LIVE Lee - A Taste of Lee County - August 2022

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by Key Media, LLC.

Kendyl Hollingsworth is a Huntsville native and 2018 journalism graduate of Auburn University. She interned at The Observer in early 2018 before returning to north Alabama to work at two newspapers and a magazine. Following a brief hiatus to serve as a missionary, Kendyl has returned to The Observer and LIVE Lee to help tell the unique stories of people across Lee County.

Robert Noles, Photographer Robert Noles is an award-winning photojournalist who has been with The Observer for more than 10 years. Originally from Tallassee, he is a graduate of Alabama Christian College and Auburn University.

Bradley Jean Robertson

Hannah Lester, LIVE Lee Editor

Kendyl Hollingsworth, Staff Reporter

Natalie Salvatore Justin Trausch DESIGN / LAYOUT

PHOTOGRAPHY Kendyl BradleyHannahHollingsworthLesterRobertNolesJeanRobertsonJustinTrauschMikeWallace CONTACT US Key Media, LLC 223 S. 8th St., Opelika Phone: LIVELee is a publication

Wil Crews is an Auburn University 2020 journalism graduate originally from Prattville, Alabama. He works as The Observer’s sports editor and assists in developing the weekly paper and LIVE Lee Magazine.

Originally from Albertville, Alabama, Michelle Key and her family moved to the Opelika-Auburn area in 2011 after her husband’s retirement from the U.S. Navy. She is a graduate of Troy University, and she joined the Observer in 2014 as an office administrator before assuming ownership of the newspaper in January 2018.

Hannah Lester is an Auburn University 2019 journalism graduate who is originally from Birmingham. She started with The Observer in July 2020 and began as the Associate Editor for the LIVE Lee Magazine. She assigns, writes and edits pieces for the magazine, as well as helps to design the pages. She was named editor of LIVE Lee in July 2021. Wil Crews, The Observer Sports Editor

Woody Ross Rena Smith created


Abigail Murphy


Kara Mautz


Michelle Key, Publisher

Outside of our coffee shops, we spent some time at local restaurants, too: Foodies (a brand new spot!) and Next Level Cafe (already a crowd favorite). We were willing to drive, too, to show you some new places to check out. Our intern, Justin, drove to Phenix City to showcase the Chattahoochee Brewing Company.

When we choose businesses to highlight, it is often of places that are beloved in Lee County, perhaps new or even the secret hole-in-the-wall spots. This month, we featured Boonie Hat Coffee and Bitty and Beau’s. At the time of writing this letter, Bitty and Beau’s has not yet opened in downtown Auburn. But, it will soon, and in my opinion, it will be a beautiful addition to the already existing coffee scene.

Speaking of that thriving coffee scene, Boonie Hat Coffee in Opelika — which won the Business of the Quarter in early 2022 — has added a coffee cart on Southern Union’s campus and roasts fresh beans constantly. It’s a busy place. What I love the most about Boonie Hat (and some of the things I couldn’t express in my story, because it wasn’t a column) is my friendship with Owner Luis Saavedra and the owner of Market Street Paint Company (where Boonie is located), Jim Bryson. Luis and Jim make grabbing my coffee not just an errand, but something I look forward to. We joke about “Star Wars”, “Stranger Things”, Marvel and more. They are the heart of shopping local. If I could have featured all our local coffee shops (I’m looking at you, Ross House), I would have. But, I guess we need to save something for next year!

Have I spent enough time talking about coffee, yet?

P icture your summer evening. You’re sitting on your back porch, the sun is going down, the crickets are starting to chirp and you have this issue of LIVE Lee in your hand. We’ve been told before that people keep our magazines. At least, we hope that most don’t end up in the garbage. We hope that when we sit down and put pen to paper (or in this case, our laptops) and tell the stories of our local community, you enjoy them.

There’s so much more in this magazine — from flowers to dogs — that we hope you won’t just browse through and then throw it away. We hope these are the magazines you like to place on your coffee table and show off to your out-of-town guests. One of my favorite parts of my job is connecting with my local community, my neighbors. So, if you guys ever have questions, story ideas or just want to chat, reach out to me at hlester@opelikaobserver. com. And I hope you enjoy reading!

From The Editor

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8LIVELee Everybody Is Included

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY9 Auburn’s Newest, Inclusive Coffee Shop Story By Hannah Lester Photos Contributed By Bitty and Beau’s

“As we started thinking forward about our children’s futures, we were just astonished to learn that 80% of people with disabilities are unemployed in our country. And so, we wanted to be part of the solution.”

“When we opened our first shop, we started welcoming people from all over the country to see what was going on in this little coffee shop in Wilmington and realized very quickly that we had captured people’s attention and people started saying to us, ‘we need this in our town,’” Amy said. “‘Please bring this to our community.’”

Bitty and Beau’s Coffee employs more than 350 people with disabilities including Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy across all of their shops as well as a “typically-developing support staff”.

“The most rewarding part is just those ‘a-ha!’ moments when guests come in and see someone with Down syndrome or autism being really successful at their job and maybe they go back to their place of work and hire someone with a disability as well.”


When franchise owners are learning the process of opening a Bitty and Beau’s, Amy said that she and Ben are very involved with support.

Part of the benefit of franchising is teaching others how to bring this to their own communities, Amy said.

“Our kids’ names are on the sign,” she said. “So protecting the brand’s reputation and making sure that everything is done correctly, and with great success is our

“We can’t open enough coffee shops to absorb this unemployment epidemic that exists in our country but what we hope we do every time we open a new shop is create a portal for every guest to come into and see what’s possible so that they go back to their place of business and consider hiring someone with a disability,” Amy said.

Over the next five years, they opened two more in Wilmington and opened shops in Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia and Annapolis, Maryland.

“Franchising is a whole new world,” she said. “It’s a very highly regulated industry. So just learning how to teach, and operate within the parameters of a franchise agreement is a little bit different. Ben and I have personally vetted every family that we have selected to be franchisees and feel that it’s really important to identify people who get our mission and who are excited about that and align with us on many different levels.”

n the last six years, Bitty and Beau’s has grown from a singular coffee shop to a chain across the United States. And now, it is coming to Auburn.

Bitty and Beau’s first shop opened in 2016 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“[Bitty and Beau’s] employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Amy Wright, who started the coffee shop chain with her husband, Ben Wright. “The inspiration behind the coffee shops came from our two youngest children, Bitty & Beau, who have Down syndrome.

In 2021, Ben and Amy began franchising the business and now there are six franchises. Auburn will be the seventh franchise and the 13th shop in total.


“While they don’t work at the shop yet, they feel very proud of it and I think it’s very much a part of their identity,” she said.

For the employees that they do have, Amy said that she and Ben are mindful of other needs, outside of just employment, such as transportation, furthering their education and becoming independent.

“It just kind of comes with the territory,” Amy said. “We care deeply about our employees and it’s definitely more than a job. It’s a lot of support in the shop and in life.”

The Auburn franchise owners contacted Amy and Ben, Amy said, and expressed they wanted a Bitty and Beau’s in The Loveliest Village on the Plains. “We have worked with them from day one to help find a perfect spot, and find the perfect employees, and upfit the shop and be ready for this opening day that’s coming here soon,” she said. As of Aug. 1, Bitty and Beau’s has not opened. But the shop is planning a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on Aug. 20, Amy said. “It is so much more than a cup of coffee,” she said. “You will be warmly greeted when you walk in, we always say ‘welcome to Bitty and Beau’s.’’ There are lots of high fives. We have spontaneous dance parties and conga lines. There’s an interactive map feature in the shop where people can place a pin on the map and say where they come from. We’ve got delicious drinks and baked goods. But, I think, above all else, it’s the customer service, it’s our employees that will just make everybody’s day“It’sbrighter.avery positive, welcoming atmosphere. People love the customer experience. So, we’re looking forward to meeting everyone in Auburn and sharing that with them.”

LIVELee number one priority.” Speaking of their children, Beau just turned 18 and Bitty will be 13 soon.


“[When] we started the shop, it wasn’t so they could plug in and have a job right away,” she said. “It was to help create a community that valued people with disabilities so that someday, in the future, the opportunities would be there for them.

14LIVELee A Surprising Brew Story By Justin Trausch Photos By Justin Trausch and Contributed By Chattahoochee Brewing Company Chattahoochee Brewing Company Owner Derrell Winowich


Situated dead center between Phenix City and Columbus, the brewery has quite an advantageous setting. A disc golf course begins right next to the staging area, signs for white water rafting direct people nearby and the river walk is, essentially, right next to the building.Despite the excellent location of his brewery near the bank of the Chattahoochee River, there are other factors affecting Winowich’s business completely out of his control. One of the main culprits: history.

There can be 300 [people] out there without very much effort,” Winowich said. “There are typically not that many, usually 100 or less, depending on what the event is. For the barbecue competition, we probably have 1,000 people come through here that day.”

The Chattahoochee Brewing Company is a local brewery located on 13th Street in Phenix City, Alabama, right next to the Phenix City Riverwalk. Owner and proprietor Derrell Winowich opened his doors back in 2013 and has been brewing beer in his free time for almost 25 years.

“ Getting people to cross that bridge is more of a task than it would seem like,” Winowich said. “There ’s a

With 12 taps on hand at the Chattahoochee Brewing Company, Winowich will regularly brew three different styles of beer: a rye IPA, a hazy IPA and a blonde.

“ I started off on the kitchen stove like most people,” Winowich said. “ I guess people today are a lot more sophisticated.” He first discovered his love for brewing back in 1998 and started out with only about $350 in equipment. As time went on, and his love for craft beer got stronger, Winowich and his friends started a Home Brew Club on his back porch. He continually upgraded his equipment, technique and brewing processes until his friends finally convinced him to make it a full-time job.

“ I make sour beers, stouts, porters, a lot of different beers, but the go-to and the things I fall back to are really hoppy beers,” he said. “ It ’s the things that I like, so I tend to gravitate back to the ones that I like.” This brewery isn ’t just a one-trick pony, though. Right outside the front doors, across the parking lot, is a stage area with plenty of seating and a great view of the river. In the nine years since it has been open, the Chattahoochee Brewing Company has hosted everything from barbecue competitions to yearly crawfish festivals to concerts and food truck events. There ’s even been a wedding.“

T here are not many things in this world that bring people together quite like sharing a beer at a local bar, pub or brewery. Strangers become acquaintances, acquaintances become friends and, soon enough, the random guy you were arguing with about the greatest Atlanta Braves pitcher of all time is now a groomsman at your wedding. Alcohol works in mysterious ways.

“ It ’s small inside, there ’s not a lot of seating and we don ’t serve food, but we do have some great craft beer and a very friendly, Cheers-like atmosphere here,” Winowich said. If you ’ re up for the task, try crossing that bridge into Phenix City. It may just surprise you.

16LIVELee stigma attached to [Phenix City] that ’s been lingering for generations.”Rightacross the bridge in question is the bustling city of Columbus, Georgia. With a population almost six times larger than that of Phenix City, it ’s where most of the brewery ’s customers come from. Even still, crossing that bridge has a lot of history attached to it that most locals are aware of to this day. Going back to the 1940s and 50s, the mob was heavily ingrained into the fabric of Phenix City life. Gambling, corruption and prostitution were rampant back in those days, and the city was in a financial and moral stranglehold.

In 1954, Albert Patterson secured the Democratic nomination for Alabama attorney general on the platform of finally cleaning up the crime-ridden city. After he was assassinated shortly after, the state declared martial law and the complete overhaul of the community began, including the demolition of the original town square.

“ … I don ’t know what it ’s going to take for that to go away. It would have to be some sort of Renaissance or something.”Generations of negative publicity and public perception don’t change overnight, but Chattahoochee Brewing Company still brings people together to have a beer and watch a live band on a Friday night. Next time you ’ re in the Columbus-Phenix City area, make sure to check out the Chattahoochee Brewing Company and its best-selling beer, The NewsRyeter, a rye IPA. And if that doesn ’t persuade you, there is always live entertainment that ’s fun for all ages.

“ It seems ridiculous in this modern day and age that that would even be on anyone ’s mind, but it ’s not even just the older generation,” Winowich said. “There ’s a lot of young people that are still carrying that on through their family ’s history.

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18LIVELee Cooking Classic Cajun With Cha-Cha PhotosStory

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY19 Story By Natalie Salvatore Photos By Robert Noles

USA Cajun Station serves classic Cajunflavored seafood, chicken, fish and meat, but with Austin’s own personal twist. This business owner puts all she has into everything she cooks.

“I began baking homemade pastries, stirfrying vegetables and cooking up different fusions of varying ethnic foods,” she said. “Think pan-seared catfish filets with summer vegetables from my own garden, on handmade, fried, Indian Roti bread.” This garden, which she started at 11 years old, showed how her determination to become a chef and restaurant owner continued throughout her childhood.

USA Cajun Station is currently located in Smiths Station, since Austin felt this location could give her business future opportunities, but it was not smooth

20LIVELee C hef Charon Austin, known as Chef “Cha-Cha,” made her passion a reality through years of hard work and perseverance through life’s ups and downs.

Austin’s love for cooking started as a little girl, back when she began cooking in the kitchen as “Chef Cha-Cha” at a mere 6 years old. She said her grandmother first taught her how to make a traditional fried chicken meal in an iron skillet with the standard fixings of collard greens, biscuits, yams, mac and cheese and hot-water cornbread. Learning this sparked her interest to experiment with non-traditional “Southern Soul” recipes to think outside of the box as a budding chef.

“On the first trip to drop me off at the dorm room for the summer, my family went out to eat to get some local cuisine,” she said. “My grandmother, while eating Cajun-smothered catfish and rice, said, ‘This is the best food that I’ve ever tasted.’ She said it with so much zeal and contentment. Since then, I’d started working on my menu of Cajun cuisine for my first restaurant, while still in high school.”

“I turned that dream of opening a restaurant into fruition using the love for my grandmother, my heart, my soul and my passion,” she said.

Austin’s local restaurant in Smiths Station, which runs like a food truck exclusively on the weekends, all began from a childhood dream.

Although she enjoyed trying different takes on classic dishes growing up, the chef fell in love with traditional Cajun cuisine during the summer before her senior year of high school, back when she studied at Xavier University in New Orleans for a pre-medical summer program. Not only did she have a passion for the food, but she also enjoyed the flare, lore and mystery of this new city.

Looking back on this moment, Austin said she did not know how she would make her goal happen. Yet, sticking with her plan, she opened USA Cajun Station in Union Springs, Alabama, around 20 years later, in 2019. During the time beforehand, the chef earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as traveled the world to experience different cuisines in other places. She took the same passion for cooking with her and built on that as she gained experience.

“After months of saving, I had lost every dime of my investment in an instant on the highway,” she said. “I truly thought my dream was shattered. However, I kept on pushing, picked up the pieces and I kept going.” She only paused to share her story on social media before proceeding to open her restaurant’s doors that very next weekend in Smiths Station. Although the accident has set her back some, Austin refuses to let her dream, of purchasing another food truck someday,Anothervanish.obstacle she faced, just like everyone else, was managing her new business during the pandemic. She had to fight not only through fewer customers coming through her door but also through balancing schooling her young twins through a lockdown and spreading out her finances to pay“Mybills.biggest decision was to go back to work fulltime and eventually start on my Ph.D. again,” she said. “As a single parent, I needed guaranteed income outside of the restaurant.“Owning a restaurant is truly one of the hardest things to balance on my own, from completely financing everything myself, ordering and picking up inventory from places I could get the best deals, managing social media sites, creating my own flyers and advertising.”Afterpushing through this rough patch, Austin continued to operate her restaurant out of economically friendly spaces to keep her doors open. After applying to professional career positions, her determination brought her an opportunity in February, last year. Austin now works fulltime as an academic success counselor at Mercer University School of Medicine at Columbus during the week.“Iknew that things would work out and that I’d be able to run the restaurant on the weekends with Davion Mack, my front-end manager, and eventually go fully mobile to tour Southern cities and attend events in the future,” Austin said. Today, Austin continues to provide wholesome food to those in her community. With her busy schedule as a counselor and mother outside of the restaurant, Austin said that sometimes her weekend schedule fluctuates. If hours change due to her personal life, or if she is open on some closing weekends, she posts updates on social media to let her customers know. She also uses social media today to create digital content,

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY21 sailing relocating from Union Springs. Last August, on her way to pick up her brand-new food trailer from Nashville, Tennessee, she experienced a car accident. Austin said the trailer started to fishtail while she drove down an incline on the highway, with the trailer attached to her truck.

Fortunately, Austin crawled out of her truck’s windows and made it out with only a few scratches. Unfortunately, however, she, could not salvage her trailer after it flipped over itself when she tried to regain control.

22LIVELee where customers can see what is ahead for the business.

The chef also has resumed working on her very own cookbook.Withthe restaurant’s new developments, USA Cajun Station remains true to itself. Austin cooks in the kitchen, while Mack chats up front with customers to welcome everyone inside. Austin strives to correct any mistakes to ensure her customers have the best experiences, she said. She described her business as her third child because of the unconditional love she has for what she has established, despite any imperfections.

Her signature dish is the Shrimp and Snow Crab Boil, which Austin explained started during pop-up tent stands in Tuskegee, Alabama, as she saved up money and made deliveries before first opening her restaurant. Other dishes that customers love are the tender oxtail boils and skillets, as well as pork and chicken dishes that can be made into a boil with the full works, featuring items such as parmesan cheddar grits, alfredo pasta, eggs or potatoes.Withthe classic customer favorite dish, guests can choose from three top extrarestaurants,levels“WeStation,”partalwaysSeasonings.SpicyButterandarecombinations,butter/seasoningwhichTopShelfButterSeasonings,GarlicandOldBayandCajunButterand“SeafoodwillbeanintegralofUSACajunAustinsaid.don’tofferspiceasotherseafoodexceptspicy,butwe provide lots of flavor with various flavor combinations.”AsUSACajun Station runs like a food truck, Austin explained that the business may run out of items on occasion. To stay ahead of this, the restaurant has a new online ordering website customers can use, either during business hours or in advance of the upcoming weekend.

This new site,, can help the restaurant see what is or is not in stock. Guests can also call the restaurant at 334-721-6060 to place an order if they don’t order at the window.

USA Cajun Station is open on Saturdays from 2 to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. Austin said she gets excited for each weekend, watching her dream unfold into a real-life success story.

“I am proud of its growth and development over the years,” she said. “My business is more than just a childhood dream. It is the acknowledgment that having a black-owned and woman-led business is attainable.”

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24LIVELee Around the World in 80 Bites Foodies Provides a “Fresh” Take on Food in Auburn Story and Photos By Kendyl Hollingsworth Pictured left to right are Jeremy "Smokey" Brooks, Siryn Bradford and Stephen Bradford.

Jeremy “Smokey” Brooks, Foodies manager, plays a major role in making each order more than just a quick bite to eat. He preps ingredients, prepares pastries and even makes his own flavored croutons to ensure each meal is a unique experience.

The Bradfords saw a need for that in the AuburnOpelika area, so they decided to turn their dream into reality and establish a neighborhood hotspot for fresh, multicultural finds. They began the process “well over a year ago,” but things slowed down with the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the setback, the Bradfords were able to refine their vision, and they finally opened their doors in early June 2022. “We’ve had a good reception so far,” Stephen said. “Everyone that’s come in has said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m glad you’re here.’ ‘We have been waiting on you to open.’ ‘We really love your food.’ … They come back. The people that have eaten here have come back nearly every day since we’ve opened.”

“It’s usually a restaurant experience where they actually taste something that is just out-of-this-world good,” Brooks explained. “Whether it’s coffee, whether it’s Danishes, whether it’s sandwiches, whether it’s breakfast, whatever — we want every one of those to be one of thoseRachelmoments.”Hassett heard about Foodies from Siryn at Cosmic ConneXion, and after just one visit, she was hooked.“TheJolly Mon is my favorite,” she said.


I t’s just past 11 o’clock on a Thursday morning, and a couple of hungry customers pull up to the new plaza on Gatewood Drive. The two women laugh and converse as they approach the front entrance of Foodies, a first-of-its-kind bodega and eatery putting down roots in Auburn.

“We’ve always wanted to have something to do with offering food or something of that nature … and it kind of grew into this,” Stephen said.

The Bradfords are “foodies” in their own right; they’ve acquired a wealth of culinary knowledge thanks to their travels and exposure to ethnic foods, and while Foodies’ roots may be in Auburn, the owners and staff seek to celebrate the unique flavors and culinary styles of near and far — from Europe to Asia to right in our backyard.

The interaction has become a regular sight for owners Stephen and Siryn Bradford. While the two have found success in other local businesses like Da Gallery, Hippie St. and Cosmic ConneXion, they both described Foodies as “a longtime dream.”

The best-selling, Jimmy Buffett-inspired sandwich consists of smoked turkey, cherry wood ham, bacon, lettuce, Roma tomatoes, Foodies’ mayonnaise, cheddar and fresh mozzarella. It’s also a favorite of Stephen’s. The reason for the name?

“I thought I recognized you,” she tells one of them with a smile. The woman admits she is back for more, but this time, she’s brought a friend — a first-timer. After a moment of deliberation, they each order a sandwich and take a seat as the staff begins working on their meal.

“We very much like the whole urban cuisine scene of where the chefs are doing fusions and things like that, and we’ve been witnessing that,” Siryn explained. “It’s really not a new concept. It’s just finally grown, or blossomed.”

The door swings open to reveal a colorful interior; spices, coffees, teas and other treats line the walls behind a cluster of blue tables, but even more eye-catching are the swirly handmade fudges and assortment of cheeses next to the counter. The aroma of coffee and toasted bread wafts through the room as a rendition of “La Vie en Rose” plays softly through the speakers. As the sun beams through the front windows, so do the smiles on the faces of the kitchen staff. The young woman behind the counter greets the two customers with a sparkle of recognition in her eye.

“He’s so good at everything he does,” she said. No matter a customer’s preferences, Brooks said he is confident everyone can find something to enjoy at Foodies, and the staff isn’t against tweaking a coffee or a sandwich to the customer’s liking.

And having “something for everybody” has lent itself to a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising, Brooks said.“That’s from the little ones up to the extreme elderly,” he said. “You can find something here — something fresh, something amazing.”

“We’re definitely all about growing the local businesses,” Brooks said. “A lot of [consumers] are literally having to order [a unique product] and wait a couple weeks just to get it. Now they have a place where they can walk down the street and go pick up those spices, go pick up those oils and vinegars, gluten-free flour or whatever it is that they need.”

“That’s a New Orleans thing … so it’s a rarity to find it here, and it’s really good,” she said. “I just wanted a taste of home — a New Orleans muffuletta. This won’t be my last time. It may be my first, but it won’t be my last.”

“Everybody’s talking about those now, so we hope to make that a big thing here,” she said. Near the center of Foodies is an assortment of vinegar and oil fusions to try on tap, complete with some of Brooks’ homemade croutons to pair. Patrons can sample classic flavors like lemon, thyme or sundried tomato, or they can take a nontraditional route with options like the

“We’re Parrotheads,” Stephen said. “Completely. Fully.”“Everything’s named with inspiration and trivia behind it, and a story,” Siryn added. Hassett brought Alfreda Johnson to try Foodies, and as a New Orleans native, Johnson chose the “NOLA Pride” muffuletta.

Both Hassett and Johnson said they were glad to have a new lunch spot with tasty, fresh, handmade options, and Hassett went as far as to call Brooks a “sandwich master.”

Set up on a table near the back is an array of wooden charcuterie boards, each one a little different from the next.“We have a lot of specialties,” Siryn added. “Like, we just brought in some really unique fudge … and truffles and pastries. Jeremy’s doing a lot of the pastries. We have a local gentleman that does the charcuterie boards.”


Siryn said Foodies will offer custom orders for the charcuterie boards so customers can get exactly what they need for an occasion without the added stress of prepping and arranging one at home.

In addition to sandwiches and paninis, the menu includes a wide variety of coffees, teas, breakfast items, salads, snacks, sweets, children’s favorites and more. There are also dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options.Prefer to concoct your own creations? Foodies also provides plenty of locally made jams, sauces, relishes, popcorns, coffee grounds, tea blends and other goods to pick up and expand your horizons at home — all while supporting local and regional makers.


“We’ll be having some music in and some other events and stuff,” Stephen said. “We’re going to have wine tastings. We’re going to have beer tastings and pairing classes … that sort of thing to help people understand why they like what they like and why they want to try something new, so lots of good stuff. We’re trying to broaden people’s tastebuds.”

“It’s a way to get that flavor in without necessarily adding the large amount of extra pounds by large amounts of bacon,” Brooks said with a laugh. The list of flavors is growing, and Stephen noted that more 10-, 12- and 25-year casks are on the way as well.

Foodies is located at 1212 Gatewood Dr. Suite B1 in Auburn, in the plaza between Bruster’s Ice Cream and Spicer’s Music. It is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. For more information, visit Foodies in person or on Facebook, or call 334-209-1476.

28LIVELee dark chocolate balsamic vinegar or bacon olive oil.

Foodies has recently added catering to its repertoire. It also plans to offer craft beers and wines as soon as August, as well as events on the patio — more opportunities for guests to try something new.


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32LIVELee ELEVATION ... TO ThE NExT LEVEL Story By Natalie Salvatore, Wil Crews and Hannah Lester Photos By Mike Wallace and Contributed By Next Level


“Even when we’re home, we find new recipes and try new recipes. And so, that was one of the things we were kind of talking about, is we wanted to take Susie K’s and take it to another level, and take the food that is here and elevate something up.” So, Next Level Cafe was born. “Just a traditional, everyday food is kind of where our heart always is, anyway,” she said.

“… My favorite part definitely would have to be watching the customers truly enjoy what they have going on.”

34LIVELee If you haven’t stopped by Next Level Cafe yet, you’re missing out.

“Our whole thing was always wanting to be ourselves, what we want, what kind of inspires us,” Suzanne said.

“We knew we wanted to do more with Jim Bob’s, other than just what Jim Bob’s was, because there’s so many chicken-finger places,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with Jim Bob’s, our hearts were completely in it. But, it was one of a dozen. And in our hearts — we love to cook.

“We had talked about [opening Susie K’s] for years,” Suzanne said. “Having a restaurant was something that was just kind of on the back burner, and Susie K’s really started as a joke between my husband and a friend, who’s a personal trainer.”

“Taking the next step up is where Next Level comes from … so we want to take the food and kind of elevate it.”

Suzanne and Tim opened Susie K’s five years ago, in 2017, but are not originally from the area. Suzanne is from Luverne, Alabama, and Tim from Birmingham. The two have been together 12 years.

The owners of Susie K’s, Suzanne and Tim Lowery, opened their newest venture, Next Level Cafe, in March of 2022.

This friend needed someone who could meal prep for him, and Suzanne liked to cook. Thus, a partnership was born.“We started off by renovating our church kitchen and using it, but we kind of had this revelation of ‘why are we doing this when we could have a space and basically make money every day instead of once a week?’” Suzanne said. The last five years have been devoted to Susie K’s, but now the couple has branched into their second venture — Next Level Cafe. Next Level Cafe is located in the former Jim Bob’s restaurant in downtown Opelika at 1006 1st Ave.

“We had talked about it for a while [but] never kind of came to fruition,” she said. Jim Bob’s was available, and Suzanne and Tim were approached about buying it. So, they operated it as a Jim Bob’s for a couple of years.

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36LIVELee Crafting Something Good Story By Hannah Lester Photos By Robert Noles Luis Saavedra

Bryson, before ever opening Market Street Paint Shop, was a musician in a well-known band — Mercy Me. He played for 17 years, beginning in 1994. But the touring days didn’t last forever.

“I was in the band, retired from that, moved here and I had to figure out what I wanted to do,” Bryson said. “I looked at opening a recording studio, looked at opening a photography studio and just realized with the market, that wasn’t what Jim Bryson


Awoman walks in holding her bag, striding toward the counter. She appears to be in a hurry. She says hi to Jim Bryson, owner of Market Street Paint Company and makes her way to Luis Saavedra, owner of Boonie Hat Coffee. She’s chatting to both men, already talking about work and life when Saavedra starts making her coffee. She didn’t give him her order and he didn’t ask. He alreadyBoonieknew.Hat Coffee Company and Market Street Paint Shop are located in the same business at 116 S. 8th St., in Opelika.Theyshare a building and the owners share a friendship. Which came first, the furniture or the coffee?

But COVID was the end of that small business.

“I’m not in a drag race to see if I can get ahead of other coffee shops or any other small businesses in the area, and whenever it’s possible I try to highlight other local businesses, including other local coffee shops,” he said. “If I think you do something well, I’m going to talk about it.

“That’s where I really saw the need for, and the value of, good coffee,” he said. “Sometimes people in the armed services are asked to work in places that are very, just off the beaten path. It’s tough, working long hours and not having access to running water for days at a time. And something as simple as a cup of coffee can just help you to keep going and remind you, it gives you an attachment to the world that you came from, and that life isn’t that bad and things are going to get better. So, I began playing with the idea of coffee that can give people hope.”

Bryson had to transition from life as a musician to life as a business owner.

When Bryson’s job ended with Beasley, he made a choice to go into business with a couple who were opening an antique shop. They hired Saavedra to run a coffee shop in the store and his wife, Sharon, to do interior decorating.

“I found I have a fairly good gift for connecting with people and talking, and I don’t ever want to be a salesman. If I don’t believe in the product, I’d never sell it. And so getting a product like [Annie Sloan] made the transition easy because I believed in it. And if I believe in something, Luis always jokes I can sell ice to an eskimo.”

“I had to find another place, so I found this [the Market Street Paint Shop building],” Bryson said. “At this point, Luis had a commercial roaster and all that, but he didn’t have anyone to supply, so I told him, ‘Man, why don’t you put in a coffee shop here, because my vision for the store is kind of a plethora of things, so to speak.’” Market Street Paint Shop and Boonie Hat Coffee Company were born. Saavedra and Bryson also took on another partner, Aspen Staeck, who does interior decorating: “Just The Right Touch Decorating”. They opened in 2020 but the businesses are constantly growing.

38LIVELee I wanted to invest and jump into, so I was making custom furniture pieces … and was going to be selling those in New Leaf Galleries, a furniture consignment store, and became friends with the owner, Kevin Beasley.”

There are now “sip and stroke” classes in Market Street, named “Visions of Color Paint and Pour”, and Boonie Hat has expanded to include a coffee cart on Southern Union’s campus.

“It’s about the things that matter most:” The name, Boonie Hat Coffee Company, just like the drink itself, references Saavedra’s service life.

It was during this time, roughly in 2015, that Bryson became familiar with Annie Sloan chalk paint — the staple product of Market Street Paint Shop. Bryson met Saavedra’s wife, Sharon, who was working as an interior designer, while he worked for Beasley.

After service, Saavedra had to transition from that of active-duty soldier to civilian and veteran.

“It took me about ten years to really figure out, what did I want to do with my life now that I’ve professionally accomplished what I wanted to?” he said. “So, for me, coffee was that lifeline. It was something that I could take the attention to detail from the military and let it work for me instead of against me.”

Anyone who’s spent any time in Auburn or Opelika knows that there are a lot of places to grab a cup of coffee. But Saavedra isn’t threatened by that.

“It’s the first wedding present that everybody throws out, but if it’s the right kind, it can be made to roast coffee. That’s where I started, then friends and family started asking for it, then people started suggesting, ‘What if you were to have your own roastery? What if you had your own coffee shop?” Where did Saavedra get this love for coffee, so much so that he would make it at home? While serving in the military. But, he started with an art degree. “If I hadn’t gone to art school, this wouldn’t have even been a possibility,” Saavedra said. He majored in painting and studio art with graphic design mixed in. But, sandwiched in between art school and his military service was work as a missionary. When he served in the Army, Saavedra was stationed in areas where it was hard to get a good cup of joe.

“She would come up when we would do VIP nights and Christmas parties, and this little yahoo [Saavedra] would show up, go, ‘Hey, I’ve got some coffee. I brought coffee and some Mexican vanilla creamer.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, OK.’ “So, I instantly took a liking to Luis — one, because he’s super approachable. But, [Saavedra] being a veteran, I’m a huge supporter of our armed forces, both active [duty] and veterans. And I tried his coffee, and I was like, ‘What in the world? Are you kidding me? This is really good.’ And then I tried his creamer, and I was like, ‘What, are you kidding me? This is really good, again.’ So, I was always impressed with hisThecoffee.”thing was, Saavedra was only making the coffee at home in a popcorn popper. “My wife made me watch a video on YouTube of how to roast your own coffee using an air popcorn popper,” he said.

Speaking of products you believe in, Saavedra’s coffee is diverse. Want a Jack Sparrow-inspired latte? He’s got it. Star Wars? Got it. Winnie-the-Pooh? Got it. Customers can ask him to experiment with flavors, or keep it simple with his original Mexican Vanilla Creamer.

“The Boonie hat is a military working hat,” Saavedra said. “It’s not a hat for marching in parades. It’s a hat for when there’s work to be done or if you’re doing something where you don’t need to be seen. So, the Boonie hat, to me, represents [that] this is the people that make our way of life possible, but they’re so effective at their jobs that we forget that they’re there until we need them.”


“… Everybody has their own niche and they have a clientele that we don’t have. Sometimes, it’s [that] their hours are better for a younger demographic, and everyone has their own people. What I’ve seen is, when the coffee shop opened a couple of doors down, our sales went up.”

Saavedra said that he is grateful for the support, both from the community and from Bryson.


Having been in this location for over a year, Saavedra has his loyal customers, too.

“It’s one thing to say that you support veterans, it’s another thing that you sign up for when you decide to give a veteran a job,” he said. “And Jim did that without hesitation. He may not have known completely what he was signing up for.”

“That somebody would be willing to give me a job and they’re willing to come to downtown while everything else is closed and come and buy coffee from me ... to me, I want to learn as much about their life’s story as I can, because these are people that are employing a veteran and they’re shopping local; they’re supporting small businesses,” he said. But outside of all that, Saavedra said the most

important thing in his life is not his coffee, but his wife and his child.

“‘This won’t last forever, and the pallbearers at my funeral are not going to say, ‘Well, Luis should have spent more time at the office,’” Saavedra said he tells his son. “‘Son, the family. This is what’s going to last forever.’”


The two business owners are able to support each other. Bryson is in the shop every day — but if he can’t be, Saavedra steps in to help. And vice versa.“We all have felt the burden for each other and we’ve seen the blessing of us opening businesses, seen the good times and the bad,” Bryson said. “Like when he won ‘Small Business of the Quarter’ [from the Opelika Chamber of Commerce], I was like ‘Yeah!’ I mean, he should win small business of the decade because it’s the world’s best coffee. It’s a no-brainer.

“So, we’re there supporting each other and helping. Every time when he’s down, I’m like, ‘Dude, hang in there.’ And it’s the same thing. I’m like, ‘I can’t do anymore.’ And he’ll be the encouragement. And that’s the nice thing.”

42LIVELee Ballard Pest Management was founded in 2020 and has a team with more than 30 years of“OurFamilyProtectingYourFamily.” 223 S. 8TH STREET, OPELIKA



44LIVELee Who Let The Dogs Out? Good Dog Park Did! Story By Kara Mautz Photos Contributed By Good Dog

Martin said that she first heard about the dog park through her doggy daycare, The Pawms Pet Resort of Auburn.“Wewere so happy when this option opened up in Auburn,” Martin said, “My favorite part of going to Good Dog is seeing how excited my dog gets when we get to the gates and how all the dogs come and greet her.”

If you’re looking for something to fill your days, consider venturing over to Good Dog Park & Bar, located right in the heart of Auburn.

“I loved getting to see my dog Matilda finally get in the doggie swimming pools,” McCall said. “Now, it’s the first place she runs to, and she loves the pools. It is especially nice during these summer months.”

Good Dog is affiliated and shares a facility with The Pawms Pet Resort, which offers classic services such as daycare and grooming, but there’s a twist; this dog park also offers a bar for pet owners to enjoy.

“Good Dog has 16,000 square feet of turf and onethird of the park is shaded, so your dog can hang out in a cooler atmosphere,” Carmichael said. “Good Dog Park is more fun than the typical park because of the music and beverages offered, which is something that the other dog parks in the area don’t offer.”

“It’s also sad, but also super cute when we tell our pup it is time to go, but she’s not ready to leave yet,” Martin said. “Just seeing her play and make doggy friends is a fun part for us.”

McCall said that what truly separates Good Dog from the other dog parks in the area is the safety precautions and level of detail incorporated into the park.

“They always have lots of drink specials for owners, called ‘Yappy Hours,’” Martin said. “My husband and I like taking our pup because she’s an ‘only dog’ and she gets to let out some energy with her peers. It also just gives us some time to spend out together as a little family.”Good Dog is owned and operated by Clint Carmichael, Jeff Hardwick, Andy Sentenn and Bobby Morgan, and offers a location in Birmingham, as well as the newest location here in Auburn.

And it seems the members of the Auburn community agree that the dog park has been a unique addition to the area.


“The Auburn community has been great,” Carmichael said. “In just three months, we have over 60 members and many nonmembers who frequent the park. We’ve seen dog and human friendships come together and create a strong community around dogs.”

Carmichael said that the inspiration for starting Good Dog was to provide a safer environment for dogs to play, while allowing pet owners to feel confident and safe letting their dogs free in the park.

“Often other dog parks can be unsafe because there is no proof of vaccination, and there can be aggressive dogs at the park who should really not be there,” Carmichael said, “Good Dog reduces this risk by requiring proof of vaccination prior to entry, and we have dog-trained ‘Bark Rangers’ who will ask aggressive dogs to leave.”

McCall said that the park is a great place to lounge and relax after work, watching her dog with a cold drink in hand from the bar.

In fact, the park is free if you do not have a dog and offers a fun experience for all members of the AuburnOpelikaJennifercommunity.Martin,a local member of the Lee County community, said that the bar is part of what initially drew her to visit Good Dog.

“It honestly feels like they care about my dog and are watching out for her,” McCall said. “The staff is always watching and maintaining the whole place, and they remember her name every time we go in, too.”

Carmichael said that another issue he noticed in other dog parks is the lack of shade and muddy fields due to the natural elements, which inspired him to address these challenges when creating Good Dog.

I t’s officially summertime in Auburn, bringing warm weather and long days filled with sunshine and relaxation.

Martin said the hardest part is tearing her dog away from all the other pets when it’s time to go.

Carmichael said that while the park opened its first location in Birmingham, it was always a dream of the owners to open a location here in The Loveliest Village on The “AuburnPlains.isan incredible town with many dog owners, so we wanted to bring a fun park atmosphere to such a dog-forward town,” Carmichael said, “We also just love Auburn. Several members of our team attended Auburn University, and one of the co-owners of Good Dog, Andy Sentenn, who manages the Pawms Pet Resort, has been wanting to move his family back to Auburn for a long time.”Carmichael said that the strong veterinary community and animal knowledge in Auburn has also been a huge help since opening the Auburn location of Good Dog. He said that the community has been very warm and welcoming since the park opened this past spring.

Emilie McCall, another resident of Lee County, said that she has also frequented the dog park since its recent grand opening.

Jo Kim, another Lee County resident, said that his favorite part of the park is the level of commitment and

“I saw an article about how the park was coming to the Auburn area and I quickly followed them on Instagram and Facebook,” McCall said. “I was waiting for them to open a location closer to us. We have an 80-pound black lab, and we needed a safe place for her to get her energy out.”McCall said that her favorite memory from the dog park has been watching her dog play in the swimming pools located in the park.

Carmichael said that the park is the perfect addition to the area because it offers a unique experience that was previously lacking in the “Auburn-Opelikacommunity.isafun area, but it needed more exciting and unique activities, especially during the daytime,” he said. “Good Dog Park is the perfect answer of vibeactivityentrywebsite.“guestisthereeitherpurchaseyourduringmembershipappealssince“Thewhichbringsaboundingitdays.

“My dog got to play with other dogs and run around while I could go get drinks at the bar,” Kim said. “It was also super clean compared to the other dog parks in the area.”

Kim said that what initially drew him to the park were the amenities and opportunities that are offered exclusively at Good Dog Park & Bar. But that’s not all.

46LIVELee detail incorporated into the park by the owners and employees.

Carmichael said that the owners have big plans to add even more to the park during this upcoming fall and football“ season we will be adding a music stage, so people can tailgate and watch the game with their four-legged friends,” Carmichael said. “We cannot wait.”

If entering the park with a dog or pet, there are two options available: Guests can either purchase a day pass at the location or purchase a membership to the park.

It looks like the Auburn Spirit is certainly abounding in Good Dog Bar & Park, making it the perfect place to spend your summer days.

Currently, there are two options offered for entry to the park, per the official Good Dog website.Ifentering without a dog, entry is free but a “guest entry form” must be completed, which is located on the website.

“Purchasing a membership gives you and your pup unlimited access to Good Dog during hours, discounts and numerous other membership perks,” per the official website.

“The best part about Good Dog is that it appeals to all backgrounds and age groups since everyone loves dogs,” Carmichael said. “The age and demographics are diverse, which creates a fun community spirit that brings Auburn together.”

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY47 activity and leisure, with a dog-friendly park vibe and a bar as well.”

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Fagel recalled hosting Terry and Melissa, a Lucy-andDesi-style comedic couple better known by their stage name Daddazz and Melissa, to a packed house in March 2020. It was the last show they hosted before closing their doors due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. But it was far from over for the new comedy hotspot; Crown of Comedy reopened about three months later in June and has been growing in popularity everFagelsince.attributes part of that success to a partnership with

Laughter to Lee County and Beyond

Photos By Kendyl Hollingsworth and

People say laughter is the best medicine, but for Fagel O’Neal El, it’s more than that. It’s the “cleanliness for the Fagelsoul.”andher husband, Chris O’Neal, own and operate Crown of Comedy, Auburn’s premier comedy club offering the only designated space for laughter in a 100-mile radius.“My husband and I used to travel around to go to comedy shows because I love comedy, and once we became empty nesters, we realized that we could open up something here,” Fagel said. “… We did the research and found that there’s not much competition within 100 or so miles, so we said that’d be the perfect thing for an adult venue.”


Story By Kendyl Hollingsworth

The couple purchased and overhauled a space in the Tiger Crossing Shopping Center on South College Street and opened their doors in November 2019. With sons Maltiece and Tyus O’Neal El joining as board members, the business became a “family affair,” according to Fagel. Her brothers also gave their time and effort to help make the comedy club a reality. From there, the family worked to promote the venue, build a strong staff and bring comedians to the stage.

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY51 Kings and Queens of Comedy Crown of Comedy Brings

For Bleu, it’s always a joy to watch as visiting entertainers step into the venue for the first time. “We walk in that door, and they’re like ... ‘This is huge. I was not expecting this from the outside,’” Bleu said. “And then it’s packed with people.”

Crown of Comedy offers an extensive selection of strong drinks and indulgent appetizers. A few favorites are the chicken wings, Philly cheesesteak eggrolls and battered mozzarella sticks.“This kitchen stays open until we close, so right up until it’s time to go, if you need to order some hot wings and a cheesy bacon fry to go, you can do it,” Bleu said.

While comedy and drag shows are staples at Crown of Comedy, bartender Jsanai Wheeler said the size of the venue lends itself to an even wider variety of events. “I like the fact that it’s large, which kind of helps us be able to do a multitude of things because there’s space for everything,” she said.

Wheeler started as a server at the comedy club about two years ago and has seen firsthand the expansion of shows and events that the venue offers. While Crown of Comedy has hosted several large private events, the public has also flocked to other unique shows, including a Micro Wrestling tournament held this year in March.

“We had the ringside seats and everything, and people just had a great time,” Fagel recalled. Crown of Comedy is looking to host another tournament this fall. In the meantime, guests can enjoy the free open-mic nights — a regular favorite among guests and up-and-coming comedians — and Fagel said karaoke nights will start back up soon “with a new twist.” More Latin events are also in the works.“It’s just been really good,” Fagel said of the journey so far.

Crown of Comedy touts a long list of popular performers, including Eddie Griffin, Bill Bellamy and Dusty Slay, among others. The club has also hosted entertainers from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and Nick Cannon’s improv and sketch comedy show “Wild ‘N Out”. In addition to the high stage and unobstructed views, both Bleu and Fagel also said the overall vibe of Crown of Comedy is a highlight for guests, whether they’re attending comedy or drag“That’ big comment that I get from most of our guests,” Fagel said. “They love the atmosphere, and they feel comfortable here. It’s spacious enough that if it is a lot of people, you’re not on top of each other.” “We can do social distancing well,” Bleu added with a laugh. Guests can also enjoy food and beverages during the show.

52LIVELee Colana Bleu, who organizes and produces drag shows at the venue.“Iguess you could say I’m the show director for the drag shows,” Bleu said. “I organize every drag show that we have here, whether it’s just like a regular drag night or if it’s a Priderelated activity.”

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY53 “We’ve had some really good guests that frequent our space that are like family, and they have just been very supportive of us, and we appreciate them from the bottom of our heart.

“We’ve had many different types of events, and we’re just looking to enhance and grow on that and hopefully continue to bring things that the community would like to come out and experience.”CrownofComedy is located in Auburn at 1655 S. College St. next to CSL Plasma. The club is open weekly with hours varying based on events. For more information, including showtimes, visit crownofcomedy. com or follow on Facebook and Instagram @crownofcomedy.

From Toomer’s Corner To The Red Carpet Story By Hannah Lester Photos Contributed By Matt Lintz

LIVELee A uburn is home to superheroes. Or, well, at least it’s home to their best friends.Auburn resident and former Auburn University student Matt Lintz recently made headlines for his role in Marvel’s new show, “Ms. Marvel”, as Bruno Carrelli.

“It was my first movie role and I had no idea what it was,” he said. “I just knew I had a scene with a big scaryOtherguy.”roles of Lintz’s? “The Walking Dead”, “The Alienist” and “Pixels”.

“My parents and I sat down and decided that it was a good time for me to really evaluate what direction I wanted to head in life and whether it might not be acting,” he said. “The only way to find out was to take an extended leave, which I did for a full year. It was

“I had the Tobey Maguire ‘Spiderman’ trilogy on a loop when I was a kid, and I’ve seen every movie they’ve ever made,” he said. “… I came close [to being in a Marvel movie] when I was 14, but it did not pan out. I’m so glad the opportunity presented itself a second time.”

Lintz has been acting since he was 4 years old, and it’s definitely a family activity. His mother was an actress, both of his sisters act and so does his younger brother.“It’sbeen great because it’s a unique way of life, and it really helped to have the entire family involved because there was a level of understanding that proved helpful,” he said. “We were able to be there for each other to not just cheer one another on, but as a support system during some all-is-lost moments.

“Ms. Marvel” is also not the first Marvel movie or show that Lintz had hoped to be a part of. He was up for the Spiderman role.

Lintz first began acting with a role in “Halloween II” when he was 6 years old.


“My sister, Mackenzie, actually did attend Auburn for her freshman and sophomore year because it was an even bigger dream for her than it was for me. But she was simultaneously filming a show called ‘Under the Dome’ at the time and also had to leave. We are hoping our youngest brother Macsen is the one to finally become an Auburn graduate and carry on the legacy.”

Lintz’s time at Auburn was during his first big break from acting. He had finished his role on “The Walking Dead” and under the advice of his parents, took a breather to think.

“I grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, with my mom, dad and three siblings,” Lintz said. “My dad is an AU grad, and a Plainsman, so we were all born with orange and blue blood. I attended AU during the fall of 2020 right in the heart of the pandemic, but two months in, I landed the role of a lifetime, and while being an Auburn student has always been a dream of mine, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Ironically, I still live in Auburn.”

58Lee during this time I decided to attend college as well. ‘Ms. Marvel’ was the first audition I had after I determined that I wanted to come back. It was a lightning-bolt moment in more than one way.” Does Lintz have a dream role? Absolutely. He said he’d love to play Marty McFly in a “Back to the Future” remake. But right now, he’s just taking life one step at a time. The filming process for “Ms. Marvel” was “extensive.”“Werehearsed for a month before we ever shot a frame,” he said. “And while usually a one-hour show takes eight days to film, it took us almost a year to shoot six episodes. Marvel takes their time and gets it right.” Despite having grown up in Georgia, Lintz enjoys living in Auburn. “I love it here,” he said. “It felt like family almost immediately. The students here welcomed me before I landed this job and didn’t treat me much differently when I did. There’s a comfort level there that feels like home.”



George’s soon-to-be published children’s book is titled “Monkey Tales: An Adventure in O Town.” It all started when she was looking at a map of Opelika and thought back to stories like “The Goonies”. She likened the map of Opelika to a treasure map, and her imagination got to work from there.

Story By Abigail Murphy

The book takes readers on a tour of different places around Opelika with the story centering on three monkeys, Fran, Star and Sam, and the boy who set the monkeys loose — Windel. The story begins in Monkey Park, and once the monkeys get loose, they make their way to Courthouse Square. George said the monkeys had been hearing about the ice cream being served at Courthouse Square, and that’s why the Courthouse is where they want to go first. This scene calls back to one of O Town’s flavors, Courthouse Coffee Crunch, which also alludes to O Town’s early days when they would sell ice cream at the farmer’s market at the Courthouse. As the monkeys and Windel make their way to the Courthouse, they pass by other landmarks such as Northside School, Smith T’s Hardware and The Museum of East Alabama. The monkeys also go to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, which George said holds a special significance to her.

Illustrations By Madison Brooks / Owned By Angela George

t only took four hours. At least to write it down. It was already in her head and all she had to do was put pen to paper. So, Angela George, owner of O Town Ice Cream, went up to Lake Martin, found herself a place to sit and started to write. That was the easy part, she said.



Monkeying Around

Photos By Hannah Lester and Contributed By Angela George

“When you’re a kid, you are looking for adventure,” George said. “That was the inspiration for me writing this book was to bring children an adventure.”


“I had an incredible mother who blew out holidays, overexaggerated all of them,” George said. “My mother made Halloween this beautiful, magical everywhere.spiderspumpkins,trick-or-treat-andcats,andandcreaturesIthinkofall of my collective memories, as an adult, from being a kid just came together to write thisThebook.”monkeys wind up in a maple tree at St. Mary’s, which alludes to the ice cream flavor George named after her mother — Manda’s Maple.However, this isn’t the

Her mother attended St. Mary’s before passing away unexpectedly in 2012 and George, herself, was also confirmed there. George said she felt growing up around her mom’s imagination rubbed off on her, especially while writing this book.


The flavors not only gave inspiration to the places the monkeys visit but also some of the characters they meet along the way. During their adventure, they meet a big swamp turtle, which is one of the shop’s flavors, and two cats that are named after the pumpkin-flavored ice cream. The monkeys also meet some honeybees, which allude to the flavor, Beeman’s Blueberry Cheesecake.

“I think a lot of moms, as they watch their children grow up, this idea of ‘Well, I’d like to write a children’s book one day,’ [comes about],” she said. George noted her children have also been a big help with the ice cream business, and they don’t even have a flavor named after them. Maybe this is a way to make it up to them a little, she said. However, the ice cream business encouraged George beyond that as well.

64LIVELee only place family ties in. George dedicated the book to her children, Sophia Francesca, Stella Lucia and Samuel, who also happen to have the monkeys named after them. Her children partly inspired her to write a children’s book, but it was also her way of thanking them for being her “greatest adventure.”

The incorporation of O Town’s ice cream flavors was not by accident. Once the book is published in late summer/early fall of this year, George said she hopes to read it during the store’s Storytime event. O Town has been doing Storytime each Tuesday during the summer as part of regular business practice for several yearsGeorgenow.said she wanted the ice cream shop to host these kinds of events because growing up, her mother took her to story time at their local library and it was such an important part of her childhood. Originally, the launch party for “Monkey Tales: An Adventure in O Town” was supposed to happen at the first Storytime event for 2020.

“That was the plan 2020 that spring, when school ended, we were going to start off the Storytime as ‘An Adventure in O Town.’ Then everything just fell apart and we didn’t even know if we were still going to be open after all of that,” George said, thinking back to the start of the pandemic. “There was this initial panic of ‘This is never gonna happen’ to ‘No, this is God’s timing of when this will happen.’”

One day, a young woman walked into O Town. She had recently finished her engineering degree and was still in town as her husband was working through his medical degree. She came into the shop and left an illustration for George “as like a little gift.” George got in contact with her, and Madison Brooks became George’s illustrator. Brooks said she had been trying to grow her illustration work at the time, and she knew a little about George from a mutual friend.

After all this time, George is now at the point where, after having received a proof copy and making the final edits, the book can go to the press. As her work for this first book is coming to a close, George couldn’t help but think back to her fifth-grade year, when an author came to visit their school as a guest speaker.

One day Emily Littleton, a graphic designer, came into O Town and told George she wanted to be a part of this work. From there, George and Brooks were able to begin the layout process with Littleton’s help.

In the elementary school gym, the author was going through some slides on her old-school projector. Then one slide appeared that was a picture of the author swinging on a large maple tree. George said the author then told them, “Here’s the day I finished my book. This is the day that I finally finished it, and it is how I felt. I felt free and childlike again.”

“Once I read the draft, I knew I wasn’t going back,” Brooks said. “I love the balance the story has. It holds a lot of deeper meaning and heart, yet it keeps a lighthearted nature — an uplifting story of adventure.”

As part of the preparation process, Brooks and George took a tour around Opelika following the same path the monkeys do in the story. They looked around the sites, finding different viewpoints and taking pictures for reference. Brooks said they spent hours at her kitchen table sketching out different illustrations. Brooks noted what made this process even more enjoyable is they found they have a lot of things in common, and she believes this book is going to bring something positive to the community.

“I sent so many art files to Emily, so many I started to question how they’re all going to work together,” Brooks said. “And then she thought about totally different details than I did, and sure enough, it turned into one cohesive book.”

And George said she couldn’t agree more.

While George’s writing of the book only took four hours, it still took some time to assemble the book from there, even without the setback of the pandemic.

For one, she needed an illustrator. Luckily, George noted, with owning an ice cream shop you meet all kinds of people. The process:

“[George] did not set about making this book a reality for the looks of it or the money, but genuinely to honor the stories of local children and to give back to a community that has given her, and me too, so much life,” Brooks said. “She counts every child and every family that has stepped foot in her ice cream shop as her own family, and she loves them like her family, too.”With Brooks on her team, George still wasn’t quite done with the publishing process. They had to figure out how they were going to put the pieces together.

After her and George’s initial meeting, they met for ice cream to discuss George’s book further.

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Story and Photo

A Stray Visitor

One of the best things about living in AlabamaEastis the endless list of outdoor activities, and just when I think I have been everywhere in this area, I prove myself wrong. When I first pulled up at Lakewood Park in Phenix City, I thought nothing fancy or special of it. But in my genuine curiosity and interest, I began to wander down the shaded old path toward the sound of rushing water. And within seconds it hit me, we are Alabama the Beautiful, and no matter which way we turn, there is always something spectacular around theLakewoodcorner. Park is an older park, nestled in the middle of towering, thick trees and surrounded by a quiet neighborhood with singing birds. The park holds two separate lakes connected by two luscious waterfalls. A larger dam at the top appeared to be circa 1960s, and though the dam at the bottom was much smaller, the water that poured over made the perfect play spot for children. It was as if I had stepped into the deep mountains of the Smokies, and I was literally five minutes from Highway 280. Have you ever heard the line, “There is no other place, quite like this place.”? No clue of its origin, but the words rolled right out of my mouth. As I walked further along, spying the waterfall through the trees and branches, I saw a great blue heron. I took a deep breath of joy as I spied his head and broad — the heron is the most beautiful and majestic of birds. I couldn’t believe it. I gasped and hoped he wouldn’t fly away before I could get a good look at him. I followed his lead as he stood ever-sostill on a large rock at the base of the waterfall. He appeared old and worn as the long grey feathers on his breast blew in the air with the force of rushing water. He was very tall, taller than most herons I see. He did not move off his rock the entire 15 minutes I stared at him. He was perched on his own water oasis, surrounded by large rocks and water splashing all around him. He was staring greatly into the falls, perhaps hoping for a fish to catch for dinner. I calmly walked all around the dirt path. Not wanting to frighten him, I wanted to take in each angle of his home, to see what the stillness of his life had to offer.Itis amazing what is just beyond our everyday vantage point. We work and we hustle, traffic lights, and people and schedules. But in a few small moments, we can forget all the extra and stand right in the middle of peace and perfection.Ieventually let the great heron be, for this was his home, and I was a stray visitor. I walked the path back toward the front entrance and found an old gazebo resting at the base of the smaller lake. I journeyed toward the trees and thick greenery and I found waterfall number two. Its dam was narrower, and less water rushed down, yet, the waterfall itself was longer and at the base of the falls, the water was shallow, filled with small islands and rocks and trees. A perfect playground, under vast shade, for children of all sizes. It felt like being inside a distant rainforest. It was a great spot for snacks, and picnics, and little feet and hands to get wet and be curious. It had a delightful charm and made me feel as though I had traveled for days to get to this special place. This park is the perfect spot to take busy and active children. There are tables to snack at and benches to relax, accommodating bathrooms and plenty of shade, even for the hottest of days. There are two little playgrounds among shade trees, and the great location makes it an easy outing for anyone in East Alabama. My hope is we don’t forget the simplicity and beauty of our great state. Decide one day soon to take a path less traveled, step away from the modern and find majesty in the great outdoors. By Bradley Jean Robertson

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Where Flowers Bloom Photos By Hannah Lester

Circles of Colors offers “you-pick” flowers in our area. You can find them at 7887 AL HWY 199 on the weekends: Email or call 334-740-2230

20 Samford Avenue, 334-742-8011Opelika Price sell Walker Mowers, Grasshopper Mowers, Toro Zero Turns, Toro Pushmowers, Echo Professional Equipment, and Shindaiwa Products. We also have parts for Briggs & Stratton Engines, Kohler Engines, MTD, AYP, Snapper, Grasshopper, Walker, Toro, Redmax, Echo, Shindaiwai and etc. Small Engines Servicing Dealer. We sell and service lawn mowers and two-cycle equipment. Need Small Engine parts? Give us a call! out front mowing

2022 LEE COuNTy REsTAuRANT GuIdE Photo Contributed By Next Level Cafe

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY81 99 Bao 1100 S. College St., Auburn 167°F Korean BBQ 1660 S. College St., Auburn 334.209.2538 https://www.facebook. com/167KBBQ/ Acapulco’s Mexican Grill 1409 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.9197 com/acapulcos-mexicangrill/www.places.singleplatform. menu?ref=google#menu_886268 Acre 210 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.246.3763 Agave Loco 1032 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.0150 All I Do Is BBQ 1625 E. University Dr. #116, Auburn 334.209.0900 Amsterdam Café 410 S. Gay St., Auburn 334.826.8181 Another Broken Egg 2311 Bent Creek Road Suite 200, Auburn 334.521.4010 location/ Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill 1627-34 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.887.7747 Ariccia Cucina Italiana 241 S. College St., Auburn 334.844.5140 Arigato Sushi Boutique 140 N. College St., Auburn 334.887.3915 Auburn Draft House 165 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.521.2739 Auburn Nutrition 715 E. Glenn Ave., Ste 201 Auburn 334.734.0570 Auburn Oil Co Booksellers 149 E. Magnolia Ave., Suite A, Auburn 334.346.3003 Auburn Plaza Bar & Lounge 800 Main St., Auburn 334.521.0074 The Auburn Popcorn Company 106 N. College St., Auburn 334.329.7700 Auburn University Clubhouse 1650 Yarbrough Farms Blvd., Auburn 334.821.8381 AUsome Nutrition 1100 S. College St., Suite 102, Auburn 334.707.9077 Barberito’s S. Western Grille & Cantina 1619 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.887.9838 Baumhower’s Victory Grille 2353 Bent Creek Road, Suite 120 334.246.4180 The Bean 140 N. Dean Road, Auburn 334.728.5906 Beyond The Wok 339 S. College St., Suite F, Auburn 334.209.6132 people/ Wok/100063787904518/ Big Blue Bagel Deli 120 N. College St., Auburn 334.501.2245 Big Mike’s Steakhouse 610 Shug Jordan Pkwy., Auburn 334.209.1975 Birdie’s Cup and Saucer 555 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.4558 Bizilia’s Café 134 N. College St., Auburn 334.826.0080 Block & Barrel Deli 323 Airport Road, Building H, Auburn 334.821.4070 Bombay Indian Grill 1251 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.502.5200 AUBURN RESTAURANTS, BARS AND COFFEE SHOPS

INDIAN INSPIRED EATS Spreading good with food Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 1409 S. College Street, Auburn 334-246-3144


84LIVELee Bow & Arrow 1977 E. Samford Ave., Auburn 334.246.2546 Bruster’s Real Ice Cream 2172 E. University Drive, Auburn 334.821.9988 Byron’s Smokehouse 436 Opelika Rd, Auburn 334.887.9981 BurgerFi 339 S. College St., Auburn Burn Nutrition 1345 Opelika Road, Suite E, Auburn 334.209.1880 Byron’s Smokehouse 436 Opelika Road, Auburn smokehouse_menu.pdf Catering to You by The Hotel at Auburn 241 S. College St., Auburn 334.321.3175’s Deli 754 E. Glenn Ave. Auburn 334.821.7220 Charlie’s Family Kitchen 2900 E. University Drive, Auburn rwillis12@gmail.com334.501.2070 Cheeburger Cheeburger 160 N. College St., Auburn 334.826.0845 Chick-Fil-A 326 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn Chick-Fil-A Auburn Mall, Auburn auburn-mall Chicken Salad Chick 1345 Opelika Road, Suite A, Auburn 334.459.9752 auburn-opelika/ Chipotle Mexican Grill 346 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.7740 auburn/346-wmagnolia-ave China Garden 188 Ogletree Rd #120, Auburn 334.887.0388 Christine’s Unlimited 2272 Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn 334.750.4963 CiCi’s Pizza 1550 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.2600 Coffee Cat 124 Tichenor Ave., Auburn 334.744.1953 Coffee Mafia - Formerly Mama Mochas Auburn 414 S. Gay St., Auburn www.auburncoffeemafia.com334.728.7588 Cook Out 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.2246 Country’s Barbecue 1021 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.8711 The Cup and Saucer 555 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.4558 The Depot 124 Mitcham Ave., Auburn 334.521.5177 Domino’s Pizza 1100 S. College St., Auburn 334.821.3030 Domino’s Pizza 175 N. College St., Auburn 334.821.3030 Dunkin Donuts 2049 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.2233 Eddie’s Calzones 130 N. College St Auburn El Dorado Mexican Restaurant 1658 S. College St., Auburn 334.887.8836 El Ranchero 114 Spirit Dr., Auburn 334.246.3501 El Rey de Todos Mexican Grill and Cantina 1447 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.329.7222 Esposito’s Italian Bistro 154 N College St., Auburn 334.209.6420 Fat Daddy’s 583 Lee Road 53, Auburn 334.502.1111 Firehouse Subs 1907 S. College St., Suite 108, Auburn auburn/

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY85 Five Guys 121 N. College St., Auburn auburn/ Foosackly’s 131 N. Dean Rd. Auburn 334.209.1506 Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano 1445 S.College St., Suite 200, Auburn 334.209.6363 Freeze Yogurt Bar 116 N. College St., Auburn 334.332.8000 Frutta Bowls 211 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.521.5221 frutta-bowlsauburn-alabama/ Fuji Sushi Bar 1499 S. College St., Auburn 334.887.7766

Unit 104, Auburn 334.826.5555 Insomnia Cookies 191 N. College St., Auburn 334.649.6263 locations/store/1218 Insomnia Steak and Grill 186

Auburn 334.821.4146 Irritable Bao 127 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.329.7009 Jersey Mike’s Subs 2081 S. College St., Suite A, Auburn 334.591.6600 Jim ‘N Nick’s Barbecue 1920 S. College St., Auburn 334.246.5197 Jimmy John’s 126 N. College St., Auburn 334.502.0444 Jin Korean Restaurant 2055 E. University Dr., Auburn 334.521.7080 Johnny Brusco’s on East University 2408 E. University Dr., Suite 100 Auburn 334.826.0055 auburn/ Johnny Brusco’s at Moore’s Mill 2415 Moores Mill Road, Auburn 334.826.0545 auburnmooresmillrd/ I Love Juice Bar 2415 Moores Mill Road, Suite 255, Auburn 334.216.9659 Jule Collins Smith Museum Cafe, Luster 901 S. College St., Auburn 334.844.7016 Kung Fu Tea 116 N. College St., Auburn 334.209.2866 Little Caesar’s 1621 S. College St., Auburn 334.821.9622 Little Italy Pizzeria 129 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.6161 LiveOaks 201 N. College St., Auburn 334.521.5101

Auburn 334.887.2677 Hamilton’s on


Auburn 334.887.7800 Hamilton’s 174

Auburn 334.246.3300 Hungry Howie’s Pizza 1409 S. College

Fusion Restaurant and Bar 145 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.521.5310 Good Karma 1409 S. College St., Suite 118 Auburn 334.246.3144 Gourmet Tiger Catering 231 N. Dean Road, Auburn 334.821.9222 Great American Cookie Company 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.4553 Guthrie’s 804 E. Glenn Ave., N. College St., E. Magnolia Ave., Ogletree Ogletree Road, Auburn Tichenor Ave., St., N. Donahue Drive,

Auburn 334.826.1661 locations/ Guthrie’s 1673 Shug Jordan Parkway Suite A, Auburn 334.209.1295 locations/ Halftime 154

334.329.5886 The Hound Bar & Restaurant 124 Lulu’s Bakery


Shug al/auburn/deli-1015 Mellow Mushroom Naruto


86 2300 Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn 334.521.0391 & Market Station, 3076 AL-14, Auburn Pizza 231 N. Dean Road, Auburn 334.209.2200 Pizza 1673 Jordan Pkwy., Auburn 334.758.9800 Gourmet Deli 1651 E. University Drive, Auburn 334.502.0101 128 N. College St., Auburn Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 323 Airport Road, Auburn 334.821.5305 House 2021 S. College St., Suite C, Auburn 334.501.8888 Beignet Co. 155 S. College St., Auburn 334.246.3015 Original BBQ 125 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.1430 Moes’ 133 W. Longleaf Dr., Auburn 334.821.2888 Cafe 1445 S. College St., Auburn 334.209.1520 New China 819 E Glenn Ave. #150, Auburn 334.821.9995 www/ Niffer’s Place 1151 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.3118 Times Country Buffet & BarB-Que 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.246.0927

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334.887.6356 Mikata Japanese

Original BBQ - Bent Creek 2319 Bent Creek Road, #100, Auburn 334.329.7049 auburnmenu/ Moe’s S.W. Grill 114 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn alabama/auburn Momma Goldberg’s Deli 500 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.0185 Momma Goldberg’s Deli

times-auburn/ Bike Coffee 2415 Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn 334.521.7668 Panda’s Chinese Restaurant 1619 S College St., Auburn 334.826.0788 Panera Bread 1550 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.7330 Pannie-George’s Kitchen 2328 S. College St., Auburn 334.821.4142 Papa John’s Pizza 211 N. College St., Auburn 334.826.7272 Philly Connection 2328 S. College St., # 2, Auburn 334.887.3996 Pita Pit 157 N. College St., Auburn 334.887.1010 Pho Lee 756 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.559.0868 Pizza Hut 1923 S. College St., Auburn 334.321.1060 Proud Willie’s Wings and Stuff 422-B S. Gay St., Auburn 334.502.0012 Red Lobster 1805 Opelika Rd. Auburn 334.821.4474 Rock-N-Roll Sushi 200 W. Glenn Ave, Ste 500 Auburn 334.329.5100 Ross House Coffee 150 N. Ross St., Auburn 334.734.5150 com/www.rosshousecoffee. Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill 1111 S. College St., Suite 600, Auburn 334.209.2255 www/ Savanh Thai Kitchen 1750 Opelika Road, Building B,

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY87 Auburn 334.246.3088 Sheila C’s Burger Barn 622 Shug Jordan Pkwy., Auburn 334.283.5200 Shrimp Basket 1651 S College St., Auburn 334.539.8130 Smoothie King 1499 S. College St., Auburn 334.887.1882 Smoothie King 2311 Bent Creek Road, Suite 100, Auburn 334.209.6540 Sno Biz 1625 E. University Dr., Auburn 334.663.1166 Sno Biz 1607 S. College St., Auburn 334.742.0371 Starbuck’s 1121 S. College St., Auburn 334.728.7765 Starbuck’s 1619 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.502.3491 Sushi Bistro 1888 Ogletree Road #170, Auburn 334.329.5113 Sushi Hero 1642 S. College St., Auburn 334.209.2988 Sushiya 2319 Bent Creek Road, Suite 300, Auburn 334.209.6188 Sword + Skillet 1188 Opelika Road, Auburn 310.800.8248 Taco Mama 149 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.734.5030 Taqueria Y Carniceria Durango 435 N. Dean Road J, Auburn 334.887.4373 Taqueria y Carniceria Plaza 1629 S. College St., Auburn 334.466.4975 Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe 339 S. College St., Auburn 334.246.5199334.246.5198 TCBY 300 N. Dean Road, Unit 3, Auburn 334.826.8828 Tekila Mexican Bar & Grill 234 W. Magnolia Ave, Suite C, Auburn 334.209.1523 Tenda Chick 232 N. Dean Road, Auburn 334.821.8543 Terra Cotta Catering 415 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.3656 Teriyaki Express 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.6820 Thai & Lao Cuisine 203 Opelika Road, Suite C, Auburn 334.246.3520 The 19th Hole 1120 S. College St., Auburn www.19thholeauburn.com334.328.3033 The Cup and Saucer 555 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.4558 thecupandsaucer. The Depot 124 Mitcham Ave., Auburn 334-521-5177 The Front Porch on Magnolia by Billy Lee 415 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.3656 The Hound 124 Tichenor Ave., Auburn 334.246.3300 The Mason Jar 1936 S. College St., Auburn (334) 734-0270 The Yard Milkshake Bar - Auburn 147 N. College St., Auburn 334.209.0959 Tiger VR Cafe 200 W. Glenn Ave., Suite 350, Auburn 334.209.1886 Toomer’s Drugstore 100 N. College St., Auburn 334.887.3488 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Auburn 200 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.821.6555 al/auburn/200-W. -glenn-Ave. Umami 2319 Bent Creek Road, Suite 400, Auburn 334.329.7188 Uncle Charley’z 403 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.1605

88LIVELee Uniq Coffee 312-B N. Gay St., Auburn 334.235.3083 com/#locationwww.uniq-coffee.ueniweb. University Donut Company 157 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.750.8086 www/ Ursula’s Catering 190 E. University #1403, Auburn 334.821.9921 Veggies To Go 815 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.826.1000 Veggies To Go 1650 D S. College St., Auburn 334.821.1660 Venditori’s Italian Restaurant 2575 Hilton Garden Dr., Auburn 334.826.7360 Village Wok 1100 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.2995 Voodoo Wing Company 2059 S. College St., Auburn 334.329.7777 Waffle House 2167 S. College St., Auburn Waffle House 2346 Bent Creek Road, Auburn Waffle House 110 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn Whataburger 101 N. College St., Auburn 334.246.2996 Well Red 223 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.246.3021 Which Wich Superior Sandwiches 234 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.329.7990 Wings & Claw 203 Opelika Road, Suite B, Auburn 334.209.1985 Wings Etc 201 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.521.5095 WNB Factory 819 E. Glenn Ave., #140, Auburn Wooden Chopsticks 1716 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.1181 Yum Yums 555 Opelika Road #7, Auburn 334.209.2011 Yummy Villa 1633 S. College St., Auburn 334.246.3888 Zaxby’s 1659 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.9881 Zaxby’s 2075 E. University Dr., Auburn 334.501.0852 Zoner’s Pizza, Wings, & Waffles 200 W. Glenn Ave., Suite 200, Auburn 334.246.3179 www.zonerspizza. Ampersand Wine Bar 817 Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.274.7859 Best Wings and Things 1515 Second Ave. Suite N, Opelika 334.759.7545 Big Blue Crawfish 2611 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika www.bigbluecrawfish.net334.444.8136 Boonie Hat 116 S 8th St, 334.363.0390Opelika Bottling Plant Event Center 614 N. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.7055466 Breezeway 213 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.749.5167 OPELIKA RESTAURANTS, BARS AND COFFEE SHOPS

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY89 700Second Avenue ~ Opelika Brick and Spoon 2401 Third Ave. Opelika 334.737.6498 Brick Oven Pizza Company 2520 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.745.0223 Buffalo Wild Wings 2257 Tiger Town Pkwy., Opelika 334.741.0989 detail/128/ Burger Fi 2145 Interstate Dr., D-3, Opelika **This guide is not guaranteed to contain every restaurant, coffee shop or bar in Lee County. Every effort was made to insure its accuracy, however, the data may have changed since information was gathered.

NOW OPEN AT USA TOWN CENTER Madison's Place Cafe is a soul food restaurant that believes in feeding the soul. It is the mission of Madison's Place Cafe that you leave with the expectation of coming back for more. Located at 122 FoxRun Ave. Ste. Openmadisonsplacecafe22@gmail.com202TuesdaythroughFriday11a.m.to4p.m.OpenSunday11a.m.to5p.m. Taste the Madison'srememberfood,thenamePlace Butcher Paper BBQ 128 Columbus Pkwy., Opelika 334.748.9008 Cafe 123 123 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.737.0069 Cakeitecture Bakery 124 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.246.3002 Captain D’s 810 Columbus Pkwy., Opelika 334.737.3877 Chick-Fil-A 2052 Tiger Town Pkwy., Opelika ChickChickPorkPork 3810 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.737.5777 Chipotle Mexican Grill 2125 Intestate Dr., Opelika 334.737.0056 Chuck’s Barbecue 905 Short Ave., Opelika 334.749.4043 Cook Out 2168 Interstate Dr., Opelika 334.737.3825 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 1051 Fox Run Ave., Opelika 334.749.2363 Crumbl Cookies 2638 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.203.4783 Domino’s Pizza 1451A Gateway Dr., Suite A, Opelika 334.749.7101

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY91 Dough Pizzeria 104 S 8th St., Opelika 334.203.1370 Durango Mexican Grill 1706 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.745.0015 El Patron Mexican Grill 2400 Gateway Dr., Opoelika 334.749.2199 El Rodeo 814 Geneva St., Opelika 334.737.5727 El Taco Veloz 1107 Fitzpatrick Ave., Opelika 334,759.7550 Fiesta Supermarket and Taqueria 1904 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.203.1311 fiestasupermarket1904/ Firehouse Subs 3000 Pepperell Pkwy., Suite 7, Opelika Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers 1701 Capps Landing, Opelika 334.203.1618 Full Moon BBQ 2494 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.741.7570 Gigi’s Cupcakes 3794 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.275.4331 Golden Corral 2301 Birmingham Hwy., Opelika 334.741.0570 Gohyang Garden Korean Restaurant 816 Columbus Pkwy., Opelika 334.742.8060 Restaurant/169680866379554 Guthrie’s 1700A Capps Landing, Opelika 334.203.1970 Guthrie’s 3704 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.363.0764 Guthrie’s 505 Second Ave., Opelika 334.363.2139 Hibachi Sushi Grill & Buffet 3903 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.705.8616 Honeybaked Ham Co. & Café 1451 Gateway Dr,. Suite C Opelika 334.741.8411 Huddle House 2020 Gateway Dr., Opelika 334.745.4800 opelika/2020-gateway-dr Irish Bred Pub 833 S. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.363.2235 Izumi Japanese Buffet 2301 Birmingham Hwy., Opelika 334.539.8666 JAM Cakery 2135 Interstate Dr., #182, Opelika 334.498.5722 Jefferson’s Opelika 905 S. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.745.6927 opelika/ Jersey Mike’s Subs 2336 Tiger Town Pkwy., Opelika opelika-al Jim Bob’s Chicken Fingers 2070 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.741.4001 John Emerald Distillery 706 N. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.737.5353 Kabuki Steak House 2496 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.759.7575 com/www.kabukiopelika.kwickmenu. La Guatemalteca 2701 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.363.2216 Laredo Mexican Restaurant 1832 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.2724 Little Caesar’s 1515 2nd Ave., Opelika 334.741.8989 Longhorn Steakhouse 2601 Gateway Dr., Opelika 334.705.8800 Louie’s Chicken 1479 Fox Run Pkwy., Opelika 334.745.0050 Mama Mocha’s Bodega 715 1st Ave., 334.707.9325Opelika

92LIVELee Madison’s Place 1220 Fox Run Ave, Opelika 334.737.6252 Mandarin House 3800 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.745.7234 Marble Slab Creamery 2340 Tiger Town Pkwy., Opelika 334.745.0033 Marco’s Pizza 1459 Fox Run Pkwy,. Opelika 334.749.3334 Melanin Cafe 1467 Fox Fun Pkwy., Opelika 334.203.1598 Mi Ranchito Mexican Restaurant 7931 AL-51 S., Opelika 334.759.7200 MK’s Asian Kitchen 2490 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.749.6989 Moe’s S.W. Grill 2574 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.749.8156 Momma Goldberg’s Deli 2701 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.705.8999 stores/opelika-al/ Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar 1900 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.749.1719 Newk’s Eatery 2664 Enterprise Dr., Opelika 334.749.0011 Nerd Torch Cafe 225 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.787.9554 www.nerdtorch.comnex Next Level 1006 First Ave, Opelika 334.203.1381 NextLevelDining/ Niffer’s on the Tracks 917 S. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.787.5989 No. 1 Asian Restaurant 1451 Fox Run Pkwy., Opelika 334.737.5778 Obsidian Dining and Catering 1801 2nd Ave., Opelika 334.409.1333 dining/ Town Ice Cream 700 2nd Ave., Opelika 334.737.5700 Olive Garden 2254 Tiger Town Pkwy. Opelika 334.749.1255 Opelika Nutrition 1801 Market St., Opelika 334.744.3252 Outback Steakhouse 2115 Pepperell Pkwy. Opelika 334.219.0100 Panda Express 2096 Interstate Dr., Opelika 205.377.9707 Papa John’s Pizza 2107 Pepperell Pkwy., Suite A Opelika 334.741.7272 Pizza Hut 3611 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.749.7111 Pokemen 2701 Frederick Road, Suite 201 Opelika 334.737.6353 Red Clay Brewery 704 N Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.737.5409 Resting Pulse Brewery 714 1st Ave., 334.203.1364Opelika Ristretto Lounge 2650 Corporate Park Dr. Opelika 334.321.9250 Side Track Coffee 817 S. Railroad Ave. Opelika 334.707.8906 Southern Oak Restaurant at Grand National 3700 Robert Trent Jones Trail Opelika 334.741.9292 Starbuck’s 2056 Interstate Dr. Opelika 334.745.0885 Subway 2101 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.737.6078 Subway 1017 Columbus Pkwy, Opelika 334.749.3528 Susie K’s 1801 Second Ave. Opelika 334.737.6065 Takoyaki Restaurant 2035 Interstate Dr, Opelika 334.363.2943

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY93 Tart and Tartan 117 8th St., Suit 203, Opelika 334.748.9075 Taste Of Asia 3750 Pepperell Pkwy, Opelika 334.203.1547 Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe 2119 Interstate Dr Opelika 334.275.4743334.759.6225 opelika/ The Grazer Co. 1001 Ave. B., Opelika 334.524.0143 The Well 824 Ave. A, 323.997.2856Opelika Toomer’s Coffee Roastery 1619 Thomason Dr., Suite B Opelika 334.332.6652 Twice Baked 909 S Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.744.3061 Veggies To Go 2701 Frederick Road #302 Opelika 334.759.7404 Waffle House 1738 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.2400 Waffle House 2064 Interstate Road, Opelika 334.749.6303 Waffle House 907 Fox Run Pkwy., Opelika 334.705.0304 Wasabi Japanese Sushi & Thai Cuisine 1103 Columbus Pkwy. Opelika 334.737.5558 Western Sizzlin Steak House 920 Columbus Pkwy., Opelika 334.749.2950 Whataburger 2501 Gateway Dr., Opelika 334.275.4183 Which Wich Superior Sandwiches 2105 Interstate Dr. Opelika 334.759.7401 Whistle Stop Bottle and Brew 830 N. Railroad Ave. Opelika 334.748.9727 Wild Wing Cafe 3040 Capps Way, Opelika 334.203.1693 locations/ Wing Town 13 Samford Ave., Opelika 334.610.4047 Zaxby’s 2089 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.749.973 Zazu Gastropub 112 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.203.1747 Zen Steak & Sushi Ba r 2820 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika 334.737.6516 Zoe’s Ice Cream Delite 2757 AL Hwy. 169 Opelika 334.749.4455

94LIVELee Follow us @happytimesfoodonline

A TASTE OF LEE COUNTY95 Hibachi O N W H E E L S C A T E R I N G @hibachionwheelswithcheferic @hibachionwheelswithcheferic www hibachionwheelscatering com 706-888-0577 Let us bring the restaurant experience to YOU! Common Grounds 2307 Auburn Road, Phenix City 334- 297-2824 Cluck It Bucket 2505 Lee Road 430, Smiths Station 334.732.5825 Howie’s Cafe 9109-9153 Mullin Road, Smiths Station 334.560.5978 J.R.’s Steakhouse 9571 Lee Road 246 Smiths Station 334.480.9400 Mamee’s Kitchen Authentic Jamaican Cuisine & Catering 16583 US 280, Smiths Station 334.480.8805 The Boathouse 50 Lee Road #344, Salem 334.408.5050 theboathouselakeharding/ The Waverly Local 1465 Patrick St., Waverly 334.539.6077 Wilton’s Catering 6522 AL Hwy. 14 Loachapoka 334.750.3241 USA Cajun Station 9063 Lee County 246, Smiths Station 334.721.6060 usacajunstation1/ LEE COUNTY RESTAURANTS, BARS AND COFFEE SHOPS Above and Beyond Catering 334.734.0373 Bill & Robbie’s Excellent BBQ Adventure 334.740.4212 Bodega 1205 www.bodega1205.com706.221.3514 Dani’s Cheescakes 2812 Heather Place, Opelika 334.310.8811 Deljen’s 2135 Interstate Dr, Suite 136, Opelika 706.538.3956 Dr. By Tacos Essie’s Sweet Treats 334.787.9892 Franky Junes Weeny Wagon 334.750.7832 FOOD TRUCKS AND POPUP VENDORS German Foods Gifts & More 711 13th St., Phenix City 334.384.9595 Grandma Val’s Lemonade Happy Times Food Truck Hibachi on Wheels KatieBec’s Desserts 205.499.6078 Las Latinas php? Mr. Mori Hibachi Express 334.559.9677 Obsidian Catering 334.409.1333 Six Dollar Cafe 334.329.4428 Sweet and Savage 334.625.0075 Southern & Savory 334.625.0075 The Boar’s Breath 334.728.0054 The Chill Spot 334.703.6286 thechillspotauburn/ 109 N. College Street Auburn, Alabama 36830 334-216-9659

Host your party or private event Ingredients + Made Daily = YUM! Franky Junes is a mobile hotdog stand featuring both traditional, as well as iconic and fusion-style hotdogs served with a toasted bun, a variety of homemade fixings and a mound of hot and crunchy tatertots (that we’ve been known to top with ooey-gooey cheese, ranch dressing, bacon and chives). Stop by and see us, we’d love to meet you!

Located in beautiful downtown Opelika 223 S. 8th St. | com/subscribe-today/www.opelikaobserver.$34SUBSCRIBEwww.opelikaobserver.com334-749-8003TODAYFORLEECOUNTY Published By:


Allen Asphalt, 70 Alsobrook Law Group, 100 Arbor Springs, 35 Axe Marks The Spot, 42 AuburnBank, 23 Auburn Opelika Dental, 68 Ballard Pest Management, 42 Beauregard Drugs, 31 Better Bodies Massage Institute, 66 Budget Blinds, 49 Build-A-Bride, 48 Church of Christ at Cunningham Dr., 99 Cleaning Solutions Auburn, 50 Clear Water Solutions, 31 Closet’s By Design, 3 Da’Gallery, 2 Day’s Hair Salon, 35 Edward Jones, 35 Fine Arts Academy First Baptist Opelika,48 Foodie’s Gourmet Cafe and Bodega, 82-83 Franky Junes Weeny Wagon, 97 Glynn Smith Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, 7 Good Karma, 82 Goree’s Furniture Express, 71 Happy Times, 94 Harvest Thrift, 42 Hibachi On Wheels, 95 Hilyer & Associates, CPAs, 66 Huddle House, 93 Irish Bred Pub, 97 Jay & Susie Gouge Performing Arts, 43, 67 Jeffcoat Trant Funeral Home, 50 Juice Bar, 96 Key Media LLC, 98 Madison’s Place Cafe, 90 Market Street Paint Shop, 68 Meals Chiropractic, 30 Oline Price, Lee Co. Revenue Commissioner, 59 Orthopedic Clinic, 31 O Town, Perception89Therapy, 6 Phil Henderson Insurance Agency, 99 Ponko Chicken, 80 Price Small Engine, 78 Prime Home Health, 30 Rock & Roll Pinball, 49 S & L Auto Glass, 30 Sheriff Jay Jones, 13 Southern Marksmanship, 42 Stitch Therapy, 50 Summer Village, 66 Sundilla Concert Series, 97 Sweet Gee’s Restaurant and Catering, 96 The Boar’s Breath, 89 The Gallery, 17 Trinity Christian School, 17 Trinity Presbyterian, 35 Ursula’s Catering, 83 Wadkin’s Metal, 6 WoodmenLife, 68

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