Fort Condé has been a tourism mainstay in downtown Mobile for over 40 years, teaching visitors about the area’s oldest inhabitants and fiercest rivalries. But something new and exciting is happening inside the replica fort, rebranded in 2017 as the Fort of Colonial Mobile, where the smell of good food will lead you right through the large iron gates into Sylvia’s Biscuits and Poboys.
Gulf Coast Ducks, a land-and-sea adventure tour company started by Scott Tindle and brothers Grant Zarzour and Matt Zarzour, took over the Fort on behalf of the city in April of 2017. Not long after, that same team opened Sylvia’s, completing the transformation of the Fort into a full-service attraction offering history, adventure and now delicious Southern food, to boot.
When it comes to the menu, it’s all about comfort food with local flair. The breakfast and lunch menus are peppered with “The One…” titles reminiscent of old episodes of “Friends,” describing menu items in a way that you would explain them to your family or your coworkers. There are breakfast plates such as “The One for the All-American,” piled high with larger-than-life pancakes, Bill-E’s bacon, creamy scrambled eggs and cheese grits; lunch plates like “The One Everyone Says is their Favorite,” an unexpected spin on shrimp and grits that includes meaty cremini mushrooms and a tomato-forward sofrito sauce; and a multitude of tongue-in-cheek descriptions for finger-licking biscuits and poboys with their own personalities.
“We’re Southern, but we’re coastal. We’ve got this Gulf Coast vibe, but we’re not New Orleans. We’re our own thing,” says Tindle. “We’re this fusion of biscuits and poboys.”
The restaurant’s unparalleled character is attributed in part to menu partnerships with local businesses such as Old Shell Market, Southern Fish and Oyster, ellenJAY, Reney’s Honey Butter and Bill-E’s Bacon. Sylvia’s should also be lauded for its sustainability practices, such as eliminating single-use plastic utensils, selling refillable cups while recycling any that are single-use plastic and distributing straws only upon request.
“The only way we’re going to have fresh, sustainable seafood is if we keep the oceans clean,” says Tindle. “We are an environmentally conscious company across the spectrum.”
Southern hospitality is their specialty, as interior signage delivering the phrases “you’re welcome” and “poboy love” implies. With a goal of five-star reviews in the forefront, Sylvia’s is prepared to please.
On the Menu
The One for Your Honey
A handmade biscuit — a base that strikes the perfect balance of soft, sturdy and crumbly — encases tender fried chicken and fresh pickles before the entire thing is drizzled in Reney’s honey butter. Sweet!
The One for the Coastie
Lump Gulf crab fresh from Southern Fish and Oyster is fried into a cake and topped with a savory fried green tomato, mixed greens and Sylvia’s signature chipotle remoulade sauce on French bread.
The One for the Tailgate
Bright red Buffalo-coated fried chicken is sandwiched on a French roll over a bed of crisp and tender lettuce, tangy housemade pickles and creamy blue cheese dressing for a well-rounded bite.
The One your Dad Wants
You know the one. Crispy, salty fried shrimp piled high on toasted French bread is complete with the classic lettuce, tomato and pickle combo and finished off with chipotle mayonnaise.
Sylvia’s • 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. T – Su. Private dinners available upon request. • 150 S Royal St. • Average entree price $10