Restaurant Review: The Barn

Executive Chef Adam Stephens elevates bistro classics, serving farm-grown produce with a Gulf Coast twist.

The interior of The Barn in Fairhope, AL
Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau

Past the large white farmhouse-inspired restaurant, the covered pavilion strung with lights, and gardens, fruit trees and containers housing hydroponic beds of mushrooms and microgreens, sits a 2,500 square-foot barn. Originally used for storage, the restored building now gives life to The Barn, the bustling new edition to The Hope Farm. At the helm of it all is Executive Chef Adam Stephens. Stephens hails from Denver and worked both there and in the foodie mecca Houston as a chef in fine dining establishments. Sixteen months ago, he made his way to the Gulf Coast, landing in Fairhope and bringing his haute cuisine preparations to the The Hope Farm’s rustic Southern menu. 

The Barn is both a restaurant and a venue for mixology classes, multicourse tastings and wine dinners. The restaurant’s barrel-vaulted ceilings add a rustic touch to the decor while sage-green walls, sleek lines and elements of dark wood create an atmosphere of modern elegance. It is home to a large kitchen, and indoor and outdoor dining space where Stephens serves his approachable yet elevated lunch cuisine.

Stephens designed a menu of items that seem familiar — small plates, sandwiches, salads and burgers — along with bistro classics such as hanger steak and shrimp scampi. Yet, the sophistication of the dishes is far from ordinary. The moment the plates hit the table, it’s clear that diners are getting something unexpected. Local seafood, braised greens and preserved lemons imbue the preparations with bright, passionate flavors. The Barn utilizes old Southern traditions of preserving and fermenting to make all of their vinegars and jams in house. 

The Barn also offers innovative cocktails and an inspired wine selection that mirrors the drink menu at the flagship restaurant. Patrons can grab something to go, stop in over their lunch hour or linger over fresh oysters and a glass of wine in the shaded garden. 

- Sponsors -

The phrase “farm-to-table” has become ubiquitous and seems to have evolved into a catchphrase for trendy new restaurants. But what The Hope Farm is doing is far from a fad. And, while the tastes are something you would expect from the a big city culinary hotspot, the folks at The Hope Farm are working to create something local. Something for the whole neighborhood. “We don’t rely on gimmicks and trends,” says Stephens, “There’s only one thing that never goes out of style and that is fresh food, well-prepared, that tastes good.” It’s as simple as that.

Left to Right Chilled Lobstster, Ceviche, Wedge Salad and Scampi

On The Menu

Wedge Salad
Marinated blue cheese, fresh herbs, and Nueske’s bacon elevate the classic wedge. The Creole buttermilk dressing made with Carolina Reaper sauce gives a kick of the unexpected.

In this seasonal iteration, the ceviche is a Polynesian Ota Ika that’s bright and fresh in a creamy, spicy coconut sauce.

Seared Gulf shrimp is paired with ‘Nduja, a fermented pork sausage with Calabrian chiles. Braised leafy greens from the garden, preserved lemon and orecchiette round out the dish. 

Wagyu Burger
Wagyu beef is topped with house mushroom conserve, smoked bone marrow aioli and swiss cheese, all on a brioche bun.

The Barn • 915 Nichols Ave., Fairhope • 340-3276 • 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sat. – Sun.

Get the best of Mobile delivered to your inbox

Be the first to know about local events, home tours, restaurant reviews and more!