There were some grumblings and mumblings when we lost Queen G’s, but everyone seems happy the new Publix at Florida Street and Old Shell Road is now open. The parking lot was so full that people who don’t normally walk to the store were actually walking to the store. I gave a kind young couple a ride in the back of the pickup. Seems these two rookies forgot that when you walk more than two blocks it is best to not buy milk by the gallon.

Fairhope gains a pair of restaurants

The downtown area of Fairhope is getting a spicy facelift as two new restaurants move in. The Cactus Cantina is slated to open this week and if it is anything like the ones in Pensacola, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores then our friends on the Eastern Shore are in for a treat. This Mexican grill is serving up knockout Margaritas and fresh Tex-Mex at 108 Section St.

Just next door to Cactus Cantina is the future home of Section St. Pizza at the corner of Section and Pine. If you’re looking for wood-fired pizza then this will be the place to visit. No word on an opening date but follow them on social media for updates.

Also, I’m really digging what Bay House Bistro has done with the former Thyme By The Bay (now Thyme on Section). The Bistro opened last September and looks wonderful but the menu Chef Brian and team have put together is even better. Fairhope is a powerhouse right now.

Rainosek bringing po’boy love to The Fort

I’m quick to name Noble South as one of my favorite downtown restaurants. I’m a big fan of Chef Chris Rainosek, so I was ecstatic when I heard he was behind the new Sylvia’s Biscuits and Poboys coming soon to The Fort at Colonial Mobile (formerly known as Fort Conde). Last week’s Facebook post simply said, “Poboy love will soon be upon us!”

I can’t wait to try the bread. He’s always putting his own twist to things. Hey Chris, how about you do a pickled shrimp po’boy fresh from those magical jars you have on Dauphin Street?

Downtown Cajun Cook-off a hit

The fourth annual Downtown Cajun Cook-Off was an enormous success. I am told the attendees drained the contestants dry early in the day. Thompson Engineering took third place while Butch Cassidy’s won second place. Grand Prize went to Dauphin’s with their Gumbo Thibodeaux. Congratulations to all the teams in the effort to raise money for the Child Advocacy Center.

Baumhower’s Victory Grille at Shoppes at Bel Air

Our favorite footballer-turned-foodie is in his 35th year in the hospitality business! Bob Baumhower’s Victory Grille is the perfect way to mark that milestone. Now open at the Shoppes at Bel Air, the restaurant is part of the mall’s culinary renaissance, and it looks fantastic.

With patio seating, 75 flat screen TVs and 30 new healthy menu options this place is helping make the mall a destination dining spot. More on this one soon. Congratulations, Bob!