Fairhope’s New Ox Kitchen infuses fine dining techniques into a comfortably simple menu of Southern staples

BOpicWhile attending Auburn University, Bo Hamilton spent a few summers living, playing and cooking at ski resorts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He discovered that being in the kitchen was something that he really enjoyed. When classes resumed, he worked the remainder of his undergraduate years at Auburn’s Terra Cotta Cafe. After graduating, Bo and buddy, Matt Heim, partnered to open a fine dining restaurant. They were the proprietors of J. William in Auburn. The property the restaurant was located on was ultimately sold. The guys were able to sell the business which resulted in the end of a four year run and the beginning a new career journey for each partner.
Bo moved to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and accepted a job utilizing his marketing degree. During that time he met his wife, Molly, who is from Oxford, Mississippi. The newlyweds decided to move to Jackson, Wyoming where Bo could revisit his happy place and resume doing what he enjoyed so much as a student. While in Wyoming, the couple started making plans for Hamilton to create something of his own. After the birth of their first child, the couple decided that they needed to be closer to family. They planned their descent home with a business plan in hand and set their sights on Oxford, Mississippi.
After giving some thought about the limited outdoor recreational options for their young family, the Hamiltons decided they needed to explore a coastal location. They visited the Eastern Shore this past April and after 10 days, they dropped their pin on Fairhope, Alabama. The Hamilton’s arrived at their destination last October and Bo reports that “things pretty much fell right into place”.
Hamilton found a spot at Fairhope’s Windmill Market and has been hard at work getting things up and running at OX KITCHEN. His a la carte menu utilizes techniques he procured during his fine dining days and focuses on simplicity. “With very little waste and a minimal staff, you can sell a burger for $6.50” says Hamilton, “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you make a really good wheel”. The Ox Kitchen menu boasts of the basics with accents of originality. Try an Ox Burger, Ox Chicken Sandwich (grilled or fried), a Fried Gulf Oyster BLT or a Pork & Greens Sandwich. The Pecan Smoked Wings are flash fried and served with Alabama White Sauce.
Sides are separate and generous. Options include house fries, side salad, collard greens or mac & cheese. If you are looking to go lighter try a Chopped Southern Salad with grilled or fried chicken or a Berry & Feta Salad with grilled chicken. The kiddos won’t be able to complain either! They get to choose from grilled cheese, mac & cheese, fried chicken, grilled chicken or berries. Look for daily specials to be added and be sure to ask about their Ox Fries.
The Ox Kitchen is currently open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11am until 3pm and Friday for dinner from 5pm until 9pm.
The Ox Kitchen @ Windmill Market, 85 North Bancroft Street, Fairhope
(251) 990-8533 • Facebook “Ox Kitchen Fairhope”
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Mr. John is a master at the art of Southern Barbeque’s Low and Slow Method

IMG_6035Mr. John Patterson has been butchering and smoking barbeque in Baldwin County since he was a child. He learned everything he needed to know from one of the best, his Dad, Mr. Nathaniel “Nate” Patterson. The father son duo worked together as meat packers and delivery drivers for Hinote and Starke until the Senior Patterson retired. After that, Mr. John went to work for Farm Fresh Meats in Robertsdale as a custom meat cutter. He also would make sausage and smoke meats. He retired after 28 years and went on to run and manage the meat shop at Moore Brother’s Market in Magnolia Springs for ten years for the Housers before it closed.
Mr. John’s smoking skills and authentic self are just a few reasons for a great many friendships he has developed during his life long career. When a spot became available at the Windmill Market one of those friends thought his offerings would be quite the compliment to what was already in place.
Mr. John’s smokes all of his meats on premise and prepares everything in his kitchen space at the rear of the market.  It’s Southern barbeque with a global twist. Choose from a Pulled Pork Boston Butt with marinated vinaigrette slaw, dill pickle and Good People BBQ sauce, Argentine Roasted Beef Brisket with Chimi Churi, white BBQ sauce and shredded cabbage or a Southern Smoked Turkey Breast with shredded cabbage, Jezabel sauce and white BBQ sauce. His menu is concise but your selection can be served on your choice of homemade bun (made by Windmill Market’s very own Sweet Olive Bakery), as a soft taco, wrap or plate. Mr. John also features a Special of the Day which is subject to seasonal availability. (Word on the street – he was featuring a smoked meatloaf!) The current sides being offered are collard greens, baked beans, cheese grits, watermelon, chips, red slaw, potato salad and bread pudding. Mister John’s BBQ is open daily from 11am until 3pm and every Friday evening from 5pm until 9pm.
Mister John’s BBQ @ Windmill Market, 85 N Bancroft Street, Downtown Fairhope (251) 990-8883 • Facebook “Mister John’s BBQ”

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Chasing Fresh Produce Market encourages “eating by the season” with bounties from Alabama farmers

corteThe 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

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” • http://www.friospops.com/fairhope