In an awful turn of events, downtown favorite Saisho has closed its doors. The gastropub first came on the scene two years ago with exceptional food often described as Asian fusion, with an emphasis on small plates and a nice wine list.

I last visited Saisho during Mobile Restaurant Week and it still seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Owned by chef extraordinaire Chakli Diggs, the food was always top notch, from the appetizers to the desserts. I’ve had quite a few stellar experiences in that building. So the question is whether Mobile wasn’t ready for such a place or is unable to support as many higher-end restaurants as we now have.

Let’s hope we have a lot of support still left in us. We are still very fortunate to have NoJa, Diggs’ flagship restaurant. After all the work they did to renovate the building for Saisho, it is now available for functions for catering events. It could even be a turnkey spot to keep a great location up and running.

For more information and availability, contact Chakli Diggs at 251-433-0377.

Southern National still in the works
We haven’t heard much from Southern National lately, but it seems they are still working feverishly to get the building into top shape. That’s good news for Dauphin Street in the wake of Saisho closing. It’s a short walk from where Reggie Washington, Duane Nutter and Tiffanie Barriere, formerly of One Flew South, plan to open their global-style restaurant.

Chef Nutter is a great talent who grew up in Seattle and has Louisiana roots. Make no mistake, he cooks Southern food but borrows from other parts of the world. Restaurateur Washington is from Mobile and beverage director Barriere rounds out this dream team to brighten our downtown scene.

I met the three of them at a wine dinner at Sunset Pointe at Fly Creek Marina and can vouch for their talent. I’m hoping they open sooner rather than later. I’m starving, Duane!

Two West Mobile restaurants volley
A recent visit to the deepest depths of West Mobile past Snow Road gave me a chuckle. During my eastbound return to my safe haven of midtown, I noticed to my right the Chick-fil-A sign on Airport Boulevard read, “Hey Moe’s, any way we can get a look at that white BBQ sauce recipe?”

A few seconds later, on my left the Moe’s Original BBQ near the corner of University had responded with its sign reading, “Shyeah. We will send it over when pigs fly.”

This begs the question: Could we see collaboration between THE fried chicken sandwich and our most successful area barbecue joint? I would love a spicy Chick-fil-A with Alabama white sauce, extra pickles, a large lemonade and a side of pork rinds and pimiento cheese.

Let’s not fight. Get it together, gang. Make history.