The story of Thyme is one of growth and evolution. It begins at a mom-and-pop cafe where chefs and owners Adrian and Rachel Yots put down roots, grew their own vegetables, worked side by side in the kitchen and quietly toiled away at making an exceptional restaurant. After attracting a loyal fanbase at their tiny dining room, Thyme by the Bay spread its wings and moved to a grownup space in Downtown Fairhope, now called Thyme on Section. With an expanded menu, increased seating, a full bar and au courant decor, Thyme on Section has a new vibe but the same roots in quality, seasonality, inventiveness and personal attention.
Before opening Thyme, the Yots worked at several top restaurants across the U.S. where they trained in modern gastronomy. Upon opening their own eatery, they combined that palate with homey local flavors to create a menu of avant garde Southern cuisine that is at the same time familiar and exciting. The new, larger kitchen at the Section Street location, which replaced the Bayfront location this October, has allowed the Yots to expand the menu. Adrian says he is excited to now offer a larger selection of small plates for folks to enjoy at the bar, which features a number of creative cocktails and a respectable list of wines. What was a simple charcuterie platter before now showcases an array of Southern cheeses and house-made pâtés, rillettes and pickles. Chef Yots makes his own house-cured bacon that reappears several times on the menu. The fish is always fresh, and the overall menu will change every three months to feature seasonal local produce.
The husband and wife team oversaw every aspect of the design of their new space, and it shows, right down to the tables that the chef crafted himself. The Yots even made many of the serving pieces — the Kentucky hanger steak and truffle fries are presented on a carving board made from reclaimed wood supplied by local customer Charles Phillips of the eponymous antiques business. Warm wood, trendy Edison light bulbs and exposed brick finish out the modern interior. The Yots designed the dining room around a large window to the kitchen, putting the chefs and their team on display as they work with their fresh, local ingredients. They keep it comfortable and delicious, so diners won’t be disappointed.
On the Menu
“Chef’s Choice” Charcuterie
A selection of cheeses, house-cured meats, pickled vegetables and seasonal compotes rotates monthly. A recent menu featured a persimmon Champagne compote over Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme and Asher Blue cheeses, as well as sumptuous blue crab toast.
Pureed cauliflower soup, rich but not heavy, is topped with toasted almonds, grapes and a pile of blue crab.
Fresh Gulf fish is served over a bed of salty prosciutto, warm melted leeks and roasted fingerling potatoes, topped with an almond garlic sauce and crispy sliced almonds and finished with arugula.
Kentucky hanger steak is seared, then sliced, and drizzled with a creamy, rich truffle sauce. Shoestring fries are served alongside, with truffle aioli for dipping.
Thyme on Section • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. W – Sa; 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Su.
33 N. Section St., Fairhope. 990-5635. Entree price average: $25
text by maggie lacey • photo by blair abraham