“This little restaurant, here in Mobile, has been the only thing I’ve been working toward for the past 10 years,” said Lee Thompson, owner of Bistro Escoffier. “It is a beautiful little place in a perfect neighborhood and was really the only location I wanted.”

Thompson learned how to cook from Yannick Marchand and took over his restaurant Quatorze in 2003. After closing its doors three years later, Thompson began looking for a place to start anew; his very own restaurant to build from the ground up. After working overseas for a few years, he came back to Mobile to open the bistro he always dreamed of.

Bistro Escoffier was born at 1714 Dauphin St., in the former Mobile Popcorn space, and was immediately well received. But over the past few months a few neighbors have mentioned that although they enjoy the high-caliber food, they just can’t afford to dine there very often.

This has led to a menu expansion that’s much easier on the pocketbook without sacrificing the high-quality food diners have come to expect. They recently started opening for Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. to give customers a chance to sample several dishes, which include Bloody Mary and mimosa specials.

I personally can’t wait to try the Croque Madame, but there are other sandwiches, including a burger, offered on the new menu. If you haven’t yet tried Bistro Escoffier, now is the time. Call 251-450-2030 for reservations.

NAIFA BBQ lunch for Ronald McDonald House
Like barbecue? Treat yourself to a heavenly portion of the stuff that made the South famous and raise money for a worthy charity while you’re at it.

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) is teaming up with Ronald McDonald House of Mobile to deliver barbecue to an expected thousands of folks on Thursday, June 11. A mere $10 gets you a half pound of pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, bread and the famous Ronald McDonald House chocolate chip cookie. If that doesn’t seal the deal, I don’t know what will.

You’ll find order forms at www.rmhcmobile.org, or you can order food for pick-up or delivery by calling 251-694-6873.

7th annual Duel on Dauphin benefits food bank
I remember 2009 fondly. Gas was $2.73 per gallon. Taylor Swift was a country star. Times were different then. But the significance of 2009 for Mobilians may be the inception of the Duel on Dauphin.

The 7th annual Duel on Dauphin will be held Sunday, June 7, downtown on Dauphin Street. This crawfish cook-off has enticed those near and far to support downtown Mobile and the Bay Area Food Bank. The cost for a wristband is $10 at the door or a donation of 10 non-perishable food items.

The event runs from 2 until 6 p.m. as bars compete for bragging rights. This year we’ll be sampling mudbugs prepared by Hayley’s, The Brickyard, LoDa Bier Garten, Saddle Up Saloon and Alchemy Tavern. As you do the “crawfish crawl” from place to place, suck some heads, pinch some tails and donate to a great charity.  

Tilmo’s smoking up Dauphin and I-65
Tilmo’s BBQ first opened in Tillman’s Corner a few years ago. Then came Cotton State BBQ in downtown Mobile as a sister restaurant. The latest barbecue venture for Ryan Tillman is almost ready at Dauphin and I-65.

Though the Tillman’s Corner branch is no longer around, its namesake has taken up new residence in Midtown. Located in the former Foosackly’s building next to the BP station, Tilmo’s will be a short bike ride from my house. We’ll let you know as soon as grand-opening plans are made.

Manci’s kitchen now open for business
The music has been great, the atmosphere stellar and the drinks have been flowing. A brief visit with co-owner John Thompson let me know the kitchen at Manci’s will be open this week with a limited menu. Think burgers, certain sandwiches and maybe a salad or two. You’re welcome, Daphne.

Two Brothers New Orleans Kitchen a hit in Foley
I’m never upset when a bit of New Orleans makes its way to our area. Foley is the most recent recipient of the honor in Two Brothers New Orleans Kitchen.

Located at 8272 State Highway 59 S., the new restaurant is only weeks old and has plenty of fans. Expect such New Orleans fare as seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, oysters on the half shell and po’boys. Those of you who understand me know I’m a sucker for a real muffuletta. No, this isn’t some muffuletta hoagie or other ridiculous abomination. This one is the real deal, and diners are already raving about it.

A website is still under development, but you can find them now on Facebook. There you’ll see a full menu as well as upcoming lunch specials for the month of June. The Brothers Two are keeping this business very homegrown, so don’t expect too much high-tech wizardry. Apparently they focus on the food. The reviews are stellar. For more information, call Two Brothers New Orleans Kitchen at 251-943-5555.