DINING RECOMMENDATION:



AUNT B’S COUNTRY KITCHEN
3750 Bay Road
Theodore, Alabama 36582

(251) 623-1868
www.shopauntbs.com



OWNERS: Robert and Beverly Pettie

We were on vacation and Joe and I were just “bumming” around Dauphin Island enjoying the scenery, while the other houseguests were baking in the sun on the beach.  Joe has “Irish” skin and avoids direct sun like the plague, unless slathered in sunscreen and covered with a wide-brimmed hat.  We had taken in the wild water crashing on the rocks on the East end of the island where there’s lots of turbulence from the confluence of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  And, we had walked some of the lovely Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary Trail where we had spotted four Great Blue Herons, several white Cattle Egrets, and a Tri-Color Egret all in a small lake with beautiful yellow water lilies.  It seemed like time for lunch, which Joe and I rarely have to be prodded to partake of, when my cell phone rang.  My sweet young cousin, Mardie Pfeiffer Sharp, was calling to remind us of her suggestion to be sure to eat at a restaurant-country store-farm combination that was close-by.  Joe had to gently pry me off the island with the promise of good food since I was definitely not in the mood to get near anything that might resemble work!  What the heck, I was hungry.   Mardie had mentioned this place several times; she knows good food when she tastes it; and it was only ½ mile off the main road between Mobile and Dauphin Island.  You can see that we’re easily persuaded when food is involved.  On the way we called her to join us for lunch, but she was the real estate agent “on duty” at Pickett Real Estate and couldn’t leave the office.  Sorry, Mardie.



The restaurant named, “Aunt B’s Country Kitchen”, turned out to be quite an interesting place. Fortunately, we were lunching later than usual which gave us extra time with one of the owners, Robert Pettie.  The restaurant is named for the other owner and the chef, his wife Beverly.  She was out on an errand at the time, so we missed her.  Beverly’s nieces & nephews call her “Aunt B” thus the obvious name for the restaurant.

 

This place is full of fascinating contradictions! Aunt B’s Country Kitchen is just across the street from the Pettie’s 125-acre farm where they grow as much as possible for their extensive menu. The grounds are beautifully kept pastureland with pecan groves and huge old oak trees.  The 1901 farmhouse-restaurant could pass for a dainty tearoom with its white gingerbread trim on pale yellow with a large screened porch entry.  But once inside, it is an entirely different structure.  There are hand-hewn heart-of-pine timbers used for both wall panels and magnificent massive open rafters.  The rich dark colors compliment the large brick fireplace which shows its 110 years of use to warm the house.  The heavy mantle is laden with old books and guarded by an antique rifle.  Before the loving renovation of the farmhouse, it had stood abandoned and completely overgrown for many, many years.  As luck would have it, Aunt B’s Country Kitchen opened for business four days before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill about 15 months ago.  Bob Pettie laughed, yes, laughed at his sense of business timing!  I would have been beyond devastated!   You’ll have to admit, the guy’s got a great sense of humor and staying power.



 

 

Wooden tables and chairs for dining are mingled with the country store shelves that are groaning with Alabama-grown preserves, pickles, chutneys, relishes, fresh produce from the farm, “pasture eggs”, Amish cheeses from Ohio, frozen vegetables from the farm, pecan oil (now, that one was new to me!), hand-cut rib-eye steaks, sausages, stuffed shrimp; I’d best stop here to give you the website for you to investigate: www.shopauntbs.com

There’s also a glass enclosed back porch for dining overlooking the pecan grove, another  room displaying local artwork and beautiful local hand-sewn articles. (After our visit, I learned that Melody, my son’s wife and the twins mother, had some of her gorgeous hand-sewn children’s clothes there, but they had sold out!)  Then there’s another display room for refrigerated, frozen, and fresh meats and produce.  

So back to their food, don’t be too taken in by the “Country Kitchen” name!  Methinks, it could be named a “Gourmet Country Kitchen” from a look at the menu offerings. Yet “Country Kitchen” suits the general casual ambiance of dining.  For lunch Joe & I both had a most interesting sandwich with soup served on tableware that looked like old white “graniteware” with red markings.  The soup was homemade cream of chicken with celery and onions, yum!  The sandwich bread was thick sliced, toasted, and I forgot to ask the name of the kind of bread…  Inside the sandwich, piled high was a thick slice of Grilled Green Tomato with slices of Smoked, Seasoned Fresh Ham.   I was so amazed that Joe was eating a grilled green tomato that I didn’t ask the exact sandwich ingredients. ( I make a great interviewer, don’t I?)  Anyhoo, as mama would say, the lunch was delicious, unique, and very generous in size.  Our cute tiny waitress, she obviously didn’t eat there, came to recite the desserts after our sandwiches were gone, but we declined in an attempt to not add any more to our girth.  But, owner Robert Pettie was having none of that.  He arrived tableside with a gratis serving of their “signature” dessert, Sweet Potato Biscuit Sundae.  It was simply outstanding.  He told us that he bought the sweet potato biscuits from a 97 year old lady and her granddaughter that made them in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

If you visit Aunt B’s Country Kitchen in May or June, there is a wagon-type structure in  front of the restaurant with fresh produce.  Sometimes on Saturdays there is a farmer’s market featuring other local farmers.  On request, the Petties give guided tours of the their farm; and for children - feeding the chickens, turkeys, goats, and watching the cows  are a huge treat for “city kids”.  Some of them even get to fish in the pond.

Bob Pettie says he likes to grow things and Beverly likes to cook.  So, their menus change every two weeks to keep their diners coming back and to use their farm produce, meat, and locally bought seafood.

 

 

Here’s a small sampling of the menu:
Pork Scaloppini over Pasta
Shrimp Etouffee
Cornbread Panzella Salad
Chicken Marsalis
Green Tomato-n-Onion Casserole
Stuffed Whole Flounder
Curried Corn-n-Sweet Peppers
Pork Grillardes over Cheese Grits
Brown Sugar Squash
Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin w/ Crabmeat
Chicken Breast w/ Tomatoes-n-Cream
Zipper Peas
Purple Plum Glazed Pork
Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes


Aunt B’s Country Kitchen serves:
Lunch
Dinner
Sunday Lunch/ Dinner

Please call for dining hours, store hours, and for farm tours.
Dinner reservations are recommended.

 

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