home cooked food for folks that don’t want to or either can’t find the time to prepare meals themselves. They have a fully stocked cooler at all times filled with  casseroles ranging in size from small to extra large. No preservatives are used – only fresh ingredients – and they freeze, thaw and reheat beautifully. Rae’s Southern Kitchen always has five or six different dishes to choose from which can include Beef Stroganoff, King Ranch Chicken, Mexican Lasagna, Chicken Artichoke, Shrimp & Crawfish Pie, Breakfast Casserole, Chicken Spaghetti – and the list goes on! If you have a specific item in mind just give them a call, if they don’t have what you are looking for on hand they can always whip one up on request.
Also available are appetizers and snacks, which vary in size as well, that are perfect for any type gathering. Try their Alabama Caviar, Sweet Ham & Poppy Sliders, Hot Crab Dip, Praline Baked Brie, Monterey Jack Salsa, Corn Relish Dip, Cowboy Sushi, Bama Bruschetta, Artichoke Bacon Dip, Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese, English Crab Toast, Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Ball, Mexican Tuna, Marinated Shrimp and more.
If you are planning a special event, Rae’s Southern Kitchen & Catering Company can also assist. From sandwiches, to meats & cheeses, fruit, vegetables, savory bites, seafood, etc. You can even enlist them for dinner party duty. They have a menu that can be customized and even tweaked for certain dietary restrictions. In addition to all of the cooler prep and catering, the ladies also offer a fabulous daily lunch menu of soup, sandwiches, wraps and salads.
“Old Faithfuls” equate to Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese, Mexican Tuna, Turkey BLT with Avocado or Turkey Swiss sandwiches. Warm up with their “Specialties” including Meatloaf, Tuna Melt, the Mallory Melt (turkey, bacon, avocado, brie and jalapeno jelly on a soft oat nut bread) and Ham & Mac (ham, homemade mac & cheese, bacon, and swiss on grilled oat nut bread)
All of their sandwiches are boxed with chips and their homemade house pickles – Grandma’s recipe. And not to worry, there’s always something sweet available, cookies, brownies, PIE! Although they are not a restaurant, they do have limited indoor and outdoor seating along with canned beverages if you would like to enjoy your lunch while you decide on what you would like to take home. Rae’s Southern Kitchen & Catering Company is open Monday through Friday from 10am until 5pm and Saturday from 10am until 3pm.
Rae’s Southern Kitchen & Catering Company, 460 N. Section St, Fairhope (251) 210-6135 • Facebook “Rae’s Southern Kitchen & Catering Co.” •