Three Mobile area Captain D’s restaurants, located at 1281 Hillcrest Road, 7690 Moffett Road and 2520 Government Blvd. have recently seen a change in ownership.

The husband and wife team of Jason and Robin Kaetzel, originally from the Birmingham area, recently formed Seaside Foods Mobile, Inc., and purchased the three locations of the well-known batter dipped fish, shrimp and crab restaurant. 

Husband Jason Kaetzel has more than 30 years of experience with the Captain D’s corporation, serving a full bandwidth of positions from cook to vice president of operations. “There will be an updated image coming soon to our local Captain D’s restaurants, with remodels and updated paint schemes in the works for the future,” Kaetzel said.  

New ownership also brings fresh ideas in the way of an introductory grill menu. Captain D’s will now offer such items as grilled salmon, tilapia, surf and turf, along with the normal fried fare from the franchise Mobilians are familiar with.

“We realize that as a community people are often trying to be more health conscious when eating out. That was one of the reasons why we acquired new equipment for each location immediately after purchasing the restaurants. We adjusted the menu to offer customers more dining choices,” Robin Kaetzel said.  

The couple originally moved from Ashville, Ala. to Santa Rosa County, Fla. in September of 2012. When the opportunity to go out on their own came with the news that the local Captain D’s restaurants were up for grabs, it made sense to buy them as well as relocate to the area.

The Kaetzels purchased a home in Daphne last September and the entrepreneurial duo recently expressed elation at being new business owners plugged into the area economy. Moving back home across state lines to Alabama was icing on the cake. “We would love to have enough success to be able to add new Captain D’s sites in the near future and have enjoyed learning about as well as becoming a part of the Mobile and Baldwin county communities,” Robin Kaetzel said. 

Fresh start for The Pillars?

The Pillars building at The Loop may become a multi-use event space.

Photo/Gabriel Tynes

The Pillars building at The Loop may become a multi-use event space.

According to sources, the 109-year-old, white, two-story mansion at the nexus of Airport Boulevard and Government Street – which housed the former iconic Pillars Restaurant – may soon see new ownership and a fresh start effective sometime in August.

Rumors are swirling that wheels are in motion for the property to be used in similar fashion as the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion for parties, luncheons, dinners; local wedding receptions; various and sundry locally-planned business and social event extravaganzas. According to insiders familiar with the transaction, a major happening is already tentatively scheduled for August, assuming city government’s due diligence on the property is completed in a timely manner.

Built in 1905 as a private residence, the property was converted in 1976 into one of Mobile’s most well-known and high-end eateries that remained a part of the cityscape until shuttering in 2010. The 45,000-square-foot Loop-area site was renovated in 2013 by the Weavil Commercial Real Estate Company. The building itself is 6,300-square-feet and consists of seven large offices, a conference room, a solarium, a kitchen and a large reception area.

Bayway expansion plans get boost

According to a recent news release, efforts on the future I-10 bridge and Bayway expansion got a boost as word came that the draft environmental impact study will be released in the next few weeks. Once it is out, residents will be asked to provide feedback by reviewing the study at a public location and/or attending public hearings in Mobile and Baldwin counties. 

Afterwards, the feedback will be funneled into a revised study for the design and engineering phase to determine specifications. One popular question is whether or not bike lanes will be included in the plans and, if so, how they’ll be designed. Sources say planning could take up to two years and construction is estimated to be a four-to-six year ordeal.

The result will be a new Mobile River bridge, expanding I-10’s capacity by six lanes (three in each direction) and a Bayway expansion reaching eight lanes in total. 

To keep up with progress and potential meeting locations, individuals can follow updates on the “Build The I-10 Bridge” Facebook page.

Bama Brickhouse seeing hot growth after setback

Roughly six months after a fundraising effort to replace two stolen hot dog carts – collectively worth several thousand dollars – belonging to Jeanine Carlton, owner of Bama Brickhouse Hotdogs, business is booming and could quite possibly expand in the near future. As reported at the time, Carlton overcame a drug conviction and domestic violence to open up her own small business three years ago; selling hot dogs from her popular stands prominently parked directly in front of Government Plaza in downtown Mobile.

Carlton recently said attorneys, judges, jury duty members, business types and tourists have started to visit her carts in droves since the dog days of summer began sizzling downtown foot traffic. Increasing percentages of new customers are now morphing into regulars.

When the two original hot dog carts she owned were stolen in Prichard, losses were recouped via GoFundMe, an internet crowdfunding site, as well as through local donations.

Carlton still expresses gratitude to the local community and the website for the assistance in her time of need. These days, however, she credits the current soaring sales growth to her strong spiritual faith through good times and bad.

Brand Energy Solutions opening local office

Brand Energy Solutions is opening an office in July at 3512 Brookdale Drive South in Mobile to serve commercial and industrial customers from northwest Florida to Pascagoula, Miss.

According to its website, the company contracts multi-craft services such as scaffolding, insulation and painting. Its parent company, Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services, is a provider of industrial and commercial construction specialty services and also serves the infrastructure and commercial markets in strategic international regions.