Fine Dining at The Fairhope Inn
The Fairhope Inn and Restaurant has long been a landmark, an institution, in the heart of downtown Fairhope. This stately grande dame has taken on new life and new prominence in the community under its new owner, Paige Dawson. After closing for 100 days late last year, the Inn and Restaurant reopened with a new look that pays homage to the past while embracing the present and a very bright future. The full-service restaurant and event venue presents not only a fresh new look, with more natural light and all new furnishings, but an entirely new kitchen and food prep area, as well as an entirely new focus on fresh new food sensibilities. “We opened to very positive reviews,” says Dawson. “Our patrons seemed to appreciate the changes and, at the same time, were happy to see that the old Fairhope Inn they loved was still very much alive and well.”
The Fairhope Inn menu reflects growth and change, as well as a nod to simplicity and health, showcasing our area’s beautiful and bountiful local produce and seafood. Executive Chef Weston Simpson says, “Our focus is on food that is fresh, local, clean, and colorful. We like to keep our preparations as pure and simple as possible, choosing to let the food speak for itself.” Simpson’s clean approach does not mean that the food is unadorned, however. “We eat with our eyes,” says General Manager Jeffrey Mog. “We do make the food look beautiful; however, the food comes first. Simpson agrees, saying, “We want one WOW factor per dish, not multiple garnishes – and everything on the plate must be edible.”
Because Simpson works with several seafood purveyors and buys in small batches, he is able to take full advantage of what is freshest and in season. “We have the ability to change the menu rapidly, and to feature the very best of what’s available,” he says. “For example, the menu always includes a fish of the day, with the variety and the preparation dictated by seasonality and freshness.” Chef Simpson’s personal seafood favorite, both to prepare and to eat, is scallops, which appear regularly on the menu. “Scallops just lend themselves to a clean, simple preparation, seared and served with the lightest of sauces.”
Steaks enjoy a place of prominence on the menu, with a classic filet mignon as well as larger, more substantial cuts. “We have a new flattop/broiler in our remodeled kitchen that makes steak prep quick and virtually foolproof,” says Simpson. “Our beef is of the highest quality, and we believe it stands on its own merits.” Side dishes serve to complement the entrees, and they also take full advantage of local produce from carefully selected local growers. Diners gravitate to the Roasted Beet Salad, the Fried Asparagus, and the Escargot for starters at dinner, and the Crab Cake Salad and the Champagne Poached Salmon for lunch. Sunday brunch features Benedicts – Classic, Crab, Smoked Salmon, and Filet Mignon – along with traditional breakfast and brunch specialties.
Desserts are held in high regard at the Fairhope Inn and are made in-house by the pastry chef. “They’re all good,” says Simpson. “They do change from time to time, with the seasons, but two favorites year-round are the Hummingbird Cake – a pineapple, banana, and pecan cake adorned with cream cheese icing – and the classic favorite, Crème Brulee. We also have a Lemon Semifreddo, which is a frozen mousse-like concoction featuring Meyer lemons that is beyond delicious.”
In addition to lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, plus Sunday brunch, the Fairhope Inn provides a gracious and elegant venue for a variety of special events, including weddings and receptions, family gatherings, rehearsal dinners, and more. “We can accommodate as many as 128 guests in our four dining rooms for a seated function indoors,” says Paige Dawson. “Outside in our newly remodeled and expanded courtyard, we can serve a seated dinner for 28, or up to 250 for a stand-up, cocktail party style function. The courtyard boasts a fountain, a gazebo, a great sound system, new furnishings and umbrellas, and plenty of room for mixing and mingling.” The newly remodeled Polo Bar pays homage to local art and sport and provides an elegant and relaxing setting for before-dinner cocktails or a nightcap afterward.
The Fairhope Inn
63 South Church Street
Fairhope, AL 36532