Well it is confirmed. I stopped by the Highway 31 Trattoria location on the second day of their opening. As expected it is Mark Bentz formerly of Bentz’s Pizza Pub and Pittsburgh Room. It seems they were almost done getting their act together in the former Putter’s Dream ice cream parlor location near Stapleton, and the modifications look great. Looks like a full bar, outdoor seating, and a menu that focuses on Italian for lunch and dinner.

I’d call the place a casual atmosphere as the name suggests, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for a date place. That area seems to be growing with a new subdivision going in every week. I sat down for a lunch that consisted of Italian chips and salsa and a blackened tuna quesadilla. That’s a pretty interesting combination for that side of town. I’ll be back to give the muffaletta a whirl. I’m sure the pie will be as great as it always was.

Do not think for one second that Mark Bentz had to go it alone. He has a heavy hitter partnering with him. NBC 15’s own Greg Peterson is so fond of Mark’s cooking that he has a hand in this. Peterson seems to be a bit of a foodie and appreciates the made-from-scratch method that Mr. Bentz employs.

Will the area support a restaurant of this kind remains to be seen, but from my brief glimpse into the crystal ball it looks promising. I wish them luck.

Dairy Queens abound

While midtown traffic awaits the Dairy Queen at the former Krispy Kreme location on Government our friends around USA will be knee deep in parfaits. It’s projected that the new Dairy Queen by the university will be up and running as soon as next week. Thank God for something cool to eat, just in time. I’m burning slap up.

Speaking of frozen treats

I thought the Old Dutch ice cream parlor couldn’t get any better. I was wrong. My latest visit noticed they had super cool soda pops in glass bottles on ice. And I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure most of these were crafted with real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

Sorry, corny people. I like my corn on the cob, not in my soda pop. Pop in and grab a cold one or better yet make a float with your favorite flavor. I’m a huge fan of Bubble Up. Keep those fingers crossed.

In other donut news

I cannot say the word donut without someone speaking of Lickin’ Good in Robertsdale and Saraland. They are exploding right now. Everyone raves about the filling being full of real preserves, and though I haven’t tried them yet I hear the kolaches are amazing. I do have friends who swear by the cake donuts. Although Lickin’ Good began with a couple shops in Louisiana, most would agree we are lucky to have two locations in south Alabama.

New donut shop Lickin’ Good is turning heads

New donut shop Lickin’ Good is turning heads

Royal Scam could be ticket to unification

I’d like to think breaking bread with another is the best way to settle a dispute, quell an argument, turn sour hearts and end grudges. It’s the fastest track to the core of the matter. It has even been said that our very own Royal Scam is a popular place for recent political foes to find common ground. What is so special about “the Scam” as we call it that brings people together and has been doing so since 2006? Well there are a lot of things.

The chalkboard specials are what bring me back. I remember a time when the Scam was a little more of a set menu. Now it keeps me guessing. My last visit was braised lamb shanks that were to die for as I reunited with some old friends. Hanger steak is just as popular.

Anything with tuna there is worth getting. It’s the kind of thing that could calm the Middle East. But don’t overlook the attention to detail in the bread department. All of the bread comes preservative free from a little bakery in Fairhope called Heavenly Creations.

Maybe it’s the gumbo that brings people together. Maybe crab cakes Napolean does the trick. Local beer, local bread, local seafood, local flavor. Be it recent politicos sharing bread pudding or old friends getting together for the first time in a good while it does seem the Scam is the fast track corridor leading to unification. If you are looking for one Mobile you’ll most likely find it under one roof across one table.

The Royal Scam is just one of our many examples of what a good restaurant can do. We have plenty of others city wide, county wide, regional, that are perfect places for opposing views to find commonality. There are no poker faces at the table where a good meal is prepared. Quit your fighting. It’s time to eat.