Photo | T Marie’s Ristorante Italiano
You were still nursing your 2021 hangover when the Mobile restaurant scene went topsy-turvy with relocations, openings and closings. January 2022 is full of all three, plus announcements on some (fingers crossed) future openings for this year.
Some of these restaurants opened late last year, but are gaining their footing now. So many have been stifled by supply chain and inspection delays. It’s a heck of a time to get into the restaurant game. Now more than ever you will see it is not for the faint of heart.
So what do you want first, the good news or the bad? Let’s end on a good note.
Cortlandt’s Pizza Pub closes in Spring Hill
It had become the hottest spot on the Hill. I remember my first visit to Cortlandt’s Pizza Pub some five or six years ago was riddled with hiccups. But this place went on to become a pizza powerhouse with a hopping bar, great happy hour and a staff that would go the extra distance when needed.
Their Tuesday, Jan. 4, post on Facebook announcing their closing came as a surprise to many regulars, gaining enough attention to garner over 300 comments in a short amount of time. The post reads that the staffing shortages plaguing the country have something to do with their closing. There are, however, a couple of empty spots in that same Old Shell Road shopping center, which is also home to Rouses, Hemline and Ace Hardware. Cortlandt’s neighbors, Red Beard’s Outfitter, recently left the group and are relocating farther east, near Nixon’s and Dew Drop Inn.
Good luck, Spring Hill. You need a new beer, wine and pizza joint.
Spiffy Fox closes in Leinkauf
More sad pizza news, I’m afraid. Leinkauf’s Spiffy Fox Pizza and Pub made the announcement last week they would be permanently closing their doors. The Irish/Gaelic take on pizza, also known for their fish and chips, celebrated its first anniversary just after COVID turned the world upside down. The familiar industry struggles coupled with recent health issues for ownership made for a difficult Christmas. By the time the new year rolled around, it was too much for them to continue.
It’s a great location. Historically a lot of really good pizzas have come out of that building. They will be missed.
T Marie’s Ristorante Italiano opens at the Loop
It was originally intended to be an easy transfer of Mirko Pasta in Legacy Village to the former Regina’s location in Midtown. Of course, it’s never that easy. Midtowners have been waiting for Mirko’s opening date, only to find it won’t happen … well, not exactly.
Now T Marie’s Ristorante Italiano is open for business at 2056 Government Street at the Loop. No, it isn’t Mirko, but you will notice the menu bears a striking resemblance. The short story is the original Mirko franchise rights in 2011 were for the Spring Hill location. Cut to now, and Mirko Franchise Co. is no longer selling franchises. Local owners opted to buy out the franchise rights, gaining full access to the recipes without having a legal issue concerning the use of the name in an unapproved location.
I visited them on their third official day of opening, and with new staff, an uncooperative POS system and no liquor license (it’s coming in February), they still managed to shell out some good food. The space has been opened up to include a second room and will surely help fill Midtown’s Italian fare void.
Bistro St. Emanuel opens at Fort Conde Inn
Fort Conde Inn is one of Mobile’s tucked-away secrets, nestled behind the fort. Not just overnight accommodations, the inn is a popular event space, as well. The end of 2021 saw the opening of their new Bistro St. Emanuel, located at 200 St. Emanuel Street, with a daily breakfast service from 7-10 a.m.
The renovated building across from the inn is beautifully redone with a classy bar and nice layout. The menu includes a trio of takes on eggs benedict and just as many omelets, waffles, French toasts and pancakes.
Sunday brunch runs until 2 p.m. for those of you who sleep in!
Mediterranean Sandwich Co. reopens downtown location
You thought you couldn’t live without it. Turns out, you don’t have to! The newly renovated Mediterranean Sandwich Co. is back and open for business. Those fresh gyros and pita sandwiches have never been better.
I love the orzo, but the word on the street is Vlad has dialed in the hummus. Maybe my next visit will include a sampler platter. Hummus, tzatziki, tomato and cucumber salad, stuffed grape leaves and pita triangles sound healthy, eh? Coming from here, you know all of it will be fantastic.
If you can’t make it down there, order online and have it delivered.
SOCU’s Erica Barrett to appear on Food Network’s ‘Raid the Fridge’
Dauphin Street’s SOCU Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar has been feeding the happy downtown crowd for a few years. The woman behind its success, Erica Barrett, is no stranger to network television. With appearances on both ABC’s “Shark Tank” and CNBC’s “The Profit,” we cannot call her camera shy. After all, these were the shows that took her Southern Culture Artisan Foods company to a level of national recognition, even getting a nod from Oprah Winfrey as the mega-star included Barrett’s grits on a list of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2016.
Now another television show is calling, this time on the Food Network. “Raid the Fridge,” a head-to-head reality battle show, pits chefs against each other as they use fresh ingredients, leftovers, condiments and anything else found in mystery refrigerators to make top-notch dishes from ordinary ingredients.
Barrett will be appearing on the episode airing Tuesday, Jan. 25. Check local listings for more information.
We are still anxiously awaiting the opening of SOCU Coffee Bar directly across the street from her flagship restaurant at 455 Dauphin St. We will let you know as soon as an opening date is announced.
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