Three amigos combine talents to fine tune and develop plans for future ventures

Mark Strickland was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. After graduating from McGill, he served in the United States Marine Corps and then ventured on to pursue his culinary aspirations in Colorado. He had the opportunity to work for Chef Rick Kangas at Grouse Mountain Grill and also with Chef David Walford at Splendido, both James Beard Award winning chefs.

In 2002, Mark was offered a head chef position at Cafe 615 in Downtown Mobile by good friend, former classmate and business owner Noell Broughton. Strickland accepted the position and made the journey back to his old stomping grounds. Being classically French trained, it was a smooth transition and definite enhancement to the fine dining scene in a historic downtown venue.
Mark decided to take a break from Back of the House operations and further develop his resume. He went to work for Cooper Restaurants to learn the details of Front of the House procedure and did so with Ruth’s Chris and Felix’s Fish Camp.
In 2013, Strickland went to the water and accepted a culinary position in the oil and gas industry. He was responsible for preparing and feeding engineers and crews on supply boats, rigs and other platforms from a remote operating vessel. Mark took to dry land in 2018 to welcome a son and enjoy some family time.
While freelancing as a Chef partner with Thermador and Bosch appliances, Mark re-entered the full time culinary world and went to work with two of his best and oldest friends, Noell Broughton and Bobby Kilpatrick, as head chef at The Bone & Barrel in Downtown Fairhope last September. With an existing menu in place and thriving business, Mark placed his emphasis on minor tweaks while focusing on consistency and attention to detail. Strickland will implement some menu changes in the Spring with the offering some lighter seasonal fare.

But for now…you might want to try their Mother Clucker! A buttermilk fried chicken breast that has been marinated in a pickle juice and sweet tea brine, topped with a bourbon bacon and caramelized onion jam, drizzled with white BBQ sauces and topped with Wickles pickles. This sandwich is accompanied by a serving of white cheddar jalapeno mac & cheese…mouthwatering!

Their other “Between the Bun” specialties include Po-Boys (debris, shrimp and/or oyster), a Wicked Cuban, a Spider (soft shell crab) Sandwich and incredible burgers. They have some hearty appetizers that could also serve as entrees; Fried Ribs, Sugar Cane Shrimp, Nachos a la Hawg and Wings (Rosemary Parmesan, Bourbon Molasses and Classic Buffalo) in addition to Crab Cakes and Blue Crab Dip. Their signature entrees include an 18 ounce Bone-In Ribeye and Fried Spinach & Goat Cheese Grits.
Bone and Barrel offers a daily lunch and dinner special as well as seasonal desserts and cobblers. Kids are welcome and they even have a special menu. The Bone and Barrel opens every day at 11am with full bar service and the kitchen serves until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends.
There is live music almost every day and always on weekends, indoor and outdoor seating and upstairs accommodations for special events.

The Bone and Barrel • 311 Fairhope Ave, Downtown Fairhope (251) 990-0782

Daphne’s Record Bar renamed to pay tribute to two well loved Veterans

Mary Jansen and Kirstin SmithIn March of 2013 Mary Jansen and Kirstin Smith partnered and purchased the Record Bar on Highway 98 in Daphne. They have recently renamed the neighborhood establishment to honor two of their heroes Colonel John “Pete” Soukup and Lieutenant Mac Alsop, their fathers.Layout 1Kirstin met Mary 12 years ago and it was an instant friendship. When the opportunity arose for the two to become partners, it didn’t take too much persuasion. Although it seemed like a natural fit, the ladies wanted to make sure they could remain friends and business partners before they changed the name. They have celebrated much success and enjoyed the support of the locals over the past two years and look forward to being here for the long haul. Mac and Pete’s Record Bar is fully stocked and opens every day at 4pm with Happy Hour daily from until 7pm. They are located right next to Rosie’s Grill so food is not far away. They don’t even mind if you want to eat with them while you enjoy your favorite beer, wine or cocktail. You can belly on up to the bar, find a table, relax on one of their comfy couches or enjoy outdoor seating. They have an Internet golf game that is quite popular and juke box for your musical enjoyment when live entertainment is not scheduled. All are welcome at Mac and Pete’s and smoking is allowed. This article happens to release just before Veterans Day. Glasses will be raised as a tribute to two well loved Veterans that will always be remembered by these ladies and their families. A rededication is planned for January 2016. Mac and Pete’s, 1203 Highway 98, Suite 4E, Daphne (251) 621-8300 • Facebook  “Mac and Pete’s Record Bar”


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” • Continue reading “News Anchor and Pittsburgh native go Italian”

Something Sweet on Main Street

DarLesterIn the five years that Something Sweet Bake Shop was been in existence, it has made quite a name for itself. An after school snack for some, birthday cupcakes or a pick-me-up treat for a friend, even the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest brownie! The tiny bake shop in Downtown Daphne recently had a change in ownership. Mrs. Dar Lester of Citronelle is now the new owner of the popular bake shop and looks forward to serving patrons with the same great recipes plus now a few of her own. Lester has been baking for over 35 years. She has bakery and cake decorating experience and truly enjoys creating in the kitchen. Her husband has always wanted her to have a business like this of her own and when the couple discovered the opportunity online, they had to investigate. Just one month later the deal was sealed and Something Sweet re-opened. Cupcake, cookies, bar cookies and of course brownies are the main offering. Specialty cakes can be ordered and any flavor cupcake can be make into a full size cake. They will be adding beverages/coffee and welcome feedback and suggestions from customers as to what they would like to see enhance the existing business. Something Sweet Bake Shop is located on Main Street in Olde Towne Daphne, just across from Guido’s & Cousin Vinny’s. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 10am until 5pm. Something Sweet Bake Shop, 1712 Main Street, Daphne (251) 621-CAKE (2253) •

The Feo’s mission to provide Premium EVOO

100_1707-1Vitina and Stephano Feo are business owners with an enduring passion for keeping their heritage alive and educating the public about what the olive oil industry is really about. Vitina was born and raised in Venezuela while Stephano is from New Jersey. They met in California while Vitina was studying at UCLA. They married, started a family and came to live in Gulf Shores, Alabama to be closer to family that had already settled in the area. Prior to 2012, Stephano’s focus was on his accounting practice and Vitina was busy home schooling their children while working from home for a technology company.
During a recent visit to Italy, Stephano and Vitina happened to cross paths with a distant relative of Vitina’s father’s family. He insisted that the couple come visit the family’s olive mill. They learned that the son of the family was trying to promote their olive oil in Canada. After the Feo’s returned home they started comparing the oil that the Giaramida family was producing to what was being sold here in the United States. That market research uncovered a quite a difference between the family’s olive oil and olive oil that was currently on shelves for public consumption. Further research into the industry itself revealed many differences – none of which they believed were cause to celebrate. These findings were part of the reason the Feos decided it was an opportune time to introduce a quality olive oil in the United States.
The couple knew that in order to get this product into stores, people must taste it. Their first introduction to the public was at an annual community event, the Mamma Mia cookoff – a celebration of Daphne’s Italian heritage sponsored by the city’s educational enrichment foundation. The response to the product spurred their initiative to bring the oil to local market shelves. Their hard work along with in store samplings have allowed them placement at Joe Patti’s Seafood and Apple Market in Pensacola, three Piggly Wiggly in the Birmingham area in addition to the Piggly Wiggly stores in Fairhope, Greer’s Fairhope Market, all of the Rouses Markets in Alabama and two locations in Foley, A Better Way Health Store and Burris Farm.
The family oil was branded Papa Vince in honor and appreciation of Grandpa Vincenzo Biondo who started as an apprentice in the olive orchards of the Castello Rampinzeri in Santa Ninfa, Italy. He mastered the art of raising the nocellara olive and the artisan trade of producing extra virgin olive oil. He often referred to his olive oil as “liquid gold”.
In 2008, the operation’s pressing facilities were updated to meet growing demand and also to  ensure the highest quality product. There is no waste at their facility. Byproducts consist only of compost used to fertilize the orchard and olive pellets which are a source of clean heating.
The Feo’s company is Mamma Mia USA and the product is distributed out of their warehouse in Gulf Shores. The product is grown, pressed and bottled on the property in Sicily. Their oil is contains immeasurable nutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants. Papa Vince’s extra virgin olive oil is 100% organic, is totally free of additives and is not blended with other oils like its competitors.
But the ultimate proof is in the taste the product. It’s flavorful and full bodied. You can taste and smell the freshness, the unique quality because it is not mixed with anything else. It is freshly squeezed olive. My words cannot fully describe the uniqueness of this products. To experience its’ full essence, you must taste it yourself.
Mamma Mia USA, 3757 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores (251) 269-6000
Facebook “Papa Vince Extra Virgin Olive Oil” •

My Place is NOT moving next to Piggly Wiggly

The establishment that is scheduled to open later this month in the Plantation Pointe Shopping Center is PLOW.

I sat down with Bobby Kilpatrick and Robert Yarbrough recently to get the 411 on what was really going on and plans for the future.

Below is a copy of the article that was published in the April 1st Eat Beat (no April Foolin’ here!)

Bobby Kilpatrick & Robert Yarbrough of My Place

My Place, the bar in Downtown Fairhope is closing. Yes, closing. This dive bar at the corner of Bancroft and Equality which many have come to know and love will be history at the end of the month. The individuals that own the property on which the building is located have a different vision for what they want to see happen in that space. Simply stated, their vision does not include a bar.
After attempts to find another location downtown, owners Robert Yarbrough and Bobby Kilpatrick have accepted the fact that My Place is just not meant to be – right now. The main concern throughout this whole process has been their employees – their work family.
These people worked long hours together, they played together. They have traditional nuclear families which include spouses and children and My Place has provided these people the opportunity to earn a living. This team, these families, were the catalyst fueling My Place owners to relentlessly pursue a way to continue to provide them with this opportunity.
Kilpatrick, along with two other partners, is putting the finishing touches on another business that is located on the east side of Highway 98. The name of that business is Plow. It is a bar and it will also be a music venue that will regularly feature artists from all over the Southeast.
Yarbrough, who also owns The Wash House in Point Clear, is opening another restaurant in Mobile called The Noble South. It is located on Dauphin Street near Bienville Square. It should open around the same time Plow is scheduled to open.
Both Kilpatrick and Yarbrough are at peace with the way things have panned out. They are pleased to be able to provide continual employment for their work families and relieved to have the luxury of time on their side to resurrect My Place.
So, for now, My Place is lying in wait. The beloved bar will make a comeback. When the time is right.
Robert and Bobby K would also like to invite you to join them and their staff as they make plans for the ultimate and final celebration of five wonderful years of business. Three days of fun and frolic will kick off on Thursday, April 24th with the 5th Annual Beast Feast – an adventure in grilling with free food for everyone. Live entertainment is scheduled for Friday, April 25th with one last hip hip hurrah for the My Place as we know it on Saturday, April 26th.
My Place, 68 North Bancroft, Fairhope (251) 928-1300 • Facebook “My Place Downtown”

East Shore Cafe • Main Street • Daphne, AL

Proprietors Larry Mickleson & John Sibley

I’ve known these guys for quite a few years. They put out an incredible amount of food from a tiny kitchen with consistency and hardly any wait time.

The staff treats you like family because many of their patrons frequent the establishment to the extent that they might as well be. It’s a great place for breakfast, lunch or in between. (Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings)

The Little Yellow Cottage on Main Street

To tempt your tummy, I snapped a few shots of what was coming out of the kitchen when I was last there…

Crab Cakes
Tybee Island Club
Mystics’ Rueben
Cup & Board
Crab Cake Sandwich
Hummingbird Cake
Key Lime Pie

Here’s a link to their recent Feature Foodie Article that was published in The Eat Beat.

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