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ISSUE 1 - SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

STORYBOOK FARM’S 12TH ANNUAL

KENTUCKY DERBY DAY

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BIOS Michelle Key, Publisher Originally from Albertville, Alabama, Key and her family moved to the OpelikaAuburn 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.

Will Fairless, Opelika Observer Associate Editor Will Fairless graduated from Auburn University’s journalism program in 2020. He is from St. Charles, Missouri, and has been working at the Observer since June as an associate editor.

From The Associate Editor Hannah Lester, Live Lee Associate Editor Hannah Lester is an Auburn University 2019 Journalism graduate originally from Birmingham, Alabama. She recently started with the Opelika Observer but her main focus is on the Live Lee Magazine.

Wil Crews, Staff Reporter Wil Crews is an Auburn University 2020 Journalism graduate originally from Prattville, Alabama. He works as the Observer’s main prep sports reporter and assists in developing the weekly paper and Live Lee Magazine.

Robert Noles, Photographer

Derek Herscovici, Contributor

Robert Noles is an awardwinning photojournalist who has been with the Opelika Observer for more than 10 years. Originally from Tallassee, he is a graduate of Alabama Christian College and Auburn University.

Derek Herscovici is a journalist, editor and photographer from Tampa, Florida. In 2017, he served as managing editor of Auburn Magazine during the 125th Anniversary of Auburn Women campaign and commemorative issue. He is a 2014 graduate of Auburn University.

EDITORIAL

DESIGN/LAYOUT DESIGN2PRO

Michelle Key Hannah Lester

MARKETING Woody Ross Rena Smith

Will Fairless Wil Crews Derek Herscovici

PHOTOGRAPHY Robert Noles Hannah Lester

Natalie Salvatori

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Ever since I was young, I have loved to write. I wrote stories of talking hedgehogs and leaves. I loved school assignments that required any form of creative writing. Each summer, I would sit on my bunk at camp during our one hour of quiet time and use it to work on my first “novel” about a girl and her baby brother, lost on an island. Writing became much more to me when I started at Auburn University and graduated with a degree in Journalism. I love writing features, telling the stories of the people around me with all five senses. This magazine is filled with my words and the words of my dedicated team-members. They pursued the stories that haven’t been told. We found restaurants, bars, venues and events with stories. We wrote about the people behind the counter, the ones who serve coffee and the actors behind the performance. Go grab a drink at Sneak and Dawdle, or a potato at Twice Baked and sit down with this publication. Take it in, soak it up and read about those in your community. Hannah Lester Associate Editor

CONTACT US

Key Media, LLC 216 S. 8th Street Opelika, AL 36801 Phone: 334.749.8003 editor@opelikaobserver.com

LIVE Lee

is a publication by Key Media, LLC dba the Opelika Observer.


TABLE OF

CONTENTS

Well Red “This is for Everyone”......................................8

On the Tracks Head to the Tracks, Grab A Glass .............. 42

Twice Baked “Don’t be a hater, come get the taters” ....... 12

Derby Day Raise a Paddle for Storybook Farm ............ 44

Irritable Bao Irritable Bao serves Auburn in more ways than one.......................................................... 18

Good Times Let the Good Times Roll ............................. 48

Zazu Gastropub A Fine Dining Gastropub .............................. 21

CyberZone It’s games, games, games at this giant virtual arcade and laser tag center .......................... 50

The Waverly Local A Taste of Home ........................................... 24

Rock N’ Roll Pinball Ready to Rock? Ready to Roll?.................... 52

Hamilton’s A Downtown Home ..................................... 28

NERDtorch Cafe Embrace The Nerd _..................................... 56

Mamee’s Kitchen Authentic Jamaican ...................................... 32

AACT, OCT and East Alabama Arts: Waiting for Showtime .................................. 58

Food Reviews Pokemen, Taqueria Durango, Charlie’s Family Kitchen .............................................. 34

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center Behind the Curtain........................................ 62 Event Calendar ............................................. 68

Sneak and Dawdle Opelika’s Speakeasy ...................................... 36

Auburn, Opelika and Lee County Restaurant Directory..................................... 69

Local Bar List................................................. 40

(Photo taken at: Corner of North Railroad Avenue and 8th Street)

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Drink • Eat • Play


“This is for everybody” Story By Hannah Lester Photos By Robert Noles

I

f you’re looking for supplements, herbs and organic food, you’ll no longer find it in the little green shop on Opelika Road; instead you open the door to the smell of roasting coffee and shelves full of books. Richard and Crystal Tomasello bought the building, which once housed the Dayspring Nature Shop, and turned it into an independently-owned bookstore: Well Red. The city of Auburn, which once had no independent bookstores, now has two, Well Red being one of them.

The shop, which only opened a few weeks ago, is already known for its coffee and is also a popular stop in the evenings for a glass of wine. When Richard and Crystal began planning Well Red, there were no independent bookstores in Auburn. The two had been to a wedding in Asheville and saw a bookstore that inspired them. “Richard and I hung out all day,” Crystal said. “We had a little pastry in the morning and some coffee and then we’d pick our books up and read and then chit-chat. And then it led into a couple bottles of champagne. So it was literally like a six to

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Drink • Eat • Play


seven hour time frame that we were there reading books and doing all kinds of things and it was really nice. I looked at Richard and we both had the idea - Auburn has nothing like this.” Richard and Crystal came home and told their two children, Collin, who was 13 at the time, and Ava, who was eight. Both were on board. “I thought it was a very cool idea when they said that and when they told us how they got their inspiration and they were telling us how they just stayed there all day, I thought it was a very good idea and Auburn definitely needed that,” Ava said. Richard is a businessman at heart, Crystal said. He can take an idea from nothing and turn it into a reality. “He knows the ins and outs, so he did the whole business part,” she said. “And it is very overwhelming. We located a space together and then I did the design part and he did the business part.” This involved getting loans, buying equipment for making pastries and coffee and making connections with publishers. “It’s a dream come true,” Crystal said. “That is something that Richard and I, we’ll be married sixteen years in November, and it’s something that we’ve always wanted to do, so it’s sort of a sixteen-year-in-themaking goal that we’ve had.”

The store opened during the pandemic and had to take into account that many students are still home, and because of the virus, many families are not going out. “I’m really excited about how fast things are taking off, especially during a summer, during a pandemic,” Crystal said. “And that’s the thing, usually, under normal circumstances, it’s feast or famine as far as the summer. And you just prep for that being a small business owner.” Of course, the shop is prepped for safety. Everyone wears a mask, in fact, some are sold at the front counter, and there’s a large jug of hand sanitizer available for use. The books, coffee and wine all make the shop great, but what makes it unique is the family behind it. THE FAMILY: This summer, if you walked through Well Red’s front door, you’d be greeted with a smile from Ava, who has spent all summer working in her parent’s store, even though she’s only 10. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’m going to run this one day and I’m really excited,” she said. “I’ve never really liked coffee and now that I get to make it, it’s really fun.” The first day that Well Red opened, Ava stayed all day long. She woke at 5 a.m. and got home at 11 p.m., unwilling to leave the store, her mom said.

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“When our first customers came in, I thought just as soon as they came in, I just knew that this was going to be great and people were going to buy books and they were going to love it,” Ava said. Collin, like Ava, works in the store. His role is much more than barista, however. Collin saved his money from a job he held last summer and invested in Well Red. “After working over the summer at R&R, I took the money I made over the summer and bought one percent of the coffee shop,” Collin said. He attends business meetings with his parents and learns the ins and outs of owning the store. “I’ve learned to work the register and make coffee that I had no idea how to make just a few weeks ago,” he said. His favorite coffee he said he’s learned to make so far is a pour-over, which requires precision. “Learning how to make all the coffee and trying to get it down so I can get it to customers in a way I’d be proud of to actually serve,” Collin said. “I think I’ve gotten better at it, most of it’s just memorization and taking your time on the ones that need more attention.”

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Although both Ava and Collin are integral parts of Well Red, Crystal said she limits their time at the store. “They’re kids and they need to be kids and that’s very important to Richard and I,” she said. Well Red takes a half-day off on Sundays so Richard and Crystal can spend time with their children. WORKING IN AUBURN: Well Red is becoming a fixture in the community already and there are those who are regularly stopping in for a coffee. “The most rewarding aspect is how much the community has already welcomed us,” Crystal said. “We already, very quickly, by week two, we had a very solid customer base that were regulars.” The shop is great for so many purposes - a first date sharing coffee, students working at the spacious tables or grabbing a glass of wine after a local community performance. “We really want to have a space where everybody feels welcome and everybody of all ages,” Crystal said. “I had an older gentleman and his wife come in yesterday and he looked around and he’s come in twice in the evening and he said, ‘You know, I am at least fifty years older than everybody in here,’ and I said, ‘This is for everybody.’”

Drink • Eat • Play


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“Don’t be a hater, come get the taters” Story by Wil Crews Photos by Hannah Lester

J

oseph Shorter is a vegetarian. The 41-year-old entrepreneur is also the proud co-owner of Opelika’s newest barbecue restaurant, Twice Baked. Located in downtown at 909 S. Railroad Ave, the family-owned restaurant specializes in a variety of smoked meats and, true to its name, twice baked potatoes.

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When customers first arrive, they are greeted with tantalizing messages written on the storefront’s windows. “Don’t be a hater, come get the taters,” could intrigue even the biggest of skeptics. Once customers enter, they notice one oversized, spacious dining room that emits a downhome country cooking atmosphere similar to that of a Cracker Barrel.

Drink • Eat • Play


Homespun grain sacks hang from the ceiling; what appears to be a factory-worthy air duct stretches from end to end; and a newly renovated bar and platform stage perfectly combine to highlight the rustic décor. All this lends to an atmosphere, as Shorter describes it, that is “laid back, cozy and comfortable.” Although the aura is important, above all, customers come to Twice Baked for the food. The menu consists of everything from sloppy joes, Philly cheesesteaks, ribs, wings and tacos to the trademark twice baked potato. “If you’re looking for a salad or something, you’ve come to the wrong place,” Shorter said. He says customers who visit his restaurant get that post-thanksgiving, food-induced sleepy feeling. “That’s called the ‘itis,’” he said. “You’ve heard of the Midas touch, here at Twice Baked, we have the ‘itis touch.’” Overall, the freshness of what Twice Baked delivers to its customers is the difference. Shorter knew he wanted to open a business with fresh food concepts – and he didn’t want to fry anything. Every day at Twice Baked, the bread is baked fresh. Each

rub and sauce is homemade, in house. All the meats are cut daily and smoked to perfection. “You don’t have to have no teeth to eat my meat,” Shorter said. So, how does a vegetarian come to open up a barbecue restaurant? Like most things in life, Shorter and his restaurant had to endure some failure before they could relish in any success. The story goes back to New Jersey in the 1980s. That’s where Shorter spent a large portion of his early childhood and where his vegetarian roots were laid. “My Mom raised us like that,” Shorter said. “She taught me a lot about the mind and what meat does to the body.” When his mother passed, Shorter and his family moved to Tuskegee. From there, to Opelika. Shorter would go on to graduate from Opelika High School in 2000. Eventually, however, his life took an unexpected downward turn. “I got into a little trouble and I did some time in prison,” Shorter said.

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But during that time, Shorter was determined to learn how to better himself, and in turn, others. “I wanted to study how to help people, especially people with problems,” he said. So, during his time in prison, Shorter studied psychology and business, two skills that would fortuitously set him up for the position he finds himself in today. Shorter’s time there was humbling, he said, and opened his eyes to the potential he now sees in everyone. “A lot of the time, people misunderstand people with complications or people get judged wrong,” he said. “If you can get into their head and see what’s going on, you will change your whole mindset. Everyone has a story.” This story of this vegetarian barbecue connoisseur could have been labeled much differently – and it only gets better from here. Upon getting out of prison, Shorter found himself serving in the restaurant business but grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities. “Nobody would give me a chance,” he said. “I was training managers but they wouldn’t promote me.” With his learned knowledge of the human psyche and business, Shorter decided he wanted to start his own restaurant. He would give the people what they want. But before he could begin, he had to prove to people that his food was actually good. People would ask, as a vegetarian, how does he know what the meat tastes like? “I drink the broth,” Shorter said simply. Thus, he started selling his plates from house to house for about seven to eight months. It was then that his savory meats began to catch on. “That’s when I said, ‘I’m going to open a spot up,’ but it wasn’t easy,” Shorter said. Twice Baked, version one, officially opened in 2018 by the Goalpost Package Store located at 190 N. Donahue in Auburn. It was a small operation, but it gave Shorter a start. After a year of filling the bellies of stressed out college students, Twice Baked moved to downtown Opelika. “This place gave me more of an opportunity to meet more people,” Shorter said. There was a good bit of work to be done, and after a year of renovations, Twice Baked – version two – was opened to the Opelika community in July 2020.

Shorter is adamant that he could not have made it here on his own. His business partners, Anthony Burgess and Chris Thompson, whom Shorter considers brothers, were crucial to Twice Baked’s growth. “If it wasn’t for [Anthony] and Chris, there would be no Twice Baked,” Shorter said. “It’s all of us. I can’t take all the credit.” Still, even with all the success, Shorter can’t help but think of the time in his life where he was less fortunate. That period serves as a constant reminder of what he is working for. In truth, it provides the inspiration for the entire mission of Twice Baked – to help people. Of course, he hopes for his business to thrive financially by helping customers fill their bellies. But Shorter’s ultimate goal is to share what he’s learned with others. “I want to show other brothers and sisters that you can do what I did,” he said. “A lot of black people’s self-esteem is low. They don’t feel like they have the capability or knowledge to go try something on their own. I’m trying to get more people that encouragement and self-confidence, that’s what we need more of.” Shorter said he strives to help people get rid of negative energy and has even taken up meditation in his spare time. “People need to take chances and follow their dreams and their heart,” he said. “Know your selfworth. God has you alive for a reason. It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s how you turn it into something positive.” For Shorter, “love is the key,” he said, and he has big plans to pack more love into Twice Baked. “I’m going to have open mic nights, live music, game nights and I hope the bar will be stocked soon,” he said. But his ambitions don’t stop there. “I’m going to open four or five more restaurants; I want to open a bakery too.” For now, Shorter and his colleagues will continue serving up their variety of fresh, home-seasoned meats. He only had one last message for the people of Lee County: “Hop in your car and come give us a try. If your stomach is touching your back, come to Twice Baked. Come get you some food; something different. We’re all about good vibes and love here.”

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Irritable Bao serves Auburn in more ways than one Story By Will Fairless Photos By Hannah Lester

T

he Irritable Bao is a Chinese restaurant in downtown Auburn that has quickly (in almost three years) outgrown its first two forms– it started as a food truck and has moved on from its first brick-and-mortar location. Whitley Dykes and his wife, Kunyu Li, own and operate the restaurant. Dykes went to high school in Auburn and attended Auburn University for two years. He would eventually graduate from UAB with a degree in international studies and Chinese. “When I came back from [studying abroad in] China for my final semester, I was praying on it a lot and finally felt like I got the go-ahead to go back to China,” Dykes said. He lived there for eight years, then he and his wife moved back to the United States.

Dykes said that operating a food truck was something he and his wife had joked about for a while before taking it seriously. At the time Dumps Like a Truck, the couple’s first experiment in the food business, was born (Dec. 2017), Dykes was working at Auburn University with Auburn Global. “That was my ministry . . . working with international students, making them feel welcomed and loved, like they’re at home,” he said. The food truck, and now The Irritable Bao, was an extension of the ministry Dykes and Li were already practicing. Part of the purpose of their work was to give the substantial Chinese population of Auburn students a place to go that felt like home. Dykes likened it to his frequenting Starbucks while in China.

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He recalled talking to his wife about operating a food truck. “‘Let’s do a themed truck, something unique around here, something authentic to China. Something that you’re really good at, which is dumplings, and let’s have a cause attached to it and make sure we can be impactful in the way we feel called to be.’” Another purpose Dykes and Li found beyond satisfying cravings for their food (those cravings are now labeled “Irritable Bao Syndrome”) was to give to charities doing work in Asia. Empowering Young Warriors Asia is a program that, according to its Facebook page, serves disadvantaged children between the ages of 11 and 14 and with which The Irritable Bao has partnered. Less than a year after Dumps Like a Truck started, the Irritable Bao opened its first location. Li went back to China to be trained in making bao, which is similar to a dumpling in that it is a filling wrapped in dough; the main differences are that the dough in bao is much thicker and fluffier and that the whole thing is generally larger than a dumpling.

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“She would be on the bus like two hours [to the restaurant where she was being trained] and two hours back in the dead of winter,” Dykes said. “And it gets to be like -40 [degrees] there.” Although the restaurant was initially created so that some international students would have a place that felt like home, The Irritable Bao now serves that purpose for a much more broad demographic. “We just wanted to love people well and serve good food,” Dykes said. “We just made it all about the people, took pictures of the people, tagged them in it, they started tagging of their own accord.” Dykes is comfortable attributing The Irritable Bao’s success to its popularity on social media and to its becoming, as a result of that popularity, the “cool” place to eat. He’s less comfortable taking credit for that popularity, even though he and his wife have created an atmosphere (comprising good food, big smiles and genuine care about the restaurant’s patrons) that all but guaranteed the restaurant would feel like home. College students clearly find that pretty cool.

Drink • Eat • Play


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—20—

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A Fine Dining Gastropub

Story By Hannah Lester Photos By Robert Noles

Y

ou may find yourself in downtown Opelika one night, looking for a place to grab some food, maybe a drink. The city is growing steadily but has managed to hold onto its small-town charm. Turning down 8th Street, you can see Zazu Gastropub sitting prominently. The pub is pretty easy to find – it has both an enticing lower entrance and upper balcony dining. “It’s fine dining food in a pub - like atmosphere,” said Graham Hage, owner and executive chef at Zazu Gastropub. The atmosphere alone is enough to drive customers inside, with the dangling lightbulbs and tavern

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feel. The food, however, is what will grab a customer, Hage said. “We don’t cut any corners when it comes to the food, but we’re not a stuffy, fine dining restaurant,” he said. The restaurant has been in that spot for almost 5 years, but it began in the city of Auburn in 2007. Hage said that he had always worked in restaurants, before starting his own. “It’s always been a dream of mine to own my own place.” A building opened up and the owner asked Hage if he was interested in taking over the lease, so he just jumped right in.

Drink • Eat • Play


Originally, the goal for Zazu was a fine dining experience, he said, but after realizing that this meant they were missing most of the lunch crowd, the atmosphere was changed. “We changed a little bit and that’s when adopted the gastropub moniker,” he said. “Took the tablecloths off, we changed the menu a little bit to do a little more comfort type foods but still doing the same type of preparation. So we kind of rebranded a little more toward the younger crowd.” There were several factors that prompted Hage to move his restaurant from Auburn to Opelika, one being that rent kept increasing in the college town. “As soon as we walked in [to the new building] we knew that it could be something really special that the area doesn’t really have,” he said. Some of the Auburn crowd made the drive to Opelika, but Zazu Gastropub also gained the Opelika natives in the move.

“I think a lot of the people from Opelika had never really experienced us before,” Hage said. Business has been better in Opelika, too. “There’s not that reliance on the university,” he said. “When the kids are gone, business is nothing.” Five years later and Hage has decided to open a pizza place in Opelika as well. There are his other goals too, some more closely related to Zazu Gastropub, such as perhaps buying one of the buildings, he said. Maybe one day he’ll purchase a butcher shop, which can be used to prepare meats for Zazu or the new pizza spot, Hage said. “[It’s rewarding] doing it myself in a land of corporate restaurants,” he said. “Being able to survive and thrive as an independent owner, just seeing people’s faces when they eat a meal or first come into the building and look around and they’re like, ‘Wow, this is beautiful.’ Just making people happy. That’s what gets me up every morning to go to work.”

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A Taste of

Home

Story By Natalie Salvatore Photos Contributed By The Waverly Local

A

nyone can instantly feel a sense of family upon entering the Waverly Local, a Southern-Cuisine, locally-owned restaurant, operated by childhood friends Christian Watson and Andy Anderson. Located down Highway 280 at 1465 Patrick St. in Waverly, Alabama, the restaurant is now a central part of this quaint and historic community. The restaurant’s building comes with its own

story, as it once was one of Alabama’s first Ford dealerships. Instead of completely destroying the building’s significant features and design when creating the restaurant, the owners decided to repurpose the space while preserving its roots. The restaurant’s exterior is rustic yet modern, with red brick and green doors. It is aesthetically pleasing and intriguing to passing cars and curious customers.

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The Waverly Local looks like a welcoming place to stop and enjoy a meal. The clean and comfortable interior confirms this. Watson has been the executive chef and operating partner of the restaurant since it opened in January of 2018. The business is all about simple, Southern hospitality and making the community feel important, he said. “Food and drink are served with the intention to convey the passion and love that are put into each,” Watson said. The restaurant has deeply impacted local residents of Waverly and the surrounding areas in Alabama. The Waverly Local is a quick drive for university students and Auburn-Opelika community members; It is only 15 minutes away from Auburn. “It’s a place to commune, break bread and share community, love and life,” Watson said. “The tax

revenue generated for the town of Waverly doesn’t hurt either.” This local business, like many others, was affected tremendously by the COVID-19 global pandemic that began in March. However, it has been able to thrive despite the unprecedented situation. “With the overwhelming support from our regulars and locals, we were able to sustain through curbside pick-up until we were able to reopen for dine-in service,” Watson said. Now, with new operating hours, The Waverly Local is open once again for sit-down meals. Dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday, from 4 to 9 p.m., and Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant features both dining room and patio seating. “We’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the community,” Watson said. “We were one of the first in the area to close due to concerns for our team members and customers and will do it again if we feel that is what’s best.”

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A Sister Restaurant:

The Waverly Local is branching out. Its most recent development is the new Auburn Plaza Bar & Lounge, which opened July 31. This sister restaurant will have a dive-bar feel and serve upscale bar food and drinks in Midtown Auburn. Guests can also enjoy live music on the patio while they dine. After sitting down and taking in the scene, guests can look over a menu chock full of good options. The executive chef has many top-selling favorites he recommends newcomers try: Bacon-Wrapped Wickle’s Okra, the Daily Gulf Offering and the Grilled Prime Ribeye. The best-selling soup and salad dish is Meme’s Caesar Salad. The most popular dessert is the Coconut Cake. Menu items come at a variety of prices. Some entrees are more upscale than others. Dine on a fancier steak or choose something more traditional and classic. The menu is kept modest by design – the restaurant aims at quality over quantity.

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The staff regularly updates the seasonal menu to stay in line with what local ingredients are available. That, along with the extensive meal preparation that goes into every dish pumped out of their kitchen, elevates this local business to the next level. Watson takes pride in his dedication to quality service and clean, organic ingredients. The Waverly Local also takes pride in its bar menu, which features signature cocktails and numerous wine and beer choices. Anderson and Watson truly established a local gem that has proven its reputation as a restaurant to beat. It is a place to gather with family or friends while enjoying each other’s company over fresh, Southern food. “We have a unique opportunity in this hospitality business to be a part of one of the most sacred parts of a family’s/friend’s/neighbor’s tradition, to share a meal. We’re truly honored when someone allows us to be a part of that special time. It’s quite rewarding when we can make someone smile through our hospitality and be a part of a special memory.”

Drink • Eat • Play


A Downtown Home I

f you’re walking through downtown Auburn on a game day, you’ll likely pass a large line of people waiting for a seat at Hamilton’s. The restaurant is a popular stop for guests, out-oftowners, families and the football crowd. Hamilton’s has been located on the corner of Magnolia and Gay Street since the early 2000s but grew to what it’s known as today when George Spence and his brother-in-law Jim Parker bought it in 2008. Patrick Gallagher, the executive chef, worked at Hamilton’s when it originally opened but left before Spence and Parker ever took over. “He didn’t like the way it was being run but knew it could be a very successful business if it was run properly,” Spence said. This inspired Spence, he said, and is what turned the downtrodden business into a popular evening destination. The spot had been closed for roughly a year when Spence and Parker came

Story By Hannah Lester Photos By Robert Noles —28—


It’s really cool where people that I used to hang out with after work, would have a drink with at the bar, they come in now and they’ve got a teenager getting ready to come in here; it’s still their favorite place. That’s the relationships that you build. It’s a community.

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Drink • Eat • Play


in, and the place needed to be remodeled. Gallagher said the entire restaurant used to be a lot smaller and the kitchen was farther up into the restaurant, more prominent and closer to guests. “It was half the size of what it is today,” he said. Thankfully, a lot of the headaches of opening a new restaurant were avoided by remodeling an existing place, Gallagher said. “They didn’t see the true struggles and difficulties that go into opening a brand new restaurant because we already had an existing platform on which to build,” he said. “Because it was strong from 2000 to the day the doors closed.” Of course, running a business takes a lot out of you, nonetheless. “For probably three years I was seven days a week, open to close,” Spence said. “So, I’m not scared of work, what I need to do, wasn’t any big deal.” Despite the long hours and never-ending responsibilities, Spence was ready for more not too long after the restaurant opened. The Magnolia Ave and Gay Street location is not the only branch of Hamilton’s – another was opened five years ago on Ogletree Road. If you hopped on over to the Ogletree Road location, however, when the spot originally opened, it was Tex-

Mex. But this didn’t last long, Spence said. Now, it’s a second location of the popular Auburn spot. “There was still name recognition from our brand, as being sister restaurants,” Gallagher said. Instead of college students and their parents on move-in day and families on football weekends, the Ogletree location serves the community, Spence said. “I didn’t realize how many people lived across that bridge,” Gallagher said. “I had no clue. I knew there were some houses and stuff like that but I didn’t realize the amount of our regulars every evening, twice a week that drive from out there to fight this downtown traffic.” One of the best parts of the business is the customers who come back again and again, sometimes night after night, Spence said. There are tables held for regular customers, and Spence knows he’ll see some of his customers nine times a week. “Twice a day and then every night,” he said. “And if they’ve missed a few days, we’ll call them.” Gallagher said that as the years pass, he and Spence get to see generations of customers. “It’s really cool where people that I used to hang out with after work, would have a drink with at the bar, they come in now and they’ve got a teenager getting ready to come in here; it’s still their favorite place,” he said. “ That’s the relationships that you build. It’s a community.” Customers can think of Hamilton’s kind of like Floyd’s barbershop in the Andy Griffith Show: a place to talk and build relationships. “We know what’s going on with their family,” Gallagher said. “We know who’s sick, who’s having a baby, vice versa. It’s the community.”

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Authentic Jamaican Story By Will Fairless Photos By Hannah Lester

M

amee’s Kitchen is the closest Jamaican restaurant in the area and is unique not only among Lee County restaurants, but among Jamaican restaurants, too. Michael Anderson, a Jamaican-born Auburn University graduate and the owner of Mamee’s (pronounced “MOM-eez”) Kitchen, explained that no two Jamaicans cook alike. “Every Jamaican cooks differently,” Anderson said. “You’re not gonna have one Jamaican cook the same [as I do].”

He cooks like his grandmother, mother and sister cooked when he was growing up. He is faithfully devoted to recreating the tastes that remind him of home. “Back in the days, [we] couldn’t afford meat,” he said. “So when you steam the vegetable, you steam it for it to taste like meat. The cabbage is supposed to taste like meat when you finish it.” He prepares cabbage that tastes like meat and meat that tastes good enough to warrant, according to Anderson, a 30 or 45 minute drive for people from nearby areas like Columbus, away from their more conveniently

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located Jamaican dining options. He does so without his family recipe. It’s not that his family members are clinging to their secret ratios of spices and herbs, but because there are no recipes that exist, at least not on paper, for what Anderson makes. In fact, he’s offended and dismissive of any suggestion of a written set of instructions for, say, his curry goat. “You don’t– no ‘two teaspoon of this,’ you don’t use no measurement,” Anderson said. “Taste and taste, taste constantly, make sure you have the right blend. You put a bit in, you taste, you go, ‘That’s enough.’ A real Jamaican don’t cook off a recipe.” Pressed on what spice blend he uses on his jerk chicken, he chuckled and said, “If you’re not Jamaican, you’re not really gonna understand. But if you taste the food as an American,” he paused then delivered in a relaxed, steel-drums-in-the-background voice, “you will understand. You will taste the seasoning.” He was equally evasive about the mixture used in “Island Punch,” which Anderson recommends drinking with every plate of food. Anderson opened Mamee’s two and a half years ago after he retired from law enforcement. He was a corrections officer in Lee County for 10 years, and he’d spent eight years doing the same in New York and North Carolina. “[Cooking is] a passion,” he said. “That’s why I left the department. Because you don’t know your gift until

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you try. You always doubt yourself. But if you’ve got a gift, you have to explore the gift. If you don’t use the gift, it should be taken away from you.” It’s not surprising that Anderson is a preacher, and he said his faith has helped him tremendously with Mamee’s. “This business is some serious business, and one mistake, the whole thing shuts down,” he said. “I have to give God thanks. I don’t even worry about slow days no more, I just know the door is open.” Anderson credits his wife with supporting him in his desire to open a restaurant. He said that without her, there would be no Mamee’s. “I was tired of working for other folks. Once I called my wife and my wife told me, ‘I got you,’ that’s all I needed.” Anderson’s vision for the future of Mamee’s includes opening more locations. He currently does all of the cooking for the restaurant, so that expansion is dependent on finding someone (a Jamaican, Anderson emphasized) who can at least come close to replicating what people have come to expect from Mamee’s: cabbage that tastes like meat, meat that is practically jumping off the bone and a flavor that can only be experienced, not explained. “I don’t have the foot traffic, but it’s coming,” Anderson said. “I can feel it in my spirit. When people come here, they enjoy the food.” Mamee’s is located at 16583 US-280 in Smiths Station– if you see a recipe, you’re in the wrong place.

Drink • Eat • Play


Pokemen: Opelika’s

hit poke bowl and ramen bar Story By Natalie Anderson

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okemen, a locally owned restaurant located at 2701 Frederick Road in Opelika, provides customers with a unique dining experience. Pokemen offers “build your own” poke bowls or ramen with various options for protein, toppings and seasonings. Both the poke bowl and ramen dining options are completely customizable. After visiting Pokemen shortly after their opening, I’ve become a loyal customer, often finding my sushi craving is satisfied by a poke bowl. While there are plenty of options to choose, I tend to order the same exact thing with the same toppings because it’s just that good! Customers are asked to choose an entree size ranging small to large. For example the medium sized bowl holds three different types of protein. Diners are able to choose from white rice, brown rice or a spring mix for the base of the meal. The traditional Hawaiian dish consists of fresh, raw fish such as tuna or salmon. Other protein options include chicken and tofu. Customers are able to choose their favorite fresh toppings and seasonings as they go down the line, similar to Chipotle.

Pokemen also offers fresh ramen with their homemade noodles made right in store. Diners follow similar ordering procedures by choosing size, protein, toppings and seasonings for their ramen meal. There are vegetables options such as lettuce, kale, edamame or fruit options, such as fresh pineapples. When arriving at Pokemen, diners can expect a friendly, welcoming and clean environment. With modern indoor seating, customers have the option to stay and dine in or take their meal to go. MY POKE BOWL ORDER: •Medium bowl, brown rice, spicy tuna, salmon, regular tuna, pineapples, edamame, seaweed, masago, crab meat, corn, spicy mayo, tempura flakes and avocado ($1 upgrade.) With prices ranging from $9.25 to $13.25 (upgrades available), Pokemen is a fast and fresh dining experience for people of all ages. Pokemen has also joined with DoorDash and FetchMe for delivery options among the local community. For more information, visit Pokemen’s Facebook page or call their store at 334-737-6353.

TaqueriaDurango

A

Flavorandauthenticityaboundatone ofAuburn’sbest-keptsecrets

Story By Derek Herscovici

uthenticity, convenience and style are hard traits to hold in Mexican cuisine north of the border. One is enough, two even better, but exhibiting all three, like Taqueria Durango does, is well worth mentioning.

Open since 2010, this family-owned and -operated restaurant serves dishes similar to what the kind owner and head chef Jesus Santillanes grew up eating in Durango, Mexico. Unlike the so-called “Tex-Mex” style of Americanized Mexican cuisine, these dishes are designed

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LoveAndHate:Catfish Story by Michelle Key

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atfish. You either love it or you hate it. Or, if you’re like me, you once loved it, then hated it, and now love it again. Let me explain. My love-hate-love relationship with fried catfish began when I was just 9 years old. I remember standing in a long line with my family, waiting to be seated at a new restaurant on its opening night. This was my first memory of trying fried catfish fillets and I was hooked. For 12 glorious years I would enjoy fried catfish from various restaurants. And then, all it took was one bite to change my love for the fish for a hatred so deep and visceral that even the thought of the name would elicit a physical response. I won’t go into detail but will leave it to your imagination – but let’s just say that a hot South Carolina summer afternoon, poorly-cleaned fried catfish at a church fish-fry and pregnancy do not go down well. While I mourned the loss of a once-favorite food, I simply could not force myself to even try it again. Just thinking about it would trigger the never really forgotten memory of that last bite, bringing all the woe back to the surface of my mind. Nearly 30 years have passed while in this hate phase of the relationship. Earlier this year, I pushed those rotten memories aside and tentatively plunged into a plate of catfish from a local eatery that I trusted. It only took a few bites before I was once again hooked.

Since then, I have tried catfish at a few different places, one of the most recent being Charlie’s Family Kitchen, which is located at the Cary Creek shopping center in Auburn. Charlie’s offers both a catfish snack, which contains two fillets, fries and hushpuppies, and a catfish plate containing coleslaw, four fillets, fries and hushpuppies. Charlie’s catfish is lightly coated with a blend of cornmeal, corn flour and seasonings and lightly fried until perfection. It is neither greasy nor heavy but lands on the plate with a light but crispy breading and delicious tender meat on the inside. The coleslaw is made in house and is a delight. Charlie’s Family Kitchen (formerly operated as Louie’s Chicken Fingers) is family-owned and operated by Ryan and Candice Willis and Ricky and Kathy Watts. My family has experienced nothing but the best customer service during our visits to Charlie’s. Staff took the time to answer what probably seemed like endless questions about their ingredients so that we would know what was safe for our family members who have food allergies and intolerances. They were patient, kind and eager to assist in any way possible to ensure that we had a positive experience. Charlie’s menu includes much more than catfish; It has things like burgers, chili dogs, chicken fingers, salads, vegetables, wings and more. So even if you too have a love-hate relationship with catfish, you are sure to find something to love at Charlie’s.

to be authentic, culturally correct and reflected in the restaurant’s bilingual menu. These days, Durango Taqueria is celebrated around town for its inviting, family-friendly atmosphere and its flavorful combinations. Savory tacos served a la carte feature a sizzling array of options like spicy chorizo, barbacoa and marinated pastor (pork) among others. Smothered in onions, cilantro and drizzled with tangy lime juice, the carne asada (grilled steak) tacos on a corn tortilla must be tasted to be believed.

Larger entrees like the Pechuga de Pollo combination center around grilled chicken packed with flavor, while the crispy whole tilapia in the Mojarra Frita and the pork ribs in the Costillas de Puerco are modern takes on traditional recipes. The restaurant also offers brunch options, including traditional Huevos & Salchicha (sausage), or, for the more adventurous, the Huevos & Nopales blends the paddle-shaped cactus with eggs on a tortilla.

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Drink • Eat • Play


There’s a lot of places in town that they make very, very good cocktails but they don’t go to the lengths that we do.

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Opelika’s Speakeasy Story and photos by Hannah Lester

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ou could walk back and forth along First Avenue in Opelika and pass the door for Sneak and Dawdle without ever knowing it. “Sneak and Dawdle is kind of a secluded cocktail lounge located kind of like the outer edge of the historic downtown Opelika,” said Casper Obrzut, cocktail curator for Sneak and Dawdle. “An area that, over the last two years, has been growing exponentially.” The Opelika speakeasy is hidden away, no sign on the door, no awning or patio seating. The bar must be found - and there is a little clue to give it away. If you’re trying to find the joint, look for a bear on the door.

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Sneak and Dawdle opened New Years Eve 2019, so they’ve been in business over a year and a half. Matthew Poirier, who owns Sneak and Dawdle, also owns The Hound and The Depot, two local Auburn restaurants, so a bar was the obvious next move. “There are plenty of places for the kids to drink, not a lot of places for the adults to drink,” Poirier said. “And I definitely cater to all who are of legal age, but I wanted to give a place for people to lounge and have a drink that’s not packed with students.” He was inspired by a couple of other speakeasies, some as far as San Francisco and others as close as Birmingham. You may not need a password to enter - but you may struggle to find the door. “People ask where it is, we just say, look for the bear,” Obrzut said. “Standing outside sometimes, I see people going back and forth. People like kind of the secluded aspect of it, but it’s not in the traditional sense of a speakeasy where you have to look for a telephone booth or slide open some laundry machines.” Although perhaps not a traditional speakeasy, Sneak and Dawdle brings a unique vibe to downtown Opelika. “It’s got a different feel when you’re in there,” said Matthew Casey, general manager of Sneak and Dawdle. “I don’t feel like I’m in Lee County … when you walk in there, you’re kind of leaving the world behind and you’re kind of in your own little world.”

READY TO ORDER: Sneak and Dawdle is surrounded by bars - Avondale Brewery, John Emerald Distillery, Resting Pulse Brewing Company and more, so the speakeasy needed to find its own niche, Obrzut said. “Keeping up with all the trends, the bar trends and everything, and making sure that we’re coming up with something new,” he said. The bar tries to keep things unique with its cocktails, Obrzut said. “It’s not all Bud Lights and Jack and Cokes,” Casey said. Customers can come in and try something they’ve never had before. “The approach that we’re trying to take is modernizing classic cocktails, if not creating new cocktails altogether,” Obrzut said. Of course, creating new cocktails is difficult because so many are already out there, he said. So taking a classic and putting a spin on it is almost like creating something new. “There’s a lot of places in town that they make very, very good cocktails but they don’t go to the lengths that we do, with creating these intricate syrups from scratch, and making sure that all of our fruit is fresh and not keeping certain juices for longer than a certain period of time,” Obrzut said. “… Just caring about the actual product.” The fresh fruit makes all the difference, the two said. In fact a lot of customers aren’t even sure what juices

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they really like because a lot of what they’ve tried hasn’t been fresh before, Casey said. “Always have fresh juice, if we can get something and squeeze it, we’re going to do it,” he said. “I mean, about the only thing we don’t actively [keep fresh] is cranberry juice and pomegranate juice because it’s kind of a pain. But fresh pineapple juice. We’ll do blackberry purees, now with the infusion laws we’ll infuse our own, make a peach schnapps. We’ll make a limoncello. Just doing everything in house, by hand, as much as we can just makes everything taste a little better.” For instance, at Sneak and Dawdle, if you order a pineapple pina colada, it’s going to be much better because the juice is fresh, Obrzut said. Fridays and the weekends are the busiest days for Sneak and Dawdle. There is the before dinner crowd and the after dinner crowd. “We’ll have a pretty large crowd come in usually and it usually stays pretty busy from 10 until 12:30 or 1 [a.m.],” Casey said. The bar will also host events with other businesses in the area. Before the pandemic began, Sneak and Dawdle hosted a popup with The Depot and with The Hound where the chefs would come in with their food and guests could get a taste of the bar and local restaurants, Casey said.

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THE REWARD: “There’s just people that you would never expect, you see walking down the street and expect that they’re a regular at a bar,” Obrzut said. “And I feel like everybody in Opelika is my regular. It’s very rewarding to have someone walk into the bar and you recognize them and them not even have to say anything and their drink is already in front of them.” Casper said its rewarding to have customers watch him do his work, making drinks. “Say that we smoke a glass, we light the wood chips on fire, we put the glass over it to start smoking and there’s a guy looking at that and then all of a sudden he yells, he goes ‘Brad, come here, you need to see this,’” Obrzut said. “It’s like, you know, it just makes me smile. And then you have to do it again so Brad can see.” Poirier said that he trains his staff to be the server or bartender a customer needs. “When you ask the question, ‘What’s a great bartender,’ and it depends on the person,” he said. “Some people it’s, ‘Hey, I want my Michelob Ultra as soon as I walk in, you remember my name and keep them coming until I tell you to stop,’ That’s a great bartender. Other people it’s, a dissertation on bourbon or on wine or something like that and they want to know everything about it. That’s a great bartender.”

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In need of a drink?

There are several local bars that cater to every mood, atmosphere or obscure drink.

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AMPERSAND WINE BAR

“We are a wine bar in the heart of Downtown Opelika assisting with all of your glass and bottle needs,” the bar’s Facebook page said. “With over 400 by-the-glass options on any given day, we offer the largest glass selection in the country.” The wine bar is located at 817 South Railroad Ave. in Opelika and although it has no website, much of its information can be found on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ampersand.wine/).

THE AVONDALE BAR AND TAP ROOM

Avondale Bar and Tap Room requires a bit of know-how to find. Located at the top of a staircase in downtown Auburn, the bar has a view of Toomer’s Corner. “A destination for quality spirits and craft beer,” Avondale said on its Facebook. More information can be found on the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/avondaleauburn/).

RESTING PULSE BREWING COMPANY

“Our vision for the Resting Pulse Brewing Company is to create an environment where you can come find your “resting pulse” - to relax and spend time with friends and family while exploring new and exciting local craft beers,” the website said. Resting Pulse often has live music, an extensive food menu and a craft beer for anyone, from “Mango Madness,” with a hint of blackberry, to “Pumpkin Pie Ale” or a “Blood Sweat And Cheers” with red hawaiian sea salted blood orange gose. Resting Pulse is located at 714 1st Avenue in Opelika and its hours and phone number can be found online on its website (restingpulsebrewing. com).

RED CLAY BREWING COMPANY

“Red Clay Brewing has its roots firmly entrenched in the South,” the bar said on its website. “The founders of the Company were all born and raised here. The “red clay” that is native to this region of the south and what we all knew so well growing up became a natural moniker for our busi-

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ness. Red Clay Brewing simply represents us: our history and the South we love and call home.” Red Clay Brewery is located at 704 N Railroad Ave in Opelika and more information can be found on its website (redclaybrewingcompany.com).

JOHN EMERALD DISTILLING COMPANY

“We are proud of our heritage,” the bar said on its website. “From the original three Sharp brothers who ventured to America from Scotland to the namesake of our company, John Emerald Sharp, the Sharps have lived lives of integrity, honoring God, their fellow man and their family. So when it came time to name our distillery the idea to honor our forefathers in name and spirit rang true.” The bar, located at 706 North Railroad Avenue in Opelika, has a number of unique cocktails, which can be found on the website (www.johnemeralddistilling.com/about).

SOUTHEASTERN BAR

“Welcome to SouthEastern,” the bar’s website said. “The newest addition to Auburn nightlife. Featuring one of the longest bars in the SEC downstairs and in the loft, a cocktail bar serving premium spirits, mixed drinks, and drafts. Our kitchen offers a full menu nightly and a constantly rotating cast of live bands and DJs ensure Southeastern Bar will be your go to destination for food, drinks, and entertainment in the area.” The bar is located at 108 W Magnolia Ave in Auburn and more information, such as hours and a menu, can be found online (southeasternbar.com).

WHISTLE STOP BOTTLE AND BREW

“When it’s time to choose the right Homebrew Store for your needs, you can count on Whistle Stop Brew Shop for quality products that will fit your budget,” Whistle Stop said on its website. “We guarantee you receive only the best quality products in the Auburn/Opelika area.” Whistle Stop is unique because it offers kits to allow patrons to do their own brewing. Whistle Hop is located at 830 N Railroad Ave, Opelika, AL 36801 and more information is available on the website (whistlehop.com.)

Drink • Eat • Play


Head to the Tracks

Grab a Glass

G

Story By Hannah Lester Photos By Robert Noles

rab a glass, enjoy some wine and relax in one of Lee County’s most charming spots - Downtown Opelika - for this year’s On the Tracks event on Oct. 9. “On the Tracks is really a unique wine and food event that’s been a staple of our downtown for a long time,” said Ken Ward, director of Opelika Main Street. Normally, On the Tracks is an event that allows guests to make stops all throughout the city in different businesses to sample wine and cheese. “It’s an opportunity to enjoy various different

types of wine from around the world in our beautiful downtown atmosphere,” Ward said. “We have a beautiful, historic downtown and this is a great way to enjoy it while also enjoying some good wine.” Thanks to the coronavirus, however, this year’s event will look a little different. “This new format we’re looking at is doing more of a table-side format so it’ll be all outside on South Railroad Street and people will actually be able to sit socially distant at round tables and they will have their wine brought to them through the night,” Ward said.

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Of course, the Opelika businesses will still be involved, even if guests won’t be getting their wine inside of Envy Salon or 10,000 HZ. For instance, all the sampled wine is available for purchase in Ampersand Wine Bar, Ward said. “So if you find something you love and you’d like to take it home you can always go purchase it there after the event,” he said. Ward said that although things are different, Opelika Main Street still wants to involve the businesses as best it can, though there are kinks to work out since social distancing must be enforced. Next year, Opelika Main Street plans to return to normal, as most hope life will too. “We’re going to be returning to the normal format once all this is over next year but this is kind of a year where we know it’s different,” Ward said.

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Although many things are different, Opelika Main Street is bringing something new to the event as well. This year, experts will be on hand to discuss the different wines, Ward said. “So they will be able to talk to the attendees about the different types of wine and be knowledgable about the types of wine,” he said. “So we’re really looking forward to bringing that new aspect of this event as well.” Each year there is live music and food trucks, so that guests don’t go hungry while sampling their wine. “It’s a great way to enjoy time with family, friends and coworkers or whoever else you’d like to bring to the event,” Ward said. “It’s a great date night and it’s just a unique opportunity to enjoy some good wine, some good food and some good music.”

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Raise a paddle for Storybook Farm Story By Hannah Lester Photos By Robert Noles

L

ee County has its own traditions when it comes to the most exciting two minutes in sports. Derby Day was celebrated at Storybook Farm this year, and despite the pandemic, guests were dressed to the nines. “The Kentucky Derby is my favorite day

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of the year to begin with,” said Dena Little, executive director of Storybook Farm. “I’m a horse enthusiast and grew up with horses and have ridden my whole life so the Derby’s always been super important to me. It’s a little odd to do it in September rather than the first weekend of May but the weather almost feels

Drink • Eat • Play


like May. Storybook Farm is a Lee County local non-profit that gives children a chance to grow and learn through horseback riding. Many of Storybook Farm’s children are growing up with challenges like autism, cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, sensory issues and more. “You’re changing childhoods with every dollar that you spend at this event,” Little said. Derby Day is Storybook Farm’s annual fundraising event, though it is normally held in May, in time with the Kentucky Derby. Since the derby itself was delayed this year due to the pandemic, so was Lee County’s own event. “For the current climate that we’re in, the turnout is fantastic,” Little said. “Everybody’s having a great time, the day is absolutely exquisite. The Lord has really blessed us with very low humidity, beautiful sunshine, the farm is beautiful. And so many people have worked so hard to make this possible for the kids at Storybook.”

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The Event:

Before the race is ever run, there is a lot to do at Derby Day. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a silent and live auction, eat and mingle and then there are the awards for Dapper Dan and Most Spectacular Hat. “Of course everybody likes dressing up but it’s dressing up for a great cause,” said Liliana Stern, who is a professor at Auburn University and volunteers at Storybook. “And this is what makes this party very special.” Speaking of dressing up, the choices were broad for Dapper Dan and Most Spectacular Hat. Women wore hats in all colors of the rainbow, some with ribbons, some with bows, some homemade and some from Amazon. Neil Kalin, who won the Dapper Dan award, said he has been a patron of Storybook Farm for fifteen to twenty years. He showed up in a blue suit and a tie with horses but the judges said his hat put him over the top. “Seeing as though I haven’t won anything in about fifty years, and because of my age, at this

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stage in life … I’m a very happy, lucky person,” he said. Danielle Hayes, this year’s Most Spectacular Hat winner, actually made the winning item herself. “I’ve always made my hats because it’s fun,” Hayes said. “I’ve never gotten up there before, so I’m excited.” Additionally, she wore a purse made from a license plate, more specifically, a Kentucky plate with a horse. “Ever since me and my husband were newlyweds, we have supported Storybook Farm,” Hayes said. “It’s a wonderful organization and they put on the best party at Auburn.” Following the awards, Rep. Joe Lovvorn spoke and then the live auction began. “To me, to be able to partner with something as iconic as the Kentucky Derby’s 146th running of the derby, they have yet to miss a race and Storybook is just that important to the kids that we serve,” Little said. “They don’t miss a day. They come out. They enjoy the farm, they enjoy the animals.”

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Let

the

Good Times Roll Story By Wil Crews Photos By Robert Noles

H

ow do you roll? Hopefully, it’s with Good Times Bowling Alley, located at 750 E Glenn Ave, in Auburn. Classified as a family entertainment center, Good Times is not your average bowling alley. “It’s not the traditional, where it smells like cigarette smoke and feels like a locker room,” said the owner of Good Times, Scott Good. “Its good, clean fun.” For a man who has spent half a lifetime around the lanes, when the opportunity to open his own place presented itself, Good jumped and opened the business in April 2018. “It’s always been a dream of mine and my family,” he said. In fact, the dream goes back 45 years. Originally from Phenix City, Good has been bowling for as long as he can remember. “I was kind of a bowling brat coming up,” he said.

His Dad, an avid bowler, would take him to the local alley where Good made $2 a night keeping score. That was before any fancy televisions gave bowlers a fun animated reminder of how the ball just went straight into the gutter. Upon graduating high school, Good was offered the opportunity to go into the pro shop business; buying, selling and drilling balls for hardcore bowlers. The promotion from score keeper to shop keeper, as if the timeless, multicolored bowling shoes weren’t enough, convinced Good that he could make a living helping others fine tune their bowling craft. He went on to open Scott’s Pro Shop in Phenix City in 1985 and worked there for two years before moving to Peach Lanes in Columbus, GA. He was there for over 26 years before opening Good Times in Auburn. “In 2010, we were in discussions with it, but could never get the stars to line up to make it happen,” he said.

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Like a ball that’s rolled perfectly and hits the front pin at just the slightest angle, he knew that the timing was just right. Good felt the need for more family centered activities as he looked around the college town. “I thought everything revolved around the college atmosphere and that university,” he said. So, Good knew exactly how he wanted to build his bowling alley. “We wanted it to be high end, something to be proud of,” he said. “We’re not there to sell the cheapest drinks, have sloppy fights and bad language. We try to create a safe atmosphere where anyone can have fun.” The second you walk through Good Times’s front doors, you know the owner achieved his goal. The first thing that stands out is probably the expansive game room that features every retro game imaginable, enough to make anyone feel as if they have been transported back to their favorite childhood arcade. But don’t let it distract you for too long; Good Times has plenty more to offer. For starters, Good ditched those cold, stiff, seats where bowlers could sorrowfully sit after failing to hit a strike. Luxurious, plush and spacious couches outline the bowling lanes, providing the ideal place to sit back, relax and sud-

denly yell at your friend in an attempt to distract them on their roll. There are 16 lanes in total and at the ends are eight video boards that make it the perfect place for watching weekend football games. Even if it’s a busy night, there is more there than just balls and pins. A fully equipped bar and kitchen serve up all the classic bowling alley favorites. Bowlers can feast on over-sized eats with one hand while throwing strikes with the other. With a seemingly endless array of draft beers on tap, and all the pizza, pretzels and hotdogs that one can eat, Good Times also has menu items like sandwiches, burgers and desserts that would put your local diner to shame. For the thrill seekers in the party, they are equipped with two escape rooms where family and friends can spend hours getting lost. Interested in a party for your children, family or group? Good Times has two party rooms that will help you throw a celebration fitting for any special occasion. In short, as their website puts it, Good Times transforms one of America’s favorite recreational pastimes into something worthy of the 21st century. “[Good Times] is for everybody,” Good said. “I’d just like to make everyone feel comfortable to come out. Just to give people a sense of normality. I can’t say that enough.”

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Drink • Eat • Play


CyberZone

Games, games and more games

Story By Derek Herscovici Photos By Robert Noles

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eality has been tough lately. After a long, hot, socially distanced summer, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t left us yet. But there’s a place you can go and escape the real world, where fun is the only priority and the options for entertainment are endless. Welcome to CyberZone, a massive gaming arcade and laser tag experience that begins the moment you walk through the door. “My favorite part of CyberZone is it blocks out the outside,” said Managing Director Simon Bak. “When it’s storming and raining and just awful outside, there’s no difference in CyberZone. Between the lights, the sound and everything, you can just get lost in that world.” When CyberZone first opened in June 2013, Bak and the other founders had a simple but lofty goal: bring the kind of big-city entertainment found in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco right to Lee County, but at small-town prices. A former cast member at Disney for eight years, Bak wanted from the beginning to create an immersive entertainment experience for guests of all ages. After opening with an 18-game arcade and a moderately sized laser tag arena, CyberZone has grown over the years to incorporate dining, Esports, retro arcade

games and more. Built inside an old grocery store, CyberZone opened at only 50% capacity and expanded to 8% more, with plenty of room to continue growing. “The more successful that the business became, [the more] we reinvested all of our profits to grow the company,” Bak said. “And it worked, because it was more organic than just trying to open a huge facility and hope it works for the next 10 years.” One of the biggest evolutions to CyberZone was the arrival of the Esports lobby, born out of a booming interest in arena-sized competitive games like League of Legends and Overwatch. Bak and his team research the cutting edge in gaming tech in Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., then worked with gaming giant Alienware to build the 18 desktop stations used at CyberZone. They even installed their own built-in server specific for Esports to serve as an official competition center that could connect gamers to international events. “We thought this was a good fit, it was progressive; we needed something that would stand out and not be another ‘normal-ish’ type of attraction,” Bak said. “Esports is definitely the fore of what a lot of people were looking at.” Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bak had to shut down the Esports center, as well as the restaurant, but hopes to reopen them in a limited capacity

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later in the year. That isn’t the only change he’s made to keep CyberZone open: hand-sanitizers, games spaced six feet apart and cleaning wipes near every arcade are helping to keep things running. But even the pandemic can’t stop CyberZone’s growth. Bak plans to have an “exterior upgrade” to the building’s nondescript façade in time for the renovation of 1st Avenue, as well as bring more “adult things” like a restaurant expansion in the near future. Laser tag is slated for a major renovation that would allow physical spectators in the area separate from the game. We’re at the forefront of learning how to use this to make the experience even more interactive,” Bak said. CYBERZONE ATTRACTIONS LAZER TAG The CyberZone is the namesake attraction, and for good reason — a sprawling map, state-of-the-art equipment and more lights than a disco await novice and experienced players alike. Up to 28 players on two teams have over 6,200 square feet to square off on an ever-shifting map updated every six months. ARCADE The ever-growing arcade has become a main attraction of CyberZone, with more than 65 new and classic games to thrill users of all ages, including top-of-theline Redemption games and 4-on-4 Halo. The recent

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addition of the CyberZone Fun Card lets guests swipe to continue playing and offers access to bonuses, discounts and more. REPLAY ZONE Nostalgia lives on in the Replay Zone, where retro, vintage and classic arcade games are available for play all day. If you grew up playing Pac-man, Joust, Galaga, Donkey Kong and pinball, this is the place for you. ESPORTS One of CyberZone’s most unique attractions is its Esports lobby, where up to 18 guests can challenge each other in a custom-built, state of the art facility with large monitors, gamer-specific keyboards, personal headsets and comfortable seats. Users can download their own profiles and compete in local and international events. User passes for the Esports lobby are available in one-hour, three-hour and all-day packages. ATOMIC RUSH Games are not limited to just the virtual at CyberZone, either. Atomic RUSH pits players in a real-life video game where they need to tap colored panels in a certain sequence to rack up points. Play head-to-head against an opponent or on two teams of up to 4 people. It’s fun for the whole family to enjoy at just $2 per person and with three different skill levels.

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Ready to Rock? Ready to Roll?

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Story By Hannah Lester Photos Contributed By Ernie Rains

an of The Beatles? Meet Ernie Rains, whose vintage The Beatles pinball machine prompted him to open a pinball arcade in Opelika. Rock ‘N Roll Pinball is one of a kind for the area, an arcade full of both vintage and modern pinball machines for the amateur or the professional.

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His First Machine: Rains did not grow up as a pinball enthusiast; it became a hobby for him a couple years ago as he approached retirement. He thought he might spend his time working on his 1987 Corvette but was exploring other ideas for

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what to do when he would no longer be at work every day. “I thought about maybe reliving a little childhood joy and getting a pinball machine for the house,” Rains said. He said he was a little worried about what would happen if he bought a vintage machine– would he even know how to take care of it? “So I decided to buy a brand new machine and I did some research and the number one pinball manufacturing company in the world was Stern,” he said. “And I went to their website and lo and behold, I saw that they were coming out with The Beatles pinball machine.” The machine is based on The Beatles’ first years in America, ‘The British Invasion.’ Of course, it was a popular machine and was being displayed in Birmingham. Rains made the drive and purchased the machine for $8,000. “Funny thing is, I spent $8,000 on the Corvette, and I thought, you know what, I will probably have more satisfaction playing The Beatles machine over and over and over again and getting really good at it than I was getting out of my Corvette.” Rains said that after purchasing his own machine, he began wondering if there were others in his area who liked pinball too. What Rains was thinking: an entire arcade with a purpose for pinball machines.

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Building an idea … and a team: Rains, his fiancé and a buddy’s family took a trip to Asheville, NC, and visited a pinball museum as he was still developing his idea. “The whole experience of that pinball museum plus the revelation about, ‘Hey, pinball machines cost more than you think,’ kind of revealed to me that maybe there’s a niche for an arcade,” he said. While the idea was still in its infancy, he found a few friends online who were familiar with different machines, tournaments and routing and kept an eye out for people he could bring on board. One of these visits led to Stephen Gentry, who had experience buying pinball machines, knowing if they are in good condition and owns 25 himself. Stephen had a friend, Scott Mount, who knew how to repair the machines too. “So I looked at these two guys and I said, ‘Hey, this would be the colonel of the team, if we formed a team to put together an arcade,’” Rains said. Lucky for Rains, the two accepted and jumped on board with a lot of ideas of their own. Although Mount knew how to repair machines, his forte was in modern pinball, not vintage. So the three brought on Brian Briggs, who knew how to repair vintage pinball machines.

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Finally, Brian’s daughter Amy Briggs joined the team as the business and entertainment director and general manager for Rock ‘N Roll Pinball. The experience: The arcade is a place for both the younger and older crowd, Rains said. “We’ll have 25 pinball machines, seven large screen TVs, a western-style bar, two video arcade machines that play over 150 different games,” he said. Rains modeled a lot from the pinball museum in Asheville. For instance, at Rock n’ Roll Pinball, there will be an entry fee, $15, rather than a price for each individual machine. “Pinball is very hands-on,” Rains said. “There is no comparison between the video version of pinball or any kind of video computerized game and the actual pinball experience. The pinball experience will always be unique. You will never, ever have two pinball games exactly alike.” The games will include Rains’ The Beatles machine, along with others such as a Stranger Things Pinball machine, an AC/DC machine, a Captain Fantastic machine, an Iron Man machine and many more. Rock ‘N Roll Pinball is located at 815 South Railroad Ave and can be reached at (334) 324-1406. “I feel like Opelika is the perfect fit for something like a retro activity like pinball.”

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Embrace The Nerd Story By Will Fairless Photos Contributed By The Nerd Torch Cafe

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he NERDtorch Cafe’s blackout curtains and door that is locked during Business hours do not betray the welcoming environment that lies behind them. Located in downtown Opelika, NERDtorch, as advertised on the street side of those curtains, is a place for video games, cosplay, tabletop games and food. The overarching term for what the café celebrates is “Nerd Culture.” Nigel Mongerie, who owns the place with his wife, defines Nerd Culture like this: “Basically people who are interested in comic books, video games, anime. Those are our three staples for what Nerd Culture involves. From there you have subcultures, like in all three of those you have cosplay.” The inside of the cafe is a nerd’s paradise. Two of the walls are plastered corner to corner with comic book pages, movie posters and video game posters. There are TV screens and computer monitors lined up around the room and through its center, each hooked up to a gaming console or PC and facing out at chairs and corresponding controllers.

Off of the main room is a studio for live streaming, video editing, music production or anything else that fits into Nerd Culture, however loosely. “What we want to be known for is being an overall community center for people who are interested in Nerd Culture,” Mongerie said. The café offers food for its patrons, the constantly shifting menu currently including burgers, fries, pizza, nachos and milkshakes; as Mongerie put it, “typical gamer food.” He explained that the menu has to change frequently because a large portion of his customers are regulars who spend a lot of time, and eat a lot of meals, in NERDtorch. “Unlike most businesses, probably like 90% of our customers are regulars,” Mongerie said. “The majority of people that are here, we see them every day.” That fact, the overwhelming majority of this business’s patrons being regulars, is unusual among most businesses, yes, but it’s also unique in the Nerd Culture business. NERDtorch operates somewhat like a gym or a club. Typically, meaning when coronavirus is not

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a concern, patrons can pay $10 for an all-day pass, which covers the café’s 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. business hours, or $25 for a monthly pass. Mongerie described the typical gaming business model of selling 30-odd-minute passes to customers. “[Other gaming venues] focus too much on the games,” he said. “It’s like you bring them in, you take the money, and you kick them out so the other people can come in and you can take their money. We don’t want to do that.” Mongerie recognized that the online communities of gamers, cosplayers and Nerds in other capacities were massive and that there was no business catering to them. “A lot of times they don’t even really have the opportunity to meet and cross paths,” he said. “[We thought,] ‘What if we gave people the opportunity to be around people who have like-minded interests?’” He added that technological advances in gaming have driven people away from in-person interactions. As games’ framerates and processing power requirements have increased, the gatherings in front of one screen have become less practical. Gamers are more likely to interact only online, when each player can be sitting in front of his own television, playing on his own console.

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Mongerie said people in NERDtorch’s demographic are often introverted and that his business helps them overcome that. “We had one person come to us, and she couldn’t talk to anyone,” he said. “Fast forward a year later, and she’s the life of the party. We even have parents come to us and let us know that they can see changes in their kids . . . that they’ve never seen their kids be social before, and we’ve given them the opportunity to grow into that.” Mongerie wants his business to grow, but never at the cost of the community feeling he’s worked hard for. Instead, he plans to do more for the community he serves, including finding a space that will accommodate larger events, planning more trips for those of his regulars who want to experience new things and using his film industry experience to encourage more content creation from his patrons. For now, as he works on those developments in the background, he wants to ensure that NERDtorch remains a home for Nerds of any kind. “If someone new comes in, everyone’s welcoming, everyone’s helpful to that person,” Mongerie said. “When you come here, you don’t feel like you’re alone. And I feel like that’s what a lot of people in our niche have a problem with.”

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Waiting for

Showtime

Story By Derek Herscovici and Michelle Key Photos Contributed By Auburn Area Community Theatre and Opelika Community Theatre

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fter experimenting with different forms of theater during the summer, the actors are ready for the curtains to rise again. It was supposed to be the biggest show of the year. Months had gone into planning the Auburn Area Community Theater’s (AACT) show before the coronavirus pandemic made sitting inside a theater impossible.

But rather than shut down for the summer, the AACT took their performance outside to the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center for a “Musical Walk in the Woods.” Similar to a walking ghost tour, AACT volunteers led groups of guests at different intervals through a guided musical experience unlike anything Auburn has ever experienced. In between hearing Auburn University professor David Carter sing “Some Enchanted Evening”

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and Auburn University theater students performing songs from “Wicked,” guests were treated to Broadway trivia, stories of Rogers & Hammerstein and more. “Every 10 minutes another group took off, and you could buy a ticket to be one of the 10 and limit it that way, or you could buy the whole slot and have your own family and nobody else,” said AACT Art Director Andrea Holliday. “It was a lot of fun, and I think, because it was outdoors, it was well-structured and the facility itself [worked well for the event]. It was lovely.” The event went so well, Holliday envisions a similar type of ‘walking theater’ in the fall.

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The theater puts on five different shows in one calendar season: a teen show in March that is ages 13 and up, two adult shows in May and August, a children’s performance in October for ages 5-12 and a major performance in November. The AACT has found plenty of ways to continue engaging audiences this socially distanced summer. One online-specific show, “Super Happy Awesome News,” was written for younger audiences based on input from teenagers in the pandemic and was filmed in segments, then edited together. The safety of the volunteers during the pandemic is critical because they have so many roles in

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the community and no one is paid for their work. Though she helped found the Auburn Area Community Theater in 2003 and has served in a wide variety of roles before becoming art director, Holliday still works full-time as an engineer with the East Alabama Medical Center. For everyone involved, it’s a labor of love. “My saying is, ‘In community theater, you can do a good job, or you can have a great time, but you have to do at least one.’ I think we found that right balance to do a really good job and support each other and have a good time and put on a damn good show — people say that to us every time they come, somebody goes ‘well I didn’t think community theater was this good!’” The Auburn Area Community Theater has already scheduled a show to run from Nov. 19 through Nov. 22, a variation of Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” The show will incorporate healthy pandemic guidelines to make it safe for both performers and audiences. A “play-within-a-play,” a cast of four men and four women will play voice actors in a 1940s radio broadcast where they play multiple roles, create sound effects live onstage and more in service of creating “A Christmas Carol” for the imaginary ‘listeners’ over the airwaves. With microphones and set props spaced a safe distance apart, the play itself fits well into these pandemic-dominated times, said Holliday. If the city required a kind of barrier between the actors and the audience, they could create a kind of window that looks into the radio station and incorporate it as part of the set. “I’ve written a whole policy that I was asked to send a COVID plan to the city for them to review; I think this plan will lend itself very well to being safe and comfortable,” said Holliday. “I’m finding out that being safe and following the rules is not the same thing as making people comfortable. People don’t want to be told what to do, either, so we need a little bit of freedom for people to choose how to behave.” OPELIKA THEATRE COMPANY Opelika Theatre Company was founded in August 2015 when a small group of friends got

together and decided it was time for Opelika to have a community theatre program. Since that time, the group has grown into a thriving organization that produces three full shows every year plus hosts murder mystery dinner events in between the shows. “All community theatres start somewhere,” said Founder and Executive Director Marty Moore “We are five years old and we are growing. With Opelika coming into all of their eclectic art and quirky downtown atmosphere, Opelika Theatre Company is a perfect fit for this community.” The coronavirus pandemic temporarily halted a planned ‘Christmas in July’ fundraising event and the troupe’s spring performance of ‘The Addams Family’, but the show must go on, and it will. Opening night is now scheduled for Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. with additional evening performances being held on Oct. 17, Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. There will be two matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Oct. 17 and Oct. 24. During the summer, OTC, as it is known by around town, kept busy with Zoom rehearsals. Members of the group planned and orchestrated a ‘Summer Showcase’ in August which allowed local talent to show-off in a socially distanced and safe atmosphere. The event was held outdoors at the Opelika Sportsplex Amphitheater and patrons were encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on as they scattered across the grounds in front of the stage. Food trucks offering delicious dinner options were on hand. While preparing for the event, all participants had the opportunity to receive two 30 minute online coaching sessions. The songs, monologues and dances were submitted by the individual performances and approved by OTC’s creative team led by Abby Freeman. Performers ranged in age from nine to mid-50s. The event was a fundraiser for OTC to help make up for losses in ticket sales due to the pandemic. “We are super grateful for our sponsors and to the city and Mayor Gary Fuller for donating the [use of the] Sportsplex,” Freeman said. With more than 100 people in attendance the event raised more than $1,000 through donations.

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“The Opelika Theatre Company had some incredibly talented kids out performing for the socially distanced crowd and we enjoyed being a part of it,” said Todd Rauch in a Facebook post. “If you aren’t familiar with that the Opelika Theater Company does, they typically perform at the Southside Center for the Arts building on Glenn Ave. Check them out and plan to attend a show in the future!” Looking towards the future, OTC will be involved in several Christmas events and is planning three productions for 2021. “We need people at the meeting to get involved, who can sew, who can paint – they don’t have to act,” Moore said. “We just need people who want to laugh, do any kind of volunteer work and be a part of a community project,” Moore said. ARTS ASSOCIATION OF EAST ALABAMA The Arts Association of East Alabama began in 1965 as the Opelika Arts Association. Since that time, it has evolved, as art often does, into a professional presenting and arts education organization and took the current name in 2007. The association conducts a ‘Performance Series’ every year, is a partner in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in

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Education program and offers a community cultural center with a visual arts exhibit space and auditorium. Both the Civic Chorale and the East Alabama Community Band work closely with the AAEA and provide opportunities for members of the community to participate in and enjoy the arts. While the 2020-21 Performance Series is in the process of being rescheduled to 2021, the Arts Association has pledged that “the show will go on.”

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Behind the Curtain Story By Hannah Lester Photos Contributed By The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center

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uests wait in their seats, anxious for the performance to begin. They’ve waited months for this show, they wore their best outfits and now it’s minutes away. After the show is over, the guests will talk about how much they enjoyed it, get in their cars and drive home. The performance is over. Little do the guests realize how much went into the performance they just saw and how much will need to happen before the next. The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center opened its first season in 2019, and though it hit a snag with the coronavirus pandemic in March, there were several shows, from vocal acts like Renée Fleming to Broadway Shows like Rent to Celebrity Acts like The Beach Boys. Thanks to the pandemic, all shows are currently postponed at the Gogue Center, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be back. And when they return, there will be a lot of work behind the scenes that guests aren’t privy to.

THE BACKGROUND:

When the Gogue Center opened in August 2019, it offered something to the community that wasn’t there before. “A world class performing arts venue with programming that rivals other cities around the coun-

try,” said Chris Heacox, executive director at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center. Before, an Auburn, Opelika or Lee County resident might have had to drive to Birmingham or Atlanta to see the type of shows they can now see five minutes down the road. “What’s been really rewarding to me is to be able to engage with our community, those that live here and those that went to school at Auburn, those that have moved back and just have [them] tell me what it means to them to now have a performing arts center at Auburn or have a preforming arts center on campus,” Heacox said.

THE ARTISTS:

On an average day, Heacox will have meetings and phone calls galore. He might start with a conversation with Amy Miller, director of programming and education at the Jay and Susie Gogue Center, about education initiatives, he said. Then there are conversations with consultants, and looking toward the future at the Gogue Center - which artists will perform. Heacox and Miller have to decide who to bring to the center for a season. Before an artist takes the stage, Heacox and Miller have been in contact with an agent, made arrangements for dates and handled all the small details.

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“I think the thing that makes our business challenging is we have to put puzzle pieces together to make things happen,” Heacox said. “We’re a logistics business. So if we want to bring something, or an artist here, we may need to find partners in the area to bring that artist here as well to make it work financially for a tour.” Things have to be right not only for the Gogue Center, but for an artist too. “So we have conversations and relationships with agents from all over the country to present anything from dance to Broadway to concerts of all different kinds,” Heacox said. “And then the deals are worked out with the agents and then once those are worked out, it usually goes to a manager, a tour manager, and we work out all the details.” Of course, it’s not all nitty-gritty. Miller gets to have some fun, too, by traveling to see shows or performances when deciding on who will tour at the Gogue Center. “I travel quite a bit to see performing arts work, everything from multiple musical genres, to dance to theater to musical theater,” Miller said. “We do it collectively but that’s definitely something that’s on my purview.” Heacox said that he enjoyed seeing the Broadway tours at the Gogue Center. “Those are huge productions where we have to have four or five trucks come in and load the show

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in and then load it out and all the people that have to be here to work it, just all the behind the scenes work that has to be done so that when that curtain opens at 7:30 you feel like you’re in New York seeing the show,” Heacox said. Miller is also in charge of connecting artists with the community, whether this is through the K-12 performances that the center hosts or having an artist speak to a group of theater students at Auburn University. “A very important piece of what we do in the arts, in the performing arts is the moments when I witness an artist connecting to a community member or a community member being in awe of a performance,” Miller said.

THE DAY OF:

Before the curtain opens, the performers have to arrive and the stage has to be set. There are a lot of things to consider: wardrobes, lighting, scenery and sound and this is where Taylor Dyleski comes in. Taylor Dyleski is the director of production at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center and all those elements are under his purview. “Every artist is unique, every situation is unique, it really depends on the scale of a show,” Dyleski said. “We have performances that are one man sitting on a stool playing a guitar, to a Broadway performance that’s four or five tractor trailers full of scenery and props and costumes.” Additionally, there is the matter of making sure an artist feels welcome. Dressing rooms have to be prepped because that artist is there to hang around the center the day of the performance too. “We really want to make the Gogue Center the artist’s home for that day,” Dyleski said. “So, they’re living in the tour bus most of the time, so how can we make our facility comfortable like their home.”

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THE AUDIENCE:

There’s more to performance day than the show itself. Izzy Randall, patron services manager at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, handles tickets, concessions, the ushers and makes sure that patrons are satisfied. The ushers, those who greet and lead people to their seats, are all volunteers, Randall said. Additionally, university students assist both as house managers, in the box office and concierge desk. “The night of, my show basically starts when the first person that I work with arrives … and then it’s coordinating with my staff,” she said. The audience differs by production, too, so Randall has to take that into account when preparing. “With the Broadway show, particularly depending on the title, we can know to expect a certain kind of audience that may be different from like when we have like a country singer here in the building,” she said.

Of course, Heacox said the center likes to introduce audiences to shows or performers they might not even have heard of. “[We strive] to be able present and curate artists that our audiences may or may not know,” Heacox said. “And then if they don’t know and they’ve taken a chance, they’ve been engaged with an artist that they may want to go see when they travel somewhere else or want us to bring them back. And so that’s been really exciting for me is to just engage with our audiences at each show and just hear those comments.” Interacting with the audience is the most rewarding part of the job, Randall said. “We really have an incredible community here that has embraced the Gogue Center as something that they’ve wanted forever and they finally have it and they’re not taking us for granted,” she said.

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We express our deepest appreciation for the privilege of serving your family. We get up each day and are blessed to work with a incredible group of people and serve this wonderful community.

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Five bedroom boutique inn and event facility set in a historic Opelika home just blocks from downtown. Available now for nightly lodging and special events. Kage Fit, in Opelika, Alabama, is your Premiere Family Fitness Academy! Kage Fit offers martial arts classes to get you and your family in shape and looking good. Kage Fits also offers boxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to go along with the Kagefit fitness program. Now is the time to join us for fitness. You won’t be crowded and fighting for space in our 6000 square foot facility. Enjoy the separation between the kids and adults.

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www.kagefit.me 334-363-2727 Drink • Eat • Play


UPCOMING EVENTS

Oct. 1 - 31

No reservation needed for public hours: Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Also available by reservation Monday Friday for schools 334-864-0713 www.jackolanternlane.com 18151 Veterans Memorial Pkwy, La Fayette, AL 36862 Snow cones, homemade ice cream and more available at the concession stand. Activities and food are subject to change due to COVID. $9 includes hayride and choice of pumpkin. Cash or check only. Oct. 8 Kim Richey for Sundilla 7:30 to 10 p.m. 334-741-7169 www.sundillamusic.com The Sound Wall 605 Ave B Opelika, AL 36801 Oct. 9 Halloween Enchanted Forest at Kreher Preserve 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.. 334.844.8091 wp.auburn.edu/preserve/event/halloween-enchanted-forest/

Oct. 9 On the Tracks – A Wine and Cheese Event 334-745-0466 onthetracks.org Downtown Opelika On the Tracks returns to downtown Opelika on Oct. 9 with a new format including social distancing Oct. 9 280 Old Boogie at Standard Deluxe 334-826-6423 standarddeluxe.com/shop/boogie4/18

Oct. 10 Second Saturday at Pioneer Park Second Saturday activities; all buildings and venues open to the public. See our amazing collection of homemade jams, jelly and preserves available in the museum store. See Brunswick Stew made the old-fashioned way over a wood re and then sample it for lunch. Oct. 14 Auburn Hey Day 10 a.m. wp.auburn.edu/sga/programs/hey-day/ Auburn Green Space and around campus

Oct. 16 AUsome Amphibians and Reptiles 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Phone: 334-844-8091 wp.auburn.edu/preserve/event/ausome-amphibians-reptiles-7/ 2222 N College Street Auburn, AL 36830

Oct. 1 - 31 The Farmer in the Dell Pumpkin Patch is a you-pick pumpkin patch located in Auburn. Open for the Fall through October 31. www.farmerinthedellpumpww kinpatch.com 334-750-3792

Oct. 23 & 24 Halloween Enchanted Forest at Kreher Preserver 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 334-844-8091 wp.auburn.edu/preserve/event/halloween-enchanted-forest/

Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 Zombie Squirrel Apocalypse Dual Slalom www.gonutsbiking.com/zombie-squirrel-apocalypse-ds

Oct. 24 Pioneer Day at Loachapoka, AKA Syrup Soppin’ Day Oct. 24 Oktoberfest 2020 auburnoktoberfest.com/ Oct. 24 Fall Family Fun Day at the Kreher Preserve Oct. 24 Aorta Tough Ten and Tough Two runsignup.com/Race/AL/Auburn/AORTAToughTenToughTwo Oct. 29 Tannahill Weavers by Sundilla 7:30 to 10 p.m. www.sundillamusic.com The Sound Wall

Nov. 12 Second Saturday at Pioneer Park Second Saturday activities; all buildings and venues open to the public. See our amazing collection of homemade jams, jelly and preserves available in the museum store. See Brunswick Stew made the old-fashioned way over a wood re and then sample it for lunch Dec. 3, 4, 5 “A Christmas Carol” - A Live Radio Play 7 p.m. Dec. 6 2 p.m. auburnACT.org facebook.com/AuburnACT/

* All events are subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions


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AUBURN RESTAURANTS, BARS AND COFFEE SHOPS: Acapulco’s Mexican Grill 1409 South College St., Auburn 334.501.9197 places.singleplatform.com/acapulcos-mexicangrill/menu?ref=google#menu_886268 Acre 210 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.246.3763 acreauburn.com/ Amsterdam Café 410 S. Gay St., Auburn 334.826.8181 amsterdamcafeauburn.com/ Another Broken Egg 2311 Bent Creek Road Ste. 200, Auburn 334.521.4010 anotherbrokenegg.com/location/auburn-al

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334-203-1418

www.lacantinaopelika.com FAMILY-OWNED • LOCALLY-SOURCED BEEF

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill 1627-34 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.887.7747 Ariccia Cucina Italiana 241 S. College St., Auburn 334.844.5140 aricciacucina.com Arigato Sushi Boutique 140 N. College St., Auburn 334.887.3915 arigatosushi.com 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 auburnoilbooksellers.com Auburn Plaza Bar & Lounge 800 Main St., Auburn 334.521.0074


The Auburn Popcorn Company 106 N. College St., Auburn 334.329.7700 auburnpopcorn.com

Bow & Arrow 1977 East Samford Ave., Auburn 334.246.2546 bowandarrowbbq.com

Chicken Salad Chick 1345 Opelika Road, Suite A, Auburn 334.459.9752 chickensaladchick.com/auburn-opelika/

Auburn University Clubhouse 1650 Yarbrough Farms Blvd., Auburn 334.821.8381 augolfclub.com/restaurant

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream 2172 E. University Drive, Auburn 334.821.9988 brusters.com/auburn/

Chipotle Mexican Grill 346 W Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.7740 locations.chipotle.com/al/auburn/346-wmagnolia-ave

AUsome Nutrition 1100 S. College St., Suite 102, Auburn 334.707.9077

BurgerFi 339 S College St., Auburn 334.502.0000 burgerfi.com/menu/

Barberito’s Southwestern Grille & Cantina 1619 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.887.9838 barberitos.com Baumhower’s Victory Grille 2353 Bent Creek Road, Suite 120 334.246.4180 baumhowers.com/auburn/ The Bean 140 N. Dean Road, Auburn 334.728.5906 thebeancoffeeshop.com Big Blue Bagel Deli 120 N. College St. Auburn 334.501.2245 bigbluebagel.com Big Mike’s Steakhouse 610 Shug Jordan Pkwy., Auburn 334.209.1975 bigmikessteakhouse.com Bizilia’s Café 134 N. College St., Auburn 334.826.0080 biziliascafe.com Block & Barrel Deli 323 Airport Road, Building H, Auburn 334.821.4070 Bombay Indian Grill 1251 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.502.5200 auburnbombaygrill.com

Burn Nutrition 1345 Opelika Road Suite E, Auburn 334.209.1880 burnnutritionauburn.com Byron’s Smokehouse 436 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.887.9981 auburnmenu.com/byron%27s_ smokehouse_menu.pdf Catering to You by The Hotel at Auburn 241 South College St., Auburn 334.321.3175 auhcc.com/auburn-catering-services.htm Chappy’s Deli 754 E. Glenn Ave. Auburn 334.821.7220 chappysdeli.com Charlie’s Family Kitchen 2900 E University Drive, Auburn 334.501.2070 rwillis12@gmail.com Cheeburger Cheeburger 160 N. College St., Auburn 334.826.0845 cheeburger.com Chick-Fil-A Auburn Mall, Auburn 334.887.5429 chick-fil-a.com/locations/al/auburn-mall

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Christine’s Unlimited 2272 Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn 334.750.4963 christinesunlimited.com CiCi’s Pizza 1550 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.2600 cicis.com/locations/al-auburn-1550opelika-rd Coffee Cat 124 Tichenor Ave., Auburn 334.744.1953 coffeecatau.com Cook Out 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.2246 cookout.com/menu/ Country’s Barbecue 1021 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.8711 The Cup and Saucer 555 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.4558 thecupandsaucer.biz The Depot 124 Mitcham Ave., Auburn 334.521.5177 allaboardauburn.com Domino’s Pizza 1100 S. College St., Auburn 334.821.3030 Domino’s Pizza 175 N. College St., Auburn 334.821.3030

Drink • Eat • Play


Auburn Draft House 165 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.521.2739 auburndrafthouse.com

Freeze Yogurt Bar 116 N College St., Auburn 334.332.8000 reezeyogurtbar.com

Dunkin Donuts 2049 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.2233

The Front Porch on Magnolia by Billy Lee 415 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.3656

Eddie’s Calzones 130 N. College St Auburn eddiescalzones.com El Dorado Mexican Restaurant 1658 South College Street Auburn 334.887.8836 jbmeldorado@gmail.com 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 espositositalianbistro.com Fat Daddy’s 583 Lee Road 53 Auburn 334.502.1111 Firehouse Subs 1907 S. College St., Suite 108, Auburn 334.887.6400 firehousesubs.com/locations/al/auburn/ Five Guys 121 N. College St. Auburn 334.502.8388 order.fiveguys.com/menu/auburn/ Foosackly’s 131 North Dean Rd. Auburn 334.209.1506 Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano 1445 S College St. Suite 200, Auburn 334.209.6363

Frutta Bowls 211 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.521.5221 fruttabowls.com/location/frutta-bowlsauburn-alabama/ Fuji Sushi Bar 1499 South College St Auburn 334.887.7766 fujisushibar.tripod.com/ Fusion Restaurant and Bar 145 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.521.5310 fusion-auburn.com/ Good Karma 1409 S College St. Suite 118 Auburn 334.246.3144 augoodkarma.com/ Gourmet Tiger Catering 231 North Dean Road, Auburn 334.821.9222 gourmettiger.com/ Great American Cookie Company 1627 Opelika Rd Auburn 334.821.4553 greatamericancookies.com/ Guthrie’s 804 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.826.1661 guthrieschicken.com/locations/ Guthrie’s 1673 Shug Jordan Parkway Suite A, Auburn 334.209.1295 guthrieschicken.com/locations/

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Halftime 154 N. College St., Auburn 334.887.7800 Hamilton’s 174 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.887.2677 hamiltonsonmagnolia.com/ Hamilton’s on Ogletree 1849 Ogletree Road, Auburn 334.329.5886 ogletree.hamiltonsgroup.com/ The Hound Bar & Restaurant 124 Tichenor Ave., Auburn 334.246.3300 thehound-auburn.com/ Hungry Howie’s Pizza 1409 S. College St. Unit 104, Auburn 334.826.5555 hungryhowies.com/store/hungryhowies-02313 Insomnia Cookies 191 N College St., Auburn 334.649.6263 insomniacookies.com/locations/store/1218 Insomnia Steak and Grill 186 North Donahue Drive, Auburn 334.821.4146 Irritable Bao 127 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.329.7009 Jersey Mike’s Subs 2081 S. College Street Suite A Auburn 334.591.6600 Jim ‘N Nick’s Barbecue 1920 South College St., Auburn 334.246.5197 jimnnicks.com/locations/ Jimmy John’s 126 N. College St., Auburn 334.502.0444 locations.jimmyjohns.com/al/auburn/ sandwiches-553.html


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Drink • Eat • Play


Jin Korean Restaurant 2055 East University Drive, Auburn 334.521.7080 Johnny Brusco’s on East University 2408 E University Drive Suite 100 Auburn 334.826.0055 johnnybruscos.com/location/auburn/ Johnny Brusco’s at Moore’s Mill 2415 Moores Mill Road, Auburn 334.826.0545 johnnybruscos.com/location/ auburnmooresmillrd/ Juice Bar 2415 Moores Mill Road Suite 255, Auburn 334.216.9659 ilovejuicebar.com/auburn Jule Collins Smith Museum Cafe, Luster 901 S College St., Auburn 334.844.7016 www.jcsm.auburn.edu/cafe/ Keo’s Restaurant & Bar 203 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.246.3100 keos-restaurant-bar.business.site/?utm_ source=gmb&utm_medium=referral Kona Ice 334.707.3650 kona-ice.com/local-site/kona-ice-ofauburn-opelika-columbus Little Caesar’s 1621 S College St., Auburn 334.821.9622 littlecaesars.com/ Little Italy Pizzeria 129 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.6161 littleitalyau.com/?fbclid=Iw AR23TsI1P6IVbbW4dbuTWj4rIKSrXOG1D3YMo73znBEXOVcSBBHccm8D8

LiveOaks 201 North College St., Auburn 334.521.5101 liveoaksauburn.com/ Lucy’s 2300 Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn 334.521.0391 lucysauburn.com/ Lulu’s Bakery & Market University Station 3076 AL-14, Auburn Mama Mocha’s Coffee Emporium-Auburn 414 S. Gay St., Auburn 334.707.7946 mamamocha.com/pages/auburn Marco’s Pizza 231 North Dean Road, Auburn 334.209.2200 marcos.com/ Marco’s Pizza 1673 Shug Jordan Parkway, Auburn 334.758.9800 marcos.com/ The Mason Jar Restauarnt 1936 South College St., Auburn 334.734.0270 themasonjarrestaurant.net/ McAlister’s Gourmet Deli 1651 E. University Drive, Auburn 334.502.0101 mcalistersdeli.com/locations/al/auburn/ deli-1015 Mellow Mushroom 128 N. College St., Auburn 334.887.6356 mellowmushroom.com/location/alauburn-128-n-college-st-36830/ Mikata Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 323 Airport Road, Auburn 334.821.5305 mikatarestaurant.com/

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Mike and Ed’s Barbecue 307 N. College St., Auburn 334.501.1866 Ming House 2021 South College St. Suite C, Auburn 334.501.8888 minghouseauburn.com/ Moe’s Original BBQ 125 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.1430 moesoriginalbbq.com/lo/auburn/auburnmenu/ Moes’ Original BBQ- Bent Creek 2319 Bent Creek Rd #100, Auburn 334.329.7049 moesoriginalbbq.com/lo/auburn/auburnmenu/ Moe’s Southwest Grill 114 W Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.466.8035 moes.com/find-a-moes/alabama/auburn Momma Goldberg’s Deli 500 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.821.0185 mommagoldbergsdeli.com/stores/auburnmagnolia/ Momma Goldberg’s Deli 133 W Longleaf Drive, Auburn 334.821.2888 mommagoldbergsdeli.com/stores/auburnsouth-college/ Mylks Cookies 234 West Magnolia Suite A, Auburn 334.209.1523 mylksbakery.com Naruto Cafe 1445 S College St., Auburn 334.209.1520 New China 819 E Glenn Ave. #150, Auburn 334.821.9995 mynewchinaal.com/


Newks Eatery 340 South Gay St., Auburn 334.821.5954 newks.com/location/auburn-al/ Niffer’s Place 1151 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.3118 niffersplace.com/ Ole Times Country Buffet & Bar-B-Que 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.246.0927 onealrestaurants.com/ole-times-auburn/ One Bike Coffee 2415 Moore’s Mill Road, Auburn 334.521.7668 onebikecoffee.com/

Pizza Hut 1923 S. College St Auburn 334.321.1060 locations.pizzahut.com/al/auburn/1923-scollege-st Proud Willie’s Wings and Stuff 422-B S. Gay St., Auburn 334.502.0012 proudwillies.com Red Lobster 1805 Opelika Rd. Auburn 334.821.4474 redlobster.com/?locationSelect=1&rl id=10539

Rock-N-Roll Sushi 200 W Glenn Ave, Ste 500 Auburn 334.329.5100 rnrsushi.com/locations/ Ross House Coffee 150 North Ross St., Auburn 334.734.5150 rosshousecoffee. com/?fbclid=IwAR0U_myYAkfXqIMeC-DcekUWTd0jTZVl0PIkvojyPBvgiUObOF39KIwyk Royal Doner 132 N. College St., Auburn 334.209.1426 royaldonerauburn.com/

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 panniegeorgeskitchen.com/ Papa John’s Pizza 211 N. College St., Auburn 334.826.7272 locations.papajohns.com/united-states/ al/36830-4707/auburn/211-n-college-st Philly Connection 2328 S. College St. # 2, Auburn 334.887.3996 phillyconnectionauburn.com/ Pho Lee 756 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.559.0868 Piazza Roman Pizza 2847 East Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.826.9180 piazzaroman.com/menu

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Drink • Eat • Play


Savanh Thai Kitchen 1750 Opelika Road, Building B, Auburn 334.246.3088 savanhthaikitchen.com Sheila C’s Burger Barn 622 Shug Jordan Parkway, Auburn 334.283.5200 Shrimp Basket 1651 S College St., Auburn 334.539.8130 app2.dineblast.com/dineblast/?location =shrimpbasketauburn#!/shell/location/ Splash Smoothie King 1499 S. College St., Auburn 334.887.1882 Smoothie King 2311 Bent Creek Road Suite 100, Auburn 334.209.6540 smoothieking.olo.com/menu/1454smoothie-king-2311-bent-creek-rd

Sno Biz 1625 E. University Drive Auburn 334.663.1166 Sno Biz 1607 S. College St., Auburn 334.742.0371 snobiz.com/store-locator/ Starbuck’s 1121 S. College St., Auburn 334.728.7765 Starbuck’s 1619 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.502.3491 starbucks.com/store-locator/ store/1018107/s-college-and-donahue1121-s-college-street-auburn-al368325819-us Sushi Bistro 1888 Ogletree Road #170, Auburn 334.329.5113 sushi-bistro.com

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Sushi Hero 1642 S. College St., Auburn 334.209.2988 sushiheroauburn.epipay.com Sushiya 2319 Bent Creek Road Suite 300, Auburn 334.209.6188 Sword + Skillet 1188 Opelika Road, Auburn 310.800.8248 swordandskillet.com/ Taco Mama 149 East Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.734.5030 tacomamaonline.com/auburn/ Tacorita 138 North College St., Auburn 334.758.0844 tacoritaauburn.com/


Taqueria Y Carniceria Durango 435 N. Dean Road J, Auburn 334.887.4373 durangotaqueria.com Taqueria y Carniceria Plaza 1629 S. College St., Auburn 334.466.4975 Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe 339 S. College St., Auburn 334.246.5198 334.246.5199 tazikiscafe.com/location/auburn/ TCBY 300 N. Dean Road Unit 3, Auburn 334.826.8828 store.tcby.com Tenda Chick 232 N. Dean Road, Auburn 334.821.8543 Teriyaki Express 1627 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.6820 The Cup and Saucer 555 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.4558 thecupandsaucer.biz The Depot 124 Mitcham Ave., Auburn 334-521-5177 allaboard.auburn.com The Hound 124 Tichenor Ave., Auburn 334-246-3300 thehound-auburn.com The Mason Jar 1936 S College St., Auburn (334) 734-0270 themasonjarrestaurant.net Toomer’s Drugstore 100 N College St., Auburn 334.887.3488 www.toomersdrugs.com/

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Auburn 200 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.821.6555 locations.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com/al/ auburn/200-west-glenn-avenue Umami 2319 Bent Creek Road Ste 400, Auburn 334.329.7188 umamiauburn.com/ Uncle Charley’z 403 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.209.1605 uncle-charleyz.business.site/?utm_ source=gmb&utm_medium=referral Uniq Coffee 312-B N. Gay St., Auburn 334.235.3083 uniq-coffee.ueniweb.com/#location University Donut Company 157 E. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.750.8086 universitydonut.com Ursula’s Catering 190 East University #1403, Auburn 334.821.9921 www.ursulascatering.com/ 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 Drive, Auburn 334.826.7360 venditoris-auburn.com/ Village Wok 1100 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.2995 auburnvillagewok.com/ Voodoo Wing Company 2059 S. College St., Auburn 334.329.7777

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Waffle House 2167 S. College St., Auburn 334.826.0810 wafflehouse.com/ Waffle House 2346 Bent Creek Road, Auburn 334.887.2087 wafflehouse.com/ Waffle House 110 W. Glenn Ave ., Auburn 334.826.0987 wafflehouse.com/ Which Wich Superior Sandwiches 234 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn 334.329.7990 whichwich.com/ Wings & Claw 203 Opelika Road Suite B, Auburn 334.209.1985 wingsnclaw.com/ Wings Etc 201 W. Glenn Ave., Auburn 334.521.5095 wingsetc.com/auburn-al/ WNB Factory 819 E Glenn Ave. #140, Auburn wnbfactory.com/ Wooden Chopsticks 1716 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.1181 Yum Yums 555 Opelika Road #7, Auburn 334.209.2011 yumyumstogo.com/ Yummy Villa 1633 S. College St., Auburn 334.246.3888 Zaxby’s 1659 S. College St., Auburn 334.501.9881 zaxbys.com/locations/al/auburn/1659-scollege-st/

Drink • Eat • Play


Zaxby’s 2075 E. University Drive, Auburn 334.501.0852 zaxbys.com/locations/al/auburn/2075-euniversity-dr/ Zoner’s Pizza, Wings, & Waffles 200 W. Glenn Ave. Suite 200, Auburn 334.246.3179 zonerspizza. com/?fbclid=IwAR317sF2cN8OvNbXFt9pw5M052r4zT-GdVi_ V66ZDVtJVJG4yJOqRT9cz0

OPELIKA RESTAURANTS, BARS AND COFFEE SHOPS Ampersand Wine Bar 817 Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.274.7859 Big Blue Crawfish 2611 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.444.8136 Bottling Plant Event Center 614 N. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.7055466 www.bottlingplanteventcenter.com Breezeway 213 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.749.5167 Brick Oven Pizza Company 2520 Enterprise Dr. Opelika 334.745.0223 www.brickovenonline.com Buffalo Wild Wings 2257 Tiger Town Parkway, Opelika 334.741.0989 www.buffalowildwings.com/en/locations/ detail/128/ Burger Fi 2145 Interstate Drive D-3, Opelika 334.759.7040 www.burgerfi.com/location/us/al/opelika/

Butcher Paper BBQ 128 Columbus Parkway, Opelika 334.748.9008 butcherpaperbbq.com Cafe 123 123 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.737.0069 cafeonetwentythree.com Cakeitecture Bakery 124 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.246.3002 cakeitecture.com Captain D’s 810 Columbus Parkway, Opelika 334.737.3877 Chick-Fil-A 2052 Tiger Town Parkway, Opelika 334.741.7112 www.chick-fil-a.com/locations/al/tigertown ChickChickPorkPork 3810 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.737.5777 chickchickporkpork.com Chipotle Mexican Grill 2125 Intestate Drive, Opelika 334.737.0056 locations.chipotle.com/al/opelika/2125interstate-dr Chuck’s Barbecue 905 Short Ave., Opelika 334.749.4043 chucksbbqopelika.com Cook Out 2168 Interstate Drive, Opelika 334.737.3825 cookout.com/location/cook-out-opelika/ Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 1051 Fox Run Ave., Opelika 334.749.2363 Domino’s Pizza 1451A Gateway Drive Ste. A, Opelika 334.749.7101

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Durango Mexican Grill 1706 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.745.0015 Durango Mexican Grill 1107 Columbus Parkway, Opelika 334.742.0149 Eighth and Rail 807 S Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.745.5456 eight-and-rail.weebly.com El Taco Veloz 1107 Fitzpatrick Ave., Opelika 334,759.7550 El Patron Mexican Grill 2212 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.749.2199 Firehouse Subs 3000 Pepperell Parkway Suite 7, Opelika 334.741.7998 firehousesubs.com/ Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers 1701 Capps Landing, Opelika 334.203.1618 freddysusa.com/store/opelika/ Full Moon BBQ 2494 Enterprise Drive, Opelika 334.741.7570 fullmoonbbq.com/location/opelika Gigi’s Cupcakes 3794 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.275.4331 gigiscupcakesusa.com/pages/opelikaalabama Golden Corral 2301 Birmingham Highway, Opelika 334.741.0570 www.goldencorral.com/locations/ Gohyang Garden Korean Restaurant 816 Columbus Parkway, Opelika 334.742.8060

Drink • Eat • Play


Guthrie’s 1700A Capps Landing, Opelika 334.203.1970 guthrieschicken.com/locations/

Jim Bob’s Chicken Fingers 1006 1st Ave., Opelika 334.742.9655 jimbobstogo.com

Guthrie’s 3704 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.363.0764 guthrieschicken.com/locations/

Jim Bob’s Chicken Fingers 2070 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.741.4001 jimbobstogo.com

Guthrie’s 505 2nd Ave., Opelika 334.363.2139 guthrieschicken.com/locations/

John Emerald Distillery 706 N. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.737.5353 johnemeralddistilling.com

Hibachi Sushi Grill & Buffet 3903 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.705.8616 hibachisushigrillbuffet.net

Kabuki Steak House 2496 Enterprise Drive, Opelika 334.759.7575 kabukiopelika.kwickmenu.com/

Highway 80 Barn 25250 US Highway 80, Opelika 334.745.5217 highway80barn.com

La Cantina 870 N. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.203.1418 lacantinaopelika.com/

Honeybaked Ham Co. & Café 1451 Gateway Drive Suite C Opelika 334.741.8411 pickup.honeybaked.com/ stores/details/1525?_ ga=2.237482816.1132329480.15961360822004177676.1596136082

Laredo Mexican Restaurant 1832 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.826.2724

Irish Bred Pub 833 S. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.363.2235 irishbredopelika.com/

Longhorn Steakhouse 2601 Gateway Drive, Opelika 334.705.8800

Little Caesar’s 1515 2nd Ave., Opelika 334.741.8989 littlecaesars.com/

Jahvon’s- A Little Taste of Heaven 1220 Fox Run Ave. Suite 204, Opelika 334.363.0989

Louie’s Chicken 1479 Fox Run Parkway, Opelika 334.745.0050 louieschicken.com

Jefferson’s Opelika 905 S. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.745.6927 jeffersons.com/all-locations/opelika/

Ma Fia’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 811 Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.745.6266 mafiasitalian.com/

Jersey Mike’s Subs 2336 Tiger Town Parkway, Opelika 334.705.7827 jerseymikes.com/12004/opelika-al

Mama Mocha’s Bodega 715 1st Ave., Opelika 334.707.9325 mamamocha.com/pages/the-bodega

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Mandarin House 3800 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.745.7234 Marble Slab Creamery 2340 Tiger Town Parkway, Opelika 334.745.0033 Marco’s Pizza 1459 Fox Run Parkway Opelika 334.749.3334 marcos.com/ MK’s Asian Kitchen 2490 Enterprise Drive, Opelika 334.749.6989 Moe’s Southwest Grill 2574 Enterprise Drive, Opelika 334.749.8156 moes.com/find-a-moes/alabama/opelika/445 Momma Goldberg’s Deli 2701 Frederick Road, Opelika 334.705.8999 mommagoldbergsdeli.com/stores/opelika-al/ Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar 1900 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika 334.749.1719 Newk’s Eatery 2664 Enterprise Drive, Opelika 334.749.0011 locations.newks.com/newks-eateryc450a5d57e14 Niffer’s on the Tracks 917 S. Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.787.5989 niffersplace.com/ No. 1 Asian Restaurant 1451 Fox Run Parkway, Opelika 334.737.5778 O Town Ice Cream 700 2nd Ave., Opelika 334.737.5700 otownicecream.com/


O’Charley’s 2501 Gateway Drive, Opelika 334.749.0719 Olive Garden 2254 Tiger Town Parkway Opelika 334.749.1255 Opelika Nutrition 1801 Market St., Opelika 334.744.3252 Outback Steakhouse 2115 Pepperell Parkway Opelika 334.219.0100 Panda Express 2096 Interstate Drive, Opelika 205.377.9707 pandaexpress.com Papa John’s Pizza 2107 Pepperell Pkwy Ste. A Opelika 334.741.7272 Pizza Hut 3611 Pepperell Pkwy. Opelika 334.749.7111 locations.pizzahut.com/al/ opelika/3611-pepperell-pkwy Pokemen 2701 Frederick Road Suite 201 Opelika 334.737.6353 Red Clay Brewery 704 N Railroad Ave., Opelika 334.737.5409 redclaybrewingcompany.com Resting Pulse Brewery 714 1st Ave., Opelika 334.203.1364 restingpulsebrewing.com Ristretto Lounge 2650 Corporate Park Drive Opelika 334.321.9250 ristrettolounge.com/

Side Track Coffee 817 South 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 Drive Opelika 334.745.0885 starbucks.com/store-locator/ store/9680/i-85-hwy-2802056-interstate-drive-opelikaal-368015498-us Susie K’s 1801 2nd Avenue Opelika 334.737.6065 susieks.com/ Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe 2119 Interstate Dr Opelika 334.759.6225 334.275.4743 www.tazikiscafe.com/location/ opelika/ Toomer’s Coffee Roastery 1619 Thomason Drive Suite B Opelika 334.332.6652 toomerscoffee.com Veggies To Go 2701 Frederick Road #302 Opelika 334.759.7404 Waffle House 1738 Opelika Road, Auburn 334.821.2400 wafflehouse.com/ Waffle House 2064 Interstate Road, Opelika 334.749.6303 wafflehouse.com/

Je�fery A. Hilyer,

Attorney at Law and Certified Public Account

Jackie H. Moon, CPA

Erin K. Arrington, CPA

H. David Ennis, SR., CPA

Patti C. Davis, CPA

614 2nd Ave, Opelika, AL 36801

334-745-2564


Waffle House 907 Fox Run Parkway Opelika 334.705.0304 wafflehouse.com/

Zoe’s Ice Cream Delite 2757 AL Highway 169 Opelika 334.749.4455 zoesdelite.webs.com/menu

Wasabi Japanese Sushi & Thai Cuisine 1103 Columbus Parkway Opelika 334.737.5558 wasabisushithaicuisine.com/

LEE COUNTY RESTAURANTS, BARS AND COFFEE SHOPS:

Western Sizzlin Steak House 920 Columbus Parkway Opelika 334.749.2950 western-sizzlin.com/ Which Wich Superior Sandwiches 2105 Interstate Drive Opelika 334.759.7401 Whistle Stop Bottle and Brew 830 North Railroad Ave. Opelika 334.748.9727 whistlestopbrewshop.com Wild Wing Cafe 3040 Capps Way, Opelika 334.203.1693 wildwingcafe.com/ locations/opelika-al

The Waverly Local 1465 Patrick St., Waverly 334.539.6077 thewaverlylocal.com/ Wilton’s Catering 6522 AL Highway 14 Loachapoka 334.750.3241 A Matter of Taste 2368 Lee Road 430 Smiths Station 334.592.8802 Backwater BBQ 5330 Lee Road 390 Salem 706.681.4661 Cluck It Bucket 2505 Lee Rd 430 Smiths Station 334.732.5825

Wing Town 13 Samford Ave., Opelika 334.610.4047

J.R.’s Steakhouse 9571 Lee Road 246 Smiths Station 334.480.9400

Zaxby’s 2089 Frederick Road Opelika 334.749.973

Kountry Boys To-Go 9063 Lee Road 246 Smiths Station 334.275.0121

Zazu Gastropub 112 S. 8th St., Opelika 334.203.1747 zazuopelika.com/

Mamee’s Kitchen Authentic Jamaican Cuisine & Catering 16583 US 280, Smiths Station 334.480.8805

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Our family serving your family Bill Trant, Coley Trant, Gene Ward, Allison Owens, Ginger Gray-Busby, Paul Kemp, David Phillips, Roger Hughes, Lee Smith, Linda Stewart, John McCollum, Bobby McBurney

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Drink • Eat • Play


Selling Bulk Products of Mulch, Sand, Topsoil, Gravel, Pine Straw, Sod, Plant Material and Firewood

Open Monday - Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. 334-742-3287 The Fain Family has more than 70 years of nursery experience. bearlandernursery@gmail.com


1701 Frederick Road, Opelika 334-705-4995

Lowe's Home Improvement offers everyday low prices on all quality hardware products and construction needs. Find great deals on paint, patio furniture, home décor, tools, hardwood flooring, carpeting, appliances, plumbing essentials, decking, grills, lumber, kitchen remodeling necessities, outdoor equipment, gardening equipment, bathroom decorating needs and more. Whether you are a beginner starting a DIY project or a professional, Lowe’s is your headquarters for all building materials.

Shop online at www.lowes.com or at your Opelika Lowe’s store today to discover how easy it is to start improving your home and yard today.


CALL ZACH ALSOBROK

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Live Lee: Drink, Eat, Play  

Live Lee is a magazine publication created by Key Media, LLC which also publishes the Opelika Observer. Live Lee is a new, bi-monthly magazi...

Live Lee: Drink, Eat, Play  

Live Lee is a magazine publication created by Key Media, LLC which also publishes the Opelika Observer. Live Lee is a new, bi-monthly magazi...

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