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Longtime Wintzell’s Oyster House shucker Willie Brown passed away in December. Last week, the downtown staple renamed its oyster bar “Willie’s Oyster Bar.”

If Mobile is an oyster, Willie was our pearl,” penned Mayor Sandy Stimpson in a letter read at Mr. Brown’s funeral this past December. True Mobilians know who we are talking about, but for those unfamiliar, he was a character and famous shucker at Wintzell’s Oyster House for the past 47 years who recently met his end at the age of 70.

In honor of his life, Wintzell’s Oyster House named its 80-year-old oyster bar after the man in a ceremony this past Friday at its 605 Dauphin St. location.

Upon your next visit you’ll see that the “Oyster Bar” sign now reads “Willie’s Oyster Bar” as well as a 36 inch by 48 inch portrait of Mr. Willie created by artist Devlin Wilson and a shadow box of memorabilia celebrating his life put together by Cathy Collins of Ashland Gallery.

“We hope that the dedication of Willie’s Oyster Bar establishes a special, historic place where many friends, fans, family and guests may continuously share memories and honor Mr. Brown,” said Clay Omainsky, communications manager for Wintzell’s. “Leaving a legacy of service and charm to oyster eaters, to our restaurant and team, and to our community, he was truly a once-in-a-lifetime icon and a significant figure in Southern foodways.”

It’s the right thing to do.

COASTAL is a chance to dine big

It won’t be long until most of us are flooding the sugar-white sands of Gulf Shores. The newest attraction may be just a bit inland, though. COASTAL Restaurant is a family-friendly place located next to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo complete with an amazing menu that almost has me playing hooky and headed south for lunch. There’s an ice cream and milkshake bar as well as a full-service bar open late with live music.

Imagine seafood and veggie-heavy entrees and apps with tuna poke, smoked cauliflower, whole flounder, grouper, chargrilled oysters and, of course, enough shrimp to fill a lion’s den. If you’re not into seafood, then feast on the Boursin-stuffed chicken or a choice 14-ounce ribeye.

If you’re worried about execution, allow me to alleviate those fears. The master chef is Chris Sherrill, a name well known around Alabama waters, with rising chef Ethan England as sous-chef. I think you’ll be in good hands.

Yinzers opens to quick acclaim

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about Yinzers Brew & Grill in the old Papa’s Pizza place at 28850 U.S. Route 98, Suite 200. A creation by our own Mr. Pittsburgh, Mark Bentz, the restaurant just opened with a menu heavy with his succulent pizzas and sandwiches.

Loaded pub chips, muffuletta cheesy bread, soft pretzels and wings are but a portion of the appetizer menu; sandwiches include Philly steak, Italian steak, Italian and muffuletta. Expect this menu to grow as Bentz moves onward and upward. Even when it does you’ll still get the pizza. It’s good.