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”

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Southern Italy meets Lower Alabama at Spanish Fort’s La Dolce Vita Italian Bistro

BarrettThis is a tale of two Guisseppes who initially met years ago in Rome, Italy. Guisseppe Formica and Guisseppe Spadaccini were more recently reunited, strictly by coincidence, while they were both in New York.
In 2015, Spadaccini opened an Italian Restaurant in Downtown Miami that has since become incredibly popular. With an interest in expanding his footprint because of his success in Miami, Guisseppe Spadaccini suggested to his long time pal, Guisseppe Formica, that he spearhead the new location that was chosen and slated to open in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He agreed and around this same time last year, a former restaurant space in Spanish Fort’s Eastern Shore Centre was transformed into La Dolce Vita Italian Bistro.
Barrett Thompson, a Mobile native, joined the family not long after the restaurant opened as a server and has since moved into management.
This authentic offering of classic Italian dishes is a celebration of many regions in Italy. Homemade pasta is featured in classic dishes such as spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, gnocchi, ravioli, lasagna and risotto. There is a variety of antipasto/appetizer and salads that are offered. You may also order a piccata, marsala, cacciatore or parmigiana with your choice of chicken or veal. Their gourmet pizzas are a popular choice and several combinations are highlighted on the menu. You can also choose the “build your own” option and design one to your liking. Daily specials are offered and there is also a
childrens menu. Top off your meal with dessert and coffee. They offer a homemade tiramisu and are equipped with an espresso machine and a staff that knows how to use it! A full bar is available with an expansive wine list that was compiled to compliment each and every menu item. La Dolce Vita is open daily for lunch and dinner. Take a break from Holiday shopping and treat yourself to some authentic Italian while you are out and about. Gift certificates are also a idea for the foodies on your list.

 

La Dolce Vita Italian Bistro • Eastern Shore Shopping Centre
30500 US Highway 181, Suite 710, Spanish Fort • (251) 929-9333
Facebook “La Dolce Vita – Spanish Fort” •  www.ladolcevitabistro.com

Tee up for fun at Fairways Indoor Golf Club in Spanish Fort

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What started out as fun and games in the garage turned in to a viable business model for Kirsten and Mike and Lautenslager, owners of Fairways Indoor Golf Club in Spanish Fort.
Their feasibility study spurred a business plan which lead to funding and ultimately a site search. The demographics led them in the direction of Baldwin County and an Eastern Shore location with close proximity to the interstate. Fairways Indoor Golf Club opened its doors to the public in January of 2016 and is the only indoor golf facility in the Mobile/Baldwin County area.

Fairways houses high end golf simulators with 15 foot high definition screens. Each bay has a four camera system that sees launch angle, ball speed, deviation left and right and also takes a picture of the club at moment of impact. There are over 100 different courses along with practice driving and chipping applications and mini games. Real clubs and actual balls are used and up to eight people can play per simulator. Whether you are looking to try you hand at the sport, improve your game or some competitive fun with friends the facilities at Fairways can accommodate. You are welcome to bring your own clubs or you can rent a set for a nominal fee.

Fairways is a great venue for corporate or private events, birthday parties or even date night. If you don’t want to hit the links without drinks, that is not a problem. There is a full service bar with a large selection of craft and domestic beers, wine and a variety of spirits. Happy Hour is Monday through Saturday from 4pm until 7pm with $1 off beer, $5
pitchers, $4 well drinks and $2 off wine. They are not currently offering food but you are welcome to bring your own or have some delivered.

Fairways is always offering specials so make sure you like their Facebook page to keep up with the latest incentives. Every Wednesdays ladies play free from 6pm until 9pm. Sundays are 18 holes for $18 with $4 Bloody Marys and their newest special is offered on Monday – play 9 holes for $10 all day on Monday. There are also fun range games for younger players. Fairways opens at noon 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays). Make plans to “swing” by and check them out!

Fairways Indoor Golf Club • 25000 Bass Pro Dr, St 104, Spanish Fort • (251) 621-5277 www.fairwaysindoorgolfclub.com • Facebook “Fairways Indoor Golf Club”

Mother/Son momentum propels Spanish Fort Cafe to expansion

mitchmurphyCheryl’s Cafe has been part of the Spanish Fort scene since December of 1998. When Cheryl Barnes first started her business the menu consisted of soups, salads, sandwiches complimented by one hot daily lunch special. As the cozy cafe gained momentum in the community, customers began to request more of the warm, comfort-type foods.

Their chalkboard menu now is host to at least four daily entrees with a large selection of veggies and side items from which to choose in addition to a soup or two and a couple of feature salads. They also have a menu of specialty sandwiches that include a Monte Cristo, Rueben, Turkey Avocado and their signature Chicken Salad – just to name a few.  And don’t forget dessert! All are homemade and the Banana pudding and Dream pie are always available in addition to a few others that rotate.

Cheryl’s son, Mitch Murphy, joined the operation on a full time basis in 2009. Since then, he has taken over the daily kitchen responsibilities allowing Cheryl to concentrate efforts on catering. Mitch prides himself on the prompt expedition of product and friendly customer service. They also take the extra time and effort to procure all the meats, produce and other ingredients that are used in their kitchen. “I run myself ragged, but I’m not going to serve anything that I would not eat” says Barnes. Needless to say, it has paid off. They start serving at 11am and stay busy until they close at 2:30pm. The menu is posted daily on their Facebook page. They added outside seating to better accommodate all of their patrons and before years end an expansion will be underway. An additional 600 square feet will be added to the existing structure to give them a little more room to grow their business and allow for more seating and kitchen space.  Stop by Monday through Friday and experience some spectacular Southern goodness from Cheryl’s Cafe.

Cheryl’s Cafe, 6580 Spanish Fort Blvd, Spanish Fort • (251) 626-2602 • Facebook “Cheryl’s Cafe”

Spanish Fort’s Beef ‘O’ Brady’s celebrates their new look with a Re-Grand Opening on May 28th

IMG_9229Not only is Beef ‘O’ Brady’s a Family Sports Bar, it is owned and operated by a local family, The Kesslers. Linda and Larry Kessler often frequented a Florida Beef ‘O’ Brady’s while raising their two sons. They really enjoyed the kid friendly atmosphere, sports focus and the fact that the company was vested in supporting local youth sports and various community events. Larry and sons, Nick and Joel, always talked about opening a restaurant and with such fond memories of the times they spent at “Beef’s” they decided to invest in their very own franchise. It was almost ten years ago when the first Beef ‘O’ Brady’s opened in Spanish Fort.
Recently the Kesslers completed an expansion and remodel of the restaurant that added 1,200 square feet to the existing 3,000 square feet. The enhancements include a private meeting area/party room, a bigger game room and an enlarged bar area. Twenty taps are now host to a variety of domestic, imports, craft beers and even some local ales from area breweries. There are 34 HD TVs for the best game time TV viewing on the Eastern Shore. On May 28th the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s team will celebrate with a Re-Grand Opening Celebration. Join them for all day specials, a bounce house for the kids and live music.
Beef’s expansive menu is sure to have something for everyone. Appetizers include savory shareables, flatbreads and dips. Award winning wings come in boneless or traditional with several different flavors and degrees of heat. Beef’s burgers are made from fresh Angus beef and cooked to order. Entrees include ribs, fajitas, fish, grilled shrimp and grilled chicken. Baskets can be host to a multitude of different tacos (steak, chicken or fish), fried shrimp, chicken tenders or beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips. Featured sandwiches are a Roast Beef Garlic Melt, Prime Rib Sandwich, California Turkey Melt, a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Philly Cheesesteak, a Reuben, a Cuban, Southern Fried Chicken Tender Sliders and their trademarked Watterson Sandwich. There is even a pizza menu that is available after 5pm, Monday through Friday. Kids ages 12 and younger have a nice selection from which to choose and there is even a Weekday Value Menu featuring a different entree at a special price Monday through Friday. Be sure to stop in and see what’s new! Open daily from 11am until 9pm, a and 11am until 10pm on Friday and Saturday.         Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, 6450 U.S. Highway 90, Spanish Fort  •  (251) 447-0660  •  Facebook “Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Spanish Fort”

Tropics on the Causeway enhances their existing offering with more Volleyball courts in coming months

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Johnny Littleton, Jr. graduated from Daphne High School. He started working with his father, Johnny Littleton, Sr. at an early age and began learning the inner workings of the hospitality industry. Johnny, Sr. owned Chantilly’s on Airport Boulevard. When “Little Johnny” turned 21 he took over the operation that he had grown up in and ran it until the establishment closed in 2013. The Littletons desired to have a business on the Eastern Shore and had been eyeing a waterfront bar and restaurant since 2008. In 2011 the Littletons purchased what was formerly the Beach House Grill on the Causeway in Spanish Fort. The family reopened the location as Tropics Restaurant and Bar. Nature provides a beautiful backdrop with a fabulous view of the Delta and Mobile Bay. The Littleton’s revised the floorplan, spruced up the interior and enhanced the existing structure with risers and booths and pool tables (which are available for use at no charge!) Little Johnny’s brother, Julian Littleton was at the helm until this past January when Johnny took over. They have added Volleyball Courts that, when the weather warms up, will soon be drawing crowds for tournaments, local recreational teams and evens lessons. They are also in the process of adding two more courts and looking forward to kicking off that schedule in March.
Whether you are in the mood for a little something to snack on or a full meal, a variety of eats that include both appetizers and entrees – in addition, of course, to a full bar. Wednesdays are 50¢ Wing Night, Thursdays are host to $2 fish tacos, $3 shrimp tacos and $2.50 Margaritas. Every Friday is Steak Night and live musical entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. Currently Tropics is opens Tuesday through Friday at 3pm and Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. As the temperatures improves they anticipate adding more hours of operation to accomodate patrons and Volleyball enthusiasts.
Tropics Restaurant and Bar • 5272 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort (251) 626-9008 • Facebook “Tropics”

News Anchor and Pittsburgh native go Italian

After moving to the Eastern Shore, Greg and Jill Peterson became hooked on the product that Mark Bentz was putting out at his previous restaurant. Greg has a passion for Italian food and has had the opportunity to experience some well known big city Italian restaurants. He and his family enjoyed Mark’s food for years and were loyal patrons of the Pittsburgh native who honed his skills at Tessaro’s in Bloomfield – Pittsburgh’s own Little Italy. When Peterson learned that Bentz was available, he asked Mark to partner with him and his wife Jill to open a restaurant. They looked at a several locations in Mobile and in Fairhope but when they found this particular Spanish Fort spot they knew it was meant to be.  There was a definite need in the area for a non-chain, Italian restaurant and they were going to be it! Greg envisioned Mark behind the glass in the exhibition kitchen hand tossing fresh pizza dough as part of the ambiance of the establishment. From the time they purchased the property in February until opening in May it has been an all hands on deck, do-it-yourself project. When Greg wasn’t working or sleeping he was building the bar, landscaping, painting and transforming what once was an ice cream shop into TRATTORIA PIZZA AND ITALIAN.
Everything they serve is made from scratch. Breads and pizza dough are made daily. The sauces and dressings are homemade and even cheese is grated by hand. The pizza is the traditional thin and crispy variety and available in small, medium or large. You can stick with the basic pizza pie, build your own or go with one of their specialty combinations. Calzones are also available. The appetizer menu includes bruschetta, garlic balls, cheesy bread and a blackened tuna quesadilla – just to name a few. They serve a variety of salads, to which you can add your choice of chicken, steak or tuna. Their sandwiches are served hot and with your choice of side. Italian Steak, Philly Steak, Chicken Philly Steak, Chicken Cordon Blue, Tuna Steak, Muffaletta, Meatball and more are part of the sandwich menu.
Entrees include Greg’s Favorite, the Baked Ziti and Mark’s Favorite, Sesame Encrusted Tuna along with Chicken Picatta, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo Pasta, Cheese Ravioli, Seafood Ravioli and Vegetable Pasta.
There is a full bar at Trattoria Pizza and Italian. It is situated just beyond the dining area but is not sectioned off therefore adding to the family feel that the proprietors are striving for.
The response they have seen thus far is “beyond their wildest dreams”. This trio is pleased to be able to provide their community a huge serving  of hospitality in an inviting atmosphere with some  of the best pizza and Italian food around. They have an outdoor patio behind the building with a sand play area for the kids and look forward to providing you with live evening entertainment on weekends. They are open every day from 11am until.  Trattoria Pizza and Italian, 11611 US Hwy 31, Spanish Fort (251) 375-0076 • Facebook “Trattoria Pizza & Italian” • http://www.TrattoriaPizzaSF.com Continue reading “News Anchor and Pittsburgh native go Italian”