If you are looking for a little walk on the wild side, Locals, in the heart of downtown Fairhope is the place. The eatery, offering breakfast, burgers and an intriguing, ever-changing array of game meats, opened in October. Owners, Ashley Gray and Wade Peryer, both spent years in the restaurant business before deciding to open their own establishment showcasing everything local. “Fresh food grown by our neighbors, shared with our neighbors, is all we wanted, ” Gray says.
They buy as much as they can from area farmers and artisans. Even the exotic meats come from Bay City Meats. “The wild game evolved because Wade (originally from New Zealand) is a very open-minded, worldly man who likes to try new things. So, we offered one option, and it really took off, ” Gray says. “We have several regulars who have had them all.” Selections thus far have included venison, wild boar, kangaroo, elk, antelope, alligator, camel, llama, rabbit, duck, emu and python. All have been served as a specialty burger — except the python, which was crafted up crab-cake style. There are, of course, also traditional burgers made from grass-fed beef, along with grass-fed lamb, and their “swine” burger made from pork and beef. A grilled, cage-free chicken breast is another classic choice. It is a meat lover’s menu based on the build-your-own-sandwich idea, complete with breads and buns made fresh daily by Sweet Olive Bakery at the Windmill Market and cheeses from Sweet Home Farm in Elberta, served with your pick of five house-made sauces and toppings such as jalapeños, bacon or a fried egg.
For non-meat eaters, there are salads, along with Gray’s veggie burger made from black beans and quinoa, and lots of tasty locally grown vegetables as sides. For dessert, try homemade pecan bread pudding, carrot cake, or one of two cheesecakes, a Nutella version or a traditional. Brunch is served on Saturdays. There is no alcohol, but they are happy for you to bring your own at no extra charge.
On the Menu
Shrimp, crab and oysters are stewed in a spicy cream- and butter-based broth, with a delightful, creeping heat, loaded with bits of local vegetables. The soup is served with warm wedges of herb focaccia for dipping.
Shrimp and Grits
The rich, rich cream-laden, delectably spiced sauce is brimming with mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onions and Conecuh sausage, topped with several shrimp cooked to tender perfection, dusted with asiago and Elberta cheese, and served over stone-ground grits from Fairhope Tire.
A savory, juicy lamb patty is stacked with melted rosemary Gouda cheese, a slathering of mint aioli, lettuce and tomato on locally made focaccia bread.
Classic flavor, with an airy-chiffon-like texture and a lick of lemon, comes glazed with local jam or marmalade, atop a crust of graham cracker and crushed B&B Baldwin County pecans.
Locals • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. M, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tu – Th, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. F / Sa. 410 Fairhope Ave. 517-9043.
text by Sallye Irvine • photo by Elise Poché