Bella April 2023

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The magic of the meal – communing over dinner feeds the body and the soul; nourish your skin from the inside out; worldly white wines; Pensacola sweet spots.

“I had no idea hypnosis could do this! I went from a size 12 to a 4 in just six months!!! Hypnosis made it possi ble for me to EN JOY eating healthy, exercising, and relaxing my mind I eat what I want, I’m not on any kind of diet, and oh my goodness …I li ke being thin! ”

- Lind a J-Milton

“I feel li ke a new woman in ALL areas of my life! I have a new and “much” improved attit ude toward life, eating healthy, and exercise Why did I wait so long to come here?”

- Lisa D-Pe nsacol a

“When I came here, I wa s a hot mess with emotional bag gage and health issues. I literally feel li ke a plug ha s been pulled out of my head to let all the garbage out. I feel lighter and more relaxed ... Oh, and I’ve lost 40 lbs in 5 months! ”

- Melin da G-Pe nsacol a

2 • Bella Magazine • April 2023
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from the editor

Who doesn’t love a good meal paired with good wine and good people?

I don’t even drink that much anymore – it’s just not worth the headache that even one drink gives me – but when I do sip on that one glass of wine, it’s that much more enjoyable. What I have really come to appreciate, however, is the enjoyment of sharing a meal with friends and family.

This month’s cover story (page 24) is a really good read about the importance of bonding over meals. Many of us got a crash course in loneliness and always eating in during the pandemic. While it has been nice to carry forward some healthy cooking-athome habits, the social aspect of eating out occasionally is crucial to our mental health. It’s not only fun to try different things and to get a break from cooking and cleaning, when we eat out we are also forced to slow down, look at each other and talk – how novel!

Fortunately, we are blessed with many different types of locally owned businesses to gather in our area. I love a cocktail and appetizer at the bar at The Grand Marlin, Peg Leg’s, Angelena’s, The Wine Bar or South Market. You can’t beat the views at Drift (the location for this month’s fashion shoot) and we all know we are waiting for Jackson’s to bring back the martini lunch. Lunch at Carmen’s is always a favorite and going to Jo’s at Duh makes me nostalgic for visiting Norma’s with my grandmother.

While I try to eat healthy, I also fantasize about a world where every day is Taco Tuesday, Burger Day and National Pizza Day. Luckily Pensacola and Gulf Breeze both have great taco options and while they are different, Mellow Mushroom and Angelena’s have the pizza covered.

There are too many places, both casual and fine dining, to list them all. Our food truck scene has gotten strong, and I haven’t even gotten to the sushi! As Pensacola has grown, our local dining options have as well.

Grab a friend, grab a family member, grab a group – go enjoy all that our local restaurant scene has to offer. It’s for your health. Cheers!

Bella Staff

PUBLISHER / Kelly MacLeod

EDITOR / Kelly MacLeod

ART DIRECTOR / Elizabeth Meyer


Liz Biggs, Sloan Stephens Cox, Bradley "Beej" Davis Jr, Kelly MacLeod, Allison McCrory, Leslie Peck, Magi Thomley Williams


Lakesha Davis, Kate Treick

4 / Bella Magazine / April 2022
Bella is published the last week of each month and distributed free throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the editor. EMAIL SALES @BELLAMAGAZINE.COM OR CALL (833) 358-4486 To Advertise SEND EDITORIAL INQUIRIES AND STORY IDEAS TO KELLY@BELLAMAGAZINE.COM
April 2023 • Bella Magazine • 5 8 5 0 7 7 6 2 9 5 9 8 5 0 3 7 7 7 5 7 8 E X P E R I E N C E D A G E N T S Y O U C A N T R U S T 850.932.6278 850.434.2244 w w w . B H H S P e n F e d . c o m 1390 FT PICKENS RD #224, PENSACOLA BEACH 8 5 0 4 4 9 4 2 4 2 8 5 0 7 3 6 1 1 8 1 3 B D | 3 B A | 3 , 2 5 9 S F 4633 SOUNDSIDE DR , GULF BREEZE 509 POINCIANA DR , GUFL BREEZE 586 RADIANT CIR , MARY ESTHER 7740 LAKESIDE DR , MILTON L O R R A I N E P A L M A B R A C K I N 4 B D | 3 5 B A | 3 , 5 0 6 S F 6 B D | 4 B A | 3 , 6 3 0 S F 1119 SUNSET LN , GULF BREEZE 2933 PGA BLVD , NAVARRE 8 5 0 7 3 6 1 1 8 1 8 5 0 2 5 5 3 4 8 2 8 5 0 6 8 6 6 5 8 8 8 5 0 7 7 6 2 9 5 9 S H E R L Y N W A G H A L T E R 5 B D | 3 5 B A | 2 , 7 0 1 S F 4 B D | 2 B A | 2 , 4 1 5 S F J E N N Y R U S H I N G L O R R A I N E P A L M A B R A C K I N K I M S A N D E R S O N 4 B D | 3 B A | 4 , 3 7 6 S F $ 1 , 0 9 5 , 0 0 0 MICHELLE CARLSON J E N N Y R U S H I N G 2 B D | 2 B A | 1 , 3 5 6 S F A S H L E Y K E I G L E Y 8 5 0 6 3 7 5 7 2 8 $ 1 , 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 $ 6 7 0 , 0 0 0 $ 8 8 0 0 0 0 $ 7 9 9 , 9 0 0 $ 6 3 5 , 0 0 0 $ 6 6 2 , 0 0 0 $ 1 , 1 9 5 , 0 0 0 2615 EDMUND DR , GULF BREEZE 8 5 0 4 4 9 4 2 4 2 6 1 9 9 7 1 5 2 5 5 4 B D | 3 1 B A | 2 , 9 9 2 S F 1200 N BARCELONA ST., PENSACOLA 7167 RAMPART WAY, PENSACOLA 5124 MANDAVILLA BLVD GULF BREEZE J E N N I F E R C O B B 3 B D | 2 B A | 2 , 1 1 0 S F 4 B D | 3 B A | 2 , 7 2 7 S F 15 EASTON ST , CANTONMENT 9769 JABIRU LN , PENSACOLA 5299 WOODLAKE TR GULF BREEZE 8 5 0 6 0 2 7 6 8 2 8 5 0 5 7 2 0 5 9 7 8 5 0 6 8 6 6 5 8 8 2 0 5 4 1 2 8 4 3 8 S H E R L Y N W A G H A L T E R 4 B D | 3 B A | 3 , 2 2 2 S F N A N C Y G R O G A N M A N O L Y V A T S O L A K I S A M B E R G R E E N 3 B D | 2 B A | 2 , 0 2 8 S F $ 2 9 9 9 9 9 4 B D | 3 B A | 3 , 0 0 0 S F M I C H E L L E C A R L S O N C A R R I E C A R V E R 4 B D | 2 5 B A | 3 , 3 3 6 S F L O R R A I N E P A L M A B R A C K I N 8 5 0 7 3 6 1 1 8 1 $ 3 7 5 , 0 0 0 $ 5 2 9 , 0 0 0 $ 5 2 5 , 0 0 0 $ 6 4 9 , 9 0 0 $ 8 9 5 , 0 0 0 $ 1 , 1 9 5 , 0 0 0 $ 3 5 4 , 9 9 9 836 GULF BREEZE PKWY G U L F B R E E Z E , F L 3 2 5 6 1 & 17 W CEDAR ST P E N S A C O L A , F L 3 2 5 0 2 4721 FOXTAIL PALM DR , GULF BREEZE 5945 DAHOON DR., PENSACOLA 4 B D | 3 B A | 2 , 6 5 4 S F 4 B D | 4 5 B A | 4 , 4 7 8 S F
6 • Bella Magazine • April 2023 8 SPEND OR SAVE 10 FASHION: Throw out the rule book this spring 20 BEAUTY: Nourish your skin from the inside out 22 CAUSES: Junior League’s Evening in White 24 COVER STORY: The magic of gathering for a meal 28 PROFILE: Sue Shattuck finds joy creating culinary experiences 38 FOOD & DRINK: Worldly white wines 40 FOOD & DRINK: Normalizing non-alcoholic options 42 LOCAL FARE: Ladies Who Hike find renewal OUT & ABOUT: 54 Savage Premier 58 AlltogetHER Women’s Conference 64 Red Dress Heart Healthy Jazz Extravaganza 66 HER PERSPECTIVE FOOD & DRINK Spend a leisurely Sunday with the Agapi Wine Club
34 inside
& DRINK Pensacola has endless sweet spots
this issue FOOD
Yucatan capital
is a
On the cover:
Page 50
Shopping list: Lauren
Rawls models a slip dress by LA Mode. Find out more on Page 10. Photo by Kate Treick Photography

Versace “slashed-knit” sweater, $1,750,

Boutique Moschino pleated denim mini, $495,

Vasic “Bond” bag, $445,

Isabel Marant “Lennyo” raffia sandals, $860,

“Hole-knit” sweater, $34.99,

Pleated denim mini, $45.90,

“Mini City” bag, $49.90,

MANEBÍ raffia slides, $145,

8 • Bella Magazine • April 2023 where to shop Spend:;;; Save:;;
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APRIL FASHION Follow your instincts

Feel free to throw out the rule book and follow your heart when dressing for spring!

While runways are filled with trends, they’re inclusive and just about anything goes, noted Kammi Tibbs, owner of Envie on Pensacola Beach Boardwalk.

Loose flowy styles, including maxi skirts and gauze, are in. But so are tailored suits, oversized blazers and knits. Vivid green, fuschia and bright pops of color are everywhere, but lavender, mint and neutrals are softer spring options. Pantswise, straight jeans, trousers and cargo pants look current, said Zoe Babcock of Envie.

Polish off your spring outfits with classic gold hoops, dainty necklaces, loafers and beloved and comfy athletic shoes.

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Shopping list: Channel the spirit and colors of the water, sand and sky in this flowing Z SUPPLY skirt, $105, in pristine white and dreamy pastel Free People top, $78.
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Shopping list: With summer around the corner, a strappy relaxed dress is a cool choice! This Cleobella dress, $244, invokes a Boho vibe, perfectly teamed with a sun hat and chunky sandals that can easily be kicked off.

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Lauren Rawls

Pensacola native Lauren Rawls is investing back into the community she loves.

“I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. I couldn’t imagine a reason to ever leave. Pensacola is my place. The sugar sand beaches and history of this town is unmatched,” said the recent UWF graduate, who studied global hospitality and tourism.

She now books and services weddings as the wedding and special event manager at Hilton Pensacola Beach.

“I use my degree to combine my love for people and activity planning to coordinate events from concept to completion. It’s a job that calls for business casual couture,” Rawls said.

At the end of the day and on weekends, she relishes relaxing into sweats, oversized tees and workout wear to

drink in her free time.

“My favorite things consist of biking through the Avenidas on Pensacola Beach, catching rays and catching up on the latest Colleen Hoover novels. My hobbies are unwinding, relaxing and exploring.”

As far as the food and wine scene, Rawls is all in!

“I love to eat as much as the next girl. As far as seafood, the Cracking Crab has captured my heart. The crawfish and crab legs with their to-die-for butter garlic sauce is enough to make your mouth water. For drinks, the Huckleberry Lemonade at 200 South is a must have. The frozen rosé at the Wine Bar on Palafox is the perfect chilled cocktail. I recommend adding the watermelon vodka floater to give it an extra kick and make happy hour a little happier!”

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Shopping list: Slip dresses (above) are a favorite this season and gray is a neutral waiting for accessorizing
or not! Silver jewelry is making a comeback and is the perfect finishing touch for this dress by LA Mode, $160, when leaning toward cool tones. At left: Yay, it’s shorts season! Why not start with these Topanga cuff shorts in olive by Free People, $78? Keep the natural vibe going with a stunning Cleobella top, $156, featuring back beauty.

Shopping list: Bold color pops are big fashion news. A retro rainbow crochet sweater by Elan, $98, is a gorgeous addition for unpredictable April weather on the Gulf Coast. High-rise cropped Pistola jeans, $126, teamed with a white top are classic. And when that top (Bella Dahl, $102) has a side tie and cut-out, classic transforms into cool.

About The Location DRIFT, 41 Fort Pickens Rd., Floor 2, Pensacola Beach; 850-7337331;

Hair & Makeup

Hair by Brittany Schwartz of Opulence Salon Aveda, 864 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Gulf Breeze; 850733-9009;

Makeup by Leslie Peck of Result Medical Aesthetics and Permanent Makeup, 400 E. Jackson St., Pensacola; 850-4665309;

Clothes Compliments of Envie, 400 Quietwater Beach Rd., Suite #7, Pensacola Beach; 850-934-7050;

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stylingthe shoot

Photography: Kate Treick Photography / Fashion styling: Allison McCrory

Where to shop: Envie Boutique

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HOBO “Darcy” bag in black, $128. Kendra Scott “Mikki” hoop earrings, $68. Enewton gold beaded bracelet, $38 each. Florida Hat Company floppy straw hat, $36. Kendra Scott stamped “Dira” silver bracelet, $45. Fryers Dream Girl sunglasses, $69. Kendra Scott gold hoops, $58. Free People wrap sandal, $98.
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Kendra Scott heart drop earrings, $98. ABLE “Naomi” saddle bag, $178. Solei Sea flip flops, $54. Corkcicle floral canteen, $41. ABLE “Rachel” wristlet, $85. Free People “Kora” platform clog, $148. Binky & LuLu bubble hoop earrings, $52.

Nourish your skin from the INSIDE OUT

The secret to beautiful, radiant skin is not only about what products you use on the outside, but also the foods you put inside of your body.

Nutrition is important for your overall health, but it also greatly affects the appearance of the skin. Foods rich in vitamins, beta carotene, omegas and antioxidants can do wonders for many common skin issues such as dry skin, fine lines, loss of collagen, UV damage, rosacea, acne, eczema and psoriasis. A diet balanced with these nutrients and plenty of water will cleanse your body from the inside out and promote skin health and radiance.

Omega-3 and omega-6

Foods rich with the “good” fats can keep the skin supple and hydrated as well as reduce inflammation, redness and sensitivities. Omega-3 is known to help with psoriasis, dry skin, acne and premature aging. Much like omega-3, omega-6 promotes cell turnover and hydration; these essential fatty acids have natural healing properties when ingested regularly.

• Salmon

• Mackerel

• Cod Liver Oil

• Sardines

• Oysters

• Flaxseed

• Chia Seed

Beta carotene

• Nut and Seed Oil

• Walnuts

• Almonds

• Soybeans

• Avacado

• Tofu

Vitamin E

One of the best ways to get vitamin E into the skin is to eat foods that are full of this antioxidant that can protect against free radicals and UV rays. Maintaining a diet mixed with these foods will help restore moisture and elasticity in the skin while protecting your largest organ.

• Coconut Oil

• Sunflower Seeds

• Squash

• Brocoli

• Avocado


Beta Carotene is turned into vitamin A after consumption and the body uses the vitamin A to help reduce UV damage and slow the aging process. Vitamin A repairs skin cells creating a youthful glow. It can also help soothe dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. These foods do not fully protect from UV rays, so it is always important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis.

• Carrots

• Oranges

• Spinach

• Tomatoes

• Peppers

• Sweet Potatoes

• Olive Oil

• Red Pepper

• Mango

• Kiwi

• Spinach

Incorporating several of the following foods into your diet on a regular basis will promote gut health and help to reduce inflammation in the body. Antioxidants that are working from the inside out will radiate benefits to the entire body, including the skin.

• Vegetables

• Fruits

• Whole Grains

• Eggs

• Fish

• Nuts

• Herbs

• Spices

• Green Tea

Leslie Peck is a local makeup artist, aesthetician and lash artist with almost two decades of experience. She has worked 11 seasons of NYC Fashion Week as well as several beauty shoots while living in New York City. Leslie also has experience in TV, film, print and celebrity makeup in Los Angeles. She specializes in bridal makeup, skincare education and was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 2007.

Junior League of Pensacola’s EVENING IN WHITE

Returns with a new mystery location

The Junior League of Pensacola is returning with its annual pop-up event Evening in White at 6 p.m. on April 29. According to Junior League president Katherine Creel, the event is modeled after a pop-up picnic in Paris called Diner en Blanc.

“Communities all over the world do this picnic now –Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Fort Lauderdale – as well as all over Europe,” Creel said.

Attendees wear their most fabulous white attire. The event inspires chic creativity as guests bring their own picnic baskets and white décor. Evening in White will take over a mystery location in Pensacola, which will remain a surprise until the day of the event.

“The event is usually in downtown Pensacola,” Creel said. “This year we are thrilled with the location, it’s the best we’ve ever had!”

Tap the Coast, a mobile bar, will be serving up beer, wine and cocktails at the event. Blue Chair Bay Rum, a sponsor of the event, will feature a signature cocktail. There will be live music as well as fun photo opportunities.

“With general admission tickets, attendees bring their own food and décor. There is a contest for best décor/tablescape. With a sponsorship, all you do is show up wearing white – everything is done for you,” Creel explained.

Evening in White

• When: 6 p.m., April 29

• Where: Location is a mystery until the day of the event

• Information & tickets:; 850-433-4421

All proceeds will benefit the Junior League of Pensacola, a women’s volunteer organization that strives to empower women through community service. In addition to leadership development training for members, funds raised from Evening in White will go directly to community outreach programs like the Diaper Bank, which helps meet the needs for diaper insecurity, and Kids in the Kitchen, a public-school program that teaches kids how to make an easy healthy snack using household ingredients. Global Learning Academy is this year’s Kids in the Kitchen school.

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“The Junior League of Pensacola, Inc. is an organization of women committed to advancing women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration and training. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The Junior League of Pensacola, Inc. reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to voluntarism.”


Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute

Baptist Health Care offers groundbreaking heart and vascular care and is Northwest Florida’s largest and most experienced team of cardiovascular specialists. Collectively the group has pioneered virtually every new innovation in heart care in our region and continuously earns awards for quality and excellence. Our many convenient locations throughout the area offer easy access to the region’s top specialists.

Deeply rooted in our mission of helping people throughout life’s journey to make us – our community – better, we are continuing our legacy of transforming for the future.

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Could there be a link between our society’s rampant anxiety, loneliness and polarization and the loss of shared meals? Some insist that’s a resounding “yes!”

“Basically, every meal that you’re eating alone is a missed opportunity to connect with someone,” reported researcher Ayelet Fishbach of the University of Chicago. “And every meal that involves food sharing fully utilizes the opportunity to create that social bond.”

In fact, her research shows that team members sharing dishes negotiate decisions more quickly and efficiently than those who aren’t. Historians point to the “dinner table bargain” of 1790 when embattled founding fathers put their differences aside amidst a culinary spread. The result was a new capital city in Washington.

Pensacola life coach Erin Kirk believes in the magic of breaking bread together. In fact, attending gatherings called “Love Dinner” where participants regularly dine together are assignments for her clients.

“‘Love Dinner’ was born out of my need for connection with other humans – women in particular,” said Kirk, who launched the meetings in 2013 but only recently brought them to Pensacola. “I was lonely, tired of small talk and annoyed with ‘busy’ being the usual answer to ‘How are you?’”


Societal shifts as well as remote work mean a lot of time alone. Yet everyone has to eat! So communing over dinner is a win-win feeding the body and soul. And as they do within families, regular dinner gatherings of friends require patience and acceptance.

“Our lives are meant to be woven together, even with people we think are a little nuts. That fabric is not only interesting, but it’s useful for catching each other when we fall,” Kirk said.

Partaking of a home-cooked meal around the table at home is an idyllic goal and many families make it a priority. But on weeknights particularly, that goal is sometimes

“Life is so hectic and everybody has so much on their plate. You never know what somebody’s going through in life – if it’s a divorce or somebody died or if they’re having a happy moment. But sometimes people just look forward to that one little 30 minutes or hour out of their day just to sit and have a good meal in their stomach before they have to go back to it.”

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unattainable due to time constraints.

Pensacola retiree Brenda Basford remembers driving her now-grown children home after daycare and hearing the question, “What’s for dinner, Mom?”

Her response was often, “Whatever is on the right side of the road!”

Yet the essential part of dinner was intact: breaking bread and catching up on the day together as a family.

Researchers say the emotional benefits of joining around a table together regularly to dine and converse are powerful for children as well as adults. Research reported in “The Atlantic” shows children who eat dinner with their parents five or more days a week are better students, have fewer problems with drugs and alcohol and are closer to their parents.


So, if we are going to eat together outside the home – or pick up takeout

– where are some of the area’s favorite restaurants?

The Gulf Coast isn’t short on eateries that fuse stellar food with a welcoming vibe.

Earlier this year, Yelp named Taqueria El Asador on Davis Highway the third overall best restaurant in Florida for 2022.

The family business launched in 2014 behind the Shell gas station on Davis Highway south of Olive Road. Long lines are the norm at the restaurant featuring a humble location and authentic, affordable Mexican food. Taco Tuesdays and Chicken Wednesdays are draws, but it is rare not to encounter a line awaiting a taste of El Asador.

For the downtown Pensacola crowd, the restaurant options are many. Fans rave about Aragon Cafe, the iconic Coffee Cup, Dwarf Chicken and Four Seasons. A little further west is another customer favorite, the historic Elbow Room.

In Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach, The Reef, Native Cafe, Lao Ocean, Casino Beach Bar & Grille and The Grand Marlin are favorites while north Santa Rosa County residents are drawn to Blackwater Bistro and Bar 515.

Patron and Pace resident Trish Kington likes the casual, friendly, community vibe and local entertainment at Bar 515.

“I’ve had many menu items from tapas to full dinner entrees,” said Kington, who is especially fond of the Mediterranean Chicken and Center Cut Filet Mignon.

Going Vegan? Check out End of the Line Cafe or Kingfisher. On the west side? Check out Crazy Horse or Fisherman’s Corner.

Jenni Koontz thinks comfort when Crazy Horse and Fisherman’s Corner come to mind – both in the welcoming atmosphere and the food.

“You can see locals and good friends and tourists alike,” she noted.

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8 5 0 . 4 3 2 . 1 2 6 4 | @ b l u e t i q u e p e n s a c o l a 1 2 5 P A L A F O X S T R E E T | D O W N T O W N P E N S A C O L A


The Cheers theme song had a point. For many diners, a warm, welcoming environment may be as important as delicious food when choosing an eatery. And that’s the goal of the Four Seasons team, who make a point to greet customers individually.

“We are dedicated first and foremost to customer service – making customers feel when they come in that they are like family,” said chef Charles Mielke, noting that the restaurant smokes its own meats and is known for its fried chicken. “We have hundreds of people come visit us on a monthly basis that we know by first name.”

Mielke’s wife, owner Kelly Greene, evolved the eatery from humble beginnings when years ago she rolled a cart of fruit, sandwiches and muffins through Seville Tower and the old Coastal Bank & Trust, earning the title of “the fruit and nut lady.”

Now she wears many hats at the bustling business, but her favorite by far is connecting with customers and doing her best to make their time at Four Seasons a highlight of their day.

“Life is so hectic and everybody has so much on their plate. You never know what somebody’s going through in life – if it’s a divorce or somebody died or if they’re having a happy moment,”

said Greene. “But sometimes people just look forward to that one little 30 minutes or hour out of their day just to sit and have a good meal in their stomach before they have to go back to it. I clean bathrooms and do whatever, but my favorite part is making sure the customers are happy and that they’ve had a good meal in a clean environment.”

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Come Visit Us at 401 S. Palafox St. Pensacola, FL • 850.439.1762 • • @DonAlans Pensacola's Menswear Headquarters
“Our lives are meant to be woven together, even with people we think are a little nuts. That fabric is not only interesting, but it’s useful for catching each other when we fall.” — Pensacola life coach Erin Krik

Sue Shattuck

Personal chef and entrepreneur, creates extraordinary dining experiences

Entrepreneur and Milton native Sue Shattuck has successfully made her own way in the male-dominated culinary world with a journey that began years ago in a small, private cooking school outside of Florence, Italy. She travelled through Europe, absorbing knowledge and techniques from master chefs in their restaurant kitchens and in the home kitchens of the best cooks in the villages.

“My hobbies usually involve something in the kitchen, although I am an avid reader and I love to travel,” Shattuck said. “Much of my ‘foodie’ experience has been born through travel and discovery of other food cultures.”

In addition to learning through travel experiences, she studied at the August Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, is a member of the American Association of Private Chefs and holds chef certification from Cibreo Firenze Culinary Arts. Her experience includes 20 years as a culinary instructor, and today Shattuck offers personal chef services to Northwest Florida residents and is the owner of On Board Charcuterie Services.

Contact Shattuck at 850-572-6706 or ChefSueShattuck@gmail. com to place a personalized charcuterie order or schedule a special dining experience.

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Photo by Kate Treick Photography
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Shattuck attributes some of her success to the famous Chef Julia Child.

“She put female culinary professionals on the world map,” Shattuck said. “But women still struggle with recognition. Even here in Pensacola, the Pensacola Celebrity Chefs are comprised of five men –extremely talented men, and respected chefs, all friends of mine. However, Pensacola has a less known group of women chefs who are very successful also. We’ve garnered less accolades. It’s true that women have been feeding the world since the dawn of time, literally breast feeding every child born. Yet, men have been a dominating force in the culinary scene, because women were at home, feeding the children.”

The divorced mother of three children, Leslie, Chad and Julie, has faced greater challenges having lost Leslie in 2021 to a brain bleed due to head trauma after an accident.

“Losing a child is, without question, the most painful, life-shattering thing I’ve ever been through, and I strive each day to make her proud of me.”


Undaunted by the challenges faced in her life and in her industry, Shattuck has used her superior skills to serve or assist some of the world’s best chefs, including Jacques Pepin, John Besh and Mario Batali. She has also created dining experiences for an impressive clientele.

“About 10 years ago, I was contacted by a gentleman who asked if I could do a Spanish-themed dinner for a group of 11 couples. This group has been friends for many, years and they gather once a year in a sort of reunion. The night of the dinner 11 men, dressed in dark suits, along with their gorgeous wives, dressed to impress, arrived to a beautifully decorated table. They ate, drank and were merry as they chuckled their way through a reminiscent past. After dinner, one of the men summoned me over to tell me that my paella was better than any they had eaten in Spain. I was thrilled; preparing paella for 22 is a difficult task and it

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can go wrong quickly.”

Shattuck said that he asked her if she knew who the group was, but she had never inquired.

“He told me that these distinguished men are the original designers, engineers and astronauts of the first Apollo Space Program. I had chill bumps. Without knowing it, I had been in the presence of greatness, some of America’s greatest minds. They were charming and I’ve never forgotten how fortunate I am to have served them. They later sent me a group photo as a remembrance – I treasure it.”


Though she has traveled and cooked with and for a variety of people, Shattuck loves where she is now and enjoys the creativity she can bring to her current venture.

“What’s not to love about charcuterie? It’s such fun! Every board, box, cone or grazing table is an artist’s pallet, the creativity is endless,” she said. “Seasonal items make it easy to switch things up a bit and our access to great Gulf Coast seafood has enabled us to offer SeaCuterie boards, too. Our SeaCuterie is a great option for anyone who prefers seafood over meats.”

Shattuck enjoys bringing her creativity to wedding parties and other large events with innovative grazing tables, charcuterie boards of every size and preference, gift boxes or charcuterie cones. Options can be traditional charcuterie, delicious appetizers, hors d’ouerves or other custom items to make the experience festive and memorable.

All choices can be delivered or ready for pickup.

“My busy hours don’t always allow me to be physically involved in community events, but we donate to a lot of boards and charitable organizations,” Shattuck said. “Our community has been good to us and we give back as much and as often as we can.”

Magi Thomley Williams is a corporate consultant, writer, speaker and trainer at Thomley Consulting. She can be reached at

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Downtown Pensacola Dining

Whether it’s seafood, steak, soulfood, or coastal Italian these restaurants are a perfect pick! From a casual waterfront venue, to an elegant evening in historic surroundings, you will find everything you are looking for in these locally owned Downtown Pensacola restaurants

THE FISH HOUSE : Dockside dining overlooking beautiful Pensacola Bay just steps away from historic Seville Square. Full bar. Late night menu. Brunch on Sundays. Dine inside or out. Features a menu of inventive handpicked wines, and their world-famous Grits à Ya Ya. fresh-seafood selections, house-smoked steaks, sushi,

JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE : Recognized nationally for its award-winning, Southern-influenced steaks and seafood paired with impeccable service. Reservations can be made online. The menu highlights wet-aged, grain-fed beef from the heartland of America. A consummate dining experience in historic downtown Pensacola.

FIVE SISTERS BLUES CAFÉ: Southern favorites in historic Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood of downtown Pensacola. A harmonic blend of southern flavors and soulful music featuring all of the southern comfort favorites with a kick of Creole and Caribbean flair. Fried chicken, cornbread, collards, and more!

ANGELENA'S RISTORANTE ITALIANO: Angelena’s menu brings creative, Southern touches to classic Italian cuisine. Handmade pastas, thoughtfully prepared vegetable dishes are served alongside an abundance of Gulf seafood. The wood-fired oven lends flavor to everything from Neapolitan-style pizzas to meatballs and desserts.


THE FISH HOUSE: 850-470-0003

STEAKHOUSE: 850-469-9898

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421 WEST
April 2023 • Bella Magazine • 33 Y - S A T U R D A Y A N G E L E N A S P E N S A C O L A . C O M 1 0 1 E A S T I N T E N D E N C I A S T R E E T , P E N S A C O L A , F L 3 2 5 0 2 8 5 0 - 5 4 2 - 8 3 9 8 The Garden Room is perfect for private events, contact our team 850-433-9450. P R I V A T E D I N I N G Chef's three-course Pasta Tasting Menu, housemade daily. F R E S H P A S T A . Half-price drinks at the bar, 4 PM – 6 PM A P E R I T I V O H O U R E X C L U D E S B O T T L E S O F W I N E


Bianca and Chef Gus Silivos host Sunday afternoon wine and food adventures

After being on a waitlist for over a year, Agapi Wine Club has a few openings for new members so hurry to reserve your spot!

Bianca and Chef Gus Silivos have curated a superb series of events to showcase Chef Gus’s cuisine and accompanying wine selections for fortunate Agapi Wine Club members. Wine consultants join the monthly gatherings to share notes on the wine while Chef interprets his accompanying culinary choices. Some items in the food pairings are not included on the menu or only appear on the catering menu, others are served on Agapi’s regular menu.

A Sunday family dinner quality permeates Agapi Garden during the parings. Twenty people signed up for the first wine club tasting four years ago; many are still members who have developed close relationships over the shared love of wine and food. In February, participants came from as far away as Destin. The eclectic group at one table included four young girlfriends, two Pensacola businesspeople and a retired Navy couple.

Each month boasts a different theme, which is only revealed to the wine club members the Monday prior to the actual date, keeping anticipation at a

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Photo by Kate Treick Photography


• What: Agapi Wine Club

• When: Upcoming wine club dates are April 23, May 28 and June 25; there are two seatings on chosen Sundays each month: 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

• Where: Agapi Bistro + Garden, 555 Scenic Hwy., Pensacola

• More information: Contact Bianca at or 850-8135683 to join or for more details

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peak. The only exceptions are in March when female winemakers are featured in honor of Women’s History Month and each December when a blind tasting is held. All other dates are a complete mystery until the big reveal.

Members take home two featured bottles of wine or one very special wine from each tasting and members aren’t required to attend to be eligible to receive their wines. Another perk for members is that they receive 15 percent off all bottled wines from the Agapi Bistro + Garden menu when dining in. Membership is $65 per month and can be cancelled or paused at any time. Current members can invite guests for only $25 each.

February’s event included wine consultant Michael Fix of Winebow Fine Wine & Spirits and featured wines produced in warm and cool climates using the same grape varietal. Fix has worked regularly with Agapi Wine Club for the past three years.

“The great thing about Gus and Bianca and what they do here is coming up with a theme,” Fix said. “It keeps people interested, involved in membership. There’s always a different vibe. It keeps people engaged and excited. Also, they make great food, which Gus has been doing for a long time and knows how to pair great foods with great wines. We work as a team – that makes it a good working relationship.”

Wine Club enjoyed in the Agapi Garden is a distinctive way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends old and new while trying a new variety of the grape.

“Be adventurous with wine,” Fix urged. “Try different things when you host a dinner, take a chance on something. Don’t just go with everything that you know. You will be surprised, coming to things like this helps you find things you love when you hated a whole category of things. You should try to branch out, to try new things.”

Agapi Wine Club is the perfect opportunity to embrace the adventure!

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Clockwise from top: Michael Fix is a wine consultant with Winebow Fine Wine & Spirits and featured the wines for the February wine club. Magi Thomley Williams and Kelly MacLeod enjoyed sampling the wines. February’s event featured wines from warm and cool climates using the same grape varietal.



In the extravagantly high-priced world of white Burgundy, this Chablis from Joseph Drouhin is quite the deal. The purity of fruit in this 100 percent unoaked chardonnay from northern Burgundy in France is what makes this wine so special. This is how Chablis should be, elegant with citrus, pear and white flower aromas. The crushed stone mineral finish is brilliant. I can’t think of a better pairing than a simple herb crusted chicken with crusty bread.


The dry Italian grape vermentino has rapidly increased in popularity and has a lot of similarities to sauvignon blanc. This lively white wine has hints of white flowers, lemon rind and great acidity making you want another glass. The Scantianum vermentino is from Scansano, Italy, with a maritime influence that gives the wine its distinct minerality and saline note. A perfect foil for oysters, light flaky fish or linguine.


This wine always gets a lot of attention as there are not many white wines made from red wine grapes. The Left Coast White Pinot Noir is made with pinot noir grapes that have no skin contact during fermentation, leaving the wine a nice golden color. From Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley, this is a richer style of white wine with hints of honey and apple streusel. This would be ideal with grilled salmon and tarragon sauce.


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food & drink


This may be one of the best value wines in the world! Vinho verde (green or young wine) has loads of lemon lime zest, lower alcohol and a slight spritz to it. If there ever was a wine made for the beach, this is it! The Broadbent Vinho Verde is a blend of three rather obscure grapes blended from different vintages. A great wine to show off your latest charcuterie board creation.


Albariño just might be the perfect white wine to enjoy along the Gulf Coast when the weather heats up. From a beautifully rugged coast in northeastern Spain, Senda Verde Albariño is a thirst-quenching wine with zesty tropical fruit, stone fruit, sea salt and crushed sea shells. Perfect with mahi-mahi fish tacos or a Caprese salad.

Move over pinot grigio, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, there are some new white wines in town.

Remember those big jugs of Chablis that your parents used to drink? They gave Chablis a bad reputation – but it is making a comeback. Chablis is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region of France. Its cool climate produces wines with more acidity and less fruitiness than chardonnay wines produced in warmer climates.

According to Bill Carlson, purchasing manager for Seville Quarter in downtown Pensacola, although Chablis and white Burgundies are both made from chardonnay grapes, they are crisper and less oaky than California chardonnays.

“Think of these typically unoaked wines like biting into a green apple while the oaky and buttery chardonnays from California like eating apple pie,” Carlson explained.

Wines referred to as white Burgundies are chardonnay-based wines from France’s easterly Burgundy region. However, a Bordeaux blanc comes from the Bordeaux region of France and is produced from grapes such as sauvignon blanc and semillon. White Bordeaux tends to be more citrus and floral as opposed to grassy and herbal. The flavor is not as tropical or peachy as California sauvignon blanc.

Don’t let a fancy grape intimidate you. Lisa Merritt works at the Seville Wine and Gift Shoppe daily and can answer all your questions and direct you to the wine you are looking for. Or start with one of these worldly whites recommended by Bill Carlson, all under $30!

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By Liz Biggs
Photos by Kate Treick Photography

food & drink

Normalizing non-alcoholic options

Pensacola establishments are offering more varieties of non-alcoholic beverages

Wouldn’t it be great to have a night out on the town without the hangover the next day? It it your turn to be the designated driver – or whatever your reason for not drinking – but you don’t want to be relegated to sipping only soda water with lime while the rest of the group enjoys a night of revelry?

The good news is being the sober one of the group is becoming exceedingly more common. Whether it be a personal choice not to drink that evening or ever again, a number of Pensacola establishments are expanding their refreshment repertoire to include nonalcoholic choices that put an end to the only non-alcoholic option of O’Douls.

“I’ll drink O’Douls if I have to, but I would prefer this Mango Dragonfruit Sour. It’s fabulous,” said Heidi Fischler, general manager of longtime local favorite Wisteria Tavern.

The drink she’s referring to is made by Untitled Art, which is a beverage company who, in 2016, recognized the need to change up the non-alcoholic beer game. The brand is now a staple at Wisteria, and it’s arguably as popular as its boozy brethren.

“We’re talking from pilsners all the way to stouts. I’m buying them every week, we’re rolling through them,” Fischler said.

So what’s the point of such a considerable selection of non-alcoholic beer at a bar? The answer is the social aspect. There’s always been a desire for partygoers to have a well-rounded experience while painting the town red. Whether it’s dancing the night away or

trying your hand at trivia (be sure to pop in Thursday nights for Wisteria trivia at 7 p.m.), sometimes it’s not all about the imbibery.

“It’s nice for the people who still drink but aren’t trying to get completely sloppy,” said Fischler. “It’s also nice for the people that don’t drink but want to be out in the bars and having fun.”

In addition to the 10 or so options of hand-selected, non-alcoholic beer, Wisteria offers non-alcoholic wine, prosecco and rosé. Wisteria’s selection can change week-to-week because breweries are always introducing new products, so this is an exciting time to sample flavors like Orange Peel Wit, Paradiso IPA, Upside Dawn and Chocolate Milk Dark Brew.

What is the response of patrons?

“They’re digging them,” Fischler said. “You wouldn’t know the difference other than you’re not getting drunk.”

Beer not your thing? Don’t fret, as the non-alcoholic scene is exploding with “harder” options in the way of non-alcoholic spirits. Non-alcoholic whiskey, rum and gin are becoming more mainstream options for those who perhaps still enjoy the option of making her or his “a double.”

And what about wine? The principal process of creating vino requires fermentation, which is the chemical conversation of sugar into alcohol.

“We have two types of wine right now – Proxies, which is a ‘layered’ product in the sense that use different fruit juices, different flavor profiles to create a more interesting and dynamic palette,” said Justine GudmundsonMcCain, owner of Bluejay’s Collective

in downtown Pensacola. “But things are also made with grape skin contact, and so the fermentation of alcohol is just not present.”

She said the other line the Collective carries is a “de-alcoholized” wine, which has a much more expected taste profile of wine.

“A focus of what we do in the shop, having such a specific niche of wine really just led to asking ourselves ‘what do we really want to provide to our clients?’ This wine is healthier for you because there aren’t as many preservatives; it’s healthier for the planet because it’s usually grown, farmed and made in much more sustainable methods,” Gudmundson-McCain said.

In essence, the shop’s goal is to provide a balance between those who prefer either beverages with alcohol or beverages without it.

“It’s really hitting that crowd who’s not out to party hardy but just really enjoy what they are partaking in,” she quipped.

As for the “harder” stuff, Bluejay’s Collective offers several brands including Seedlip, a line of distilled non-alcoholic spirits with flavors like Grove 42, possessing a citrus profile and described by the company as “a sophisticated, bright, citrus blend of mediterranean orange, lemon peel, lemongrass and ginger with a dry finish.”

More of a whiskey or gin person? The line Monday Zero Alcohol has you covered with its wide range of non-alcoholic spirits and cocktail kits for those eager to be their own nonalcoholic mixologist.

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“It’s nice for the people who still drink but aren’t trying to get completely sloppy. It’s also nice for the people that don’t drink but want to be out in the bars and having fun.
— Heidi Fischler, general manager of Wisteria Tavern

local fare


Escape to renew and feed the soul

The scent of flowers, the comfort of sunshine, the surprise of a unique fungus, the earthy roughness of tree bark, the balm of wind rustling tree branches and the laughter of fellow hikers.

Those are a few of the payoffs for the women who gather regularly to hike area trails with the quickly growing group Ladies Who Hike.

When Megan Hansen launched the local group in April 2021, she was meeting a need even she didn’t realize was so great.

“When I started the group, I figured maybe 40 ladies would join and maybe I would get a hiking partner every now and again. What has actually happened is that women of all ages are joining and leading hikes. They are out adventuring in nature and loving it. It is so awesome to be part of,” said Hansen, who teaches sixth grade in Santa Rosa County.

In fact, “forest bathing” lowers blood pressure and improves the immune system, reports the National Institutes of Health. And data shows Americans are lonely and anxious, making


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“Deep in the forest I stroll to hear the wisdom of my soul.”
— Angie Weiland-Crosby
Wooden path in the pine glades of Florida. Far left: Megan Hansen launched the Women Who Hike group in 2021.

gathering with like-minded hikers in a serene setting the perfect antidote.

The group meets for a monthly hike organized by Hansen, plus there are several other hiking options created by members.

“We hike all over the local area. I try to swap the monthly group hike to opposite ends of the area to make it easier to access for all – one month I may plan for Blackwater and the next Perdido. A few of the hikes we have done recently include Juniper Creek, the Three Mile bridge, UWF, Fort Pickens, Navy Point, Historic Blakely State, Burnt Grocery Creek, Bear Lake, Hurricane Lake, Krul Lake and sections of the Florida Trail.”


Kathleen Camp has hiking in her blood.

“As a kid, my dad would take me camping, hiking, kayaking and exploring,” Camp said. “Of course, as I grew older, I spent less time outdoors

and focused on school and my career. When I had a child of my own and I introduced him to the outdoors, it rekindled the adventurer in me. I took my son out on little hikes on local urban trails. As he grew older, I wanted to do more, see more, experience more.”

So when Hansen launched Ladies Who Hike, Camp was all in.

“Being a part of Ladies Who Hike has been an absolute joy,” she said. “I am a part of a safe group of likeminded women who are physically active, vibrant, learning new things and skills, and up for exploring the outdoors. Being outdoors has been therapeutic and calming. I have made some lifelong friends while doing something I love and am passionate about.”

As a busy graphic designer, Camp has also joined a spin-off backpacking group, which means even more miles of exploration.

“It broadens the experience,

affording me the opportunity to hike more miles in a day, explore a location of interest with different terrain, put my body and outdoor skills to the test, enjoy good company and get away from daily stressors and really relax,” Camp said. “We’ve seen such beautiful scenery – unique flora and fauna, waterfalls, rivers, creeks, lakes, trees, flowers, funny little fungi, natural bridges, moss covered boulders, vistas, mountains, canyons.”


As pastry chef at The Grand Marlin, Ashley Connors relishes the renewal that escaping to nature offers –especially the longer outings.

“I stumbled across the Ladies Who Hike page on Facebook about a year ago. Since my family and friends aren’t really into hiking and camping, I wanted to find like-minded people to share the experience with. Another main reason I joined is for safety in numbers,” said Connors, who is now

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a moderator for the group, planning hikes and vetting new members.

Like other hikers, the group is pushing Connors to expand her horizons.

“It has really encouraged me to get out and explore new places I wouldn’t have normally. One of my favorite adventures with Ladies Who Hike is one of my first hikes I attended. It

was an eight-mile, 16 miles round trip, backpacking trip with camping overnight. We hiked in all of our gear for the overnight stay at Red Rock in Munson. Now some of the same ladies from that trip will be joining me a year later on four upcoming hiking/ backpacking trips from Alabama to Georgia.”

Camp also looks forward to creating

more nature memories.

“We’ve experienced chilly nights, cold and foggy mornings, hot and muggy afternoons, knee pain, aching backs, sore feet, critters making noises in the night, warm roaring fires, laughter, wonder, peace, fellowship and gratitude,” she said. “Each place we have visited together is different, but the joy is the same and magnified.”

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Find Out How We Are Making HOMEOWNERSHIP AFFORDABLE for Everyone Out of the Box Realty Email: Phone: 888-687-9153 P.O. Box 1242 | Gulf Breeze, FL 32562
The Women Who Hike group meet monthly to hike at various locations all over the local area.

food & drink

Pensacola Sweet Spots


Catering to Pensacola’s vibrant vegan and health-conscious community, End of the Line Café has been an institution for over 20 years, starting out as a quaint coffee shop on East Wright Street. While EOTL may be many lunchgoer’s first thought for the city’s vegan scene, it should be noted that in addition to delicious lunch, dinner and brunch selections, this killer cafe offers some truly remarkable, and of course vegan, desserts.

But can that vegan selection be just as tasty as its traditional counterpart?

“Oh, absolutely,” said Jen Knight, owner of EOTL. “With the desserts, nobody can ever really tell the difference. We are mindful of allergies: gluten, soy, nuts, all of those.”

Having become acquainted with cooking around the age of 9, Knight said she tinkers with recipes at home and then brings the winners to the cafe for the community to enjoy. She explained this was more or less by necessity, as those who gravitated toward the vegan lifestyle had few options in terms of eateries.

“There wasn’t anything for us to eat 20 years ago, so we became recipe writers,” she said.

Knight further explained that it was rare to come across a vegan cookbook before veganism became more prevalent.

“There was no Googling a recipe,” she said of the days before craft sites like Pinterest became go-tos for professional and amateur chefs alike.

That meant starting with a classic recipe and deconstructing it, then finding substitutions for some ingredients. That also meant having to sample each and every recipe.

“There was a lot of trial and error and eating weird foods,” she joked. Joking aside, the good news is with all that trial and error, Knight was able to develop an acute understanding of food allergens. Like any responsible restaurateur, awareness of patrons’ allergies or intolerances is pivotal to business, but most importantly the difference between life and death.

“I’ve converted some of the recipes – there are some things that we can do sugar free, soy free because you can get intolerances and allergies at any point in your life, so we try to cater to as (many) as we can,” Knight said. And to the sweet tooth they cater.

Some of their delectable desserts include – all vegan of course – cheesecake as well as an assortment of cupcakes with flavors of Oreo, peanut butter and red velvet while using natural, sustainable ingredients. For instance, the color for the red velvet is derived from beets.

When the hankering for sweets arises, Pensacola is no sugar slouch. With endless possibilities from creamery-style ice cream to vegan goodies, your sweet tooth has met its match with these locally owned and operated spots.
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End of the Line Café, 610 E. Wright St., Pensacola; 850-4290336;


A few years ago, former database developer and systems analyst Gary Rhodes was ready for a change. Having spent two and a half decades in the world of information technology, he developed a hankering for ice cream. Not in the sense of choosing between one scoop or two, but rather a desire to open up an ice cream shop, a longtime dream of Rhodes’s ever since his maternal grandmother Fannie Lou introduced him to these cold creations.

“She loved making desserts. She cooked all the time and she loved to make all kinds of ice cream,” Rhodes said.

Fast forward to the present-day shop on East Cervantes Street and you’ll find homage to Fannie Lou not only by the name on the sign, but also in the ice

cream itself.

“I’m using some of her dessert recipes in some of the ice cream like Mississippi Mud, which is something she made all the time.”

However heavenly that flavor sounds, Rhodes has put a special local spin on the ice cream names, and you may be surprised to know that one of his bestselling flavors may not seem appealing at first.

“My best sellers are Sea-Salted Turtle and Pelican Poo,” he said.

Don’t be fooled, the tongue-in-cheek names are only more reason to spoon these treats directly into your cheeks. Infused with Oreo cookies and cream cheese and finished with a ribbon of marshmallow and fudge graham pieces, it’s no wonder it’s a challenge to keep up with the demand of Pelican Poo. In addition to his regular tried and true

flavors, Fannie Lou’s features seasonal offerings like King Cake for Mardi Gras season as well as Sweet Valentine.

What sets Fannie Lou’s apart from other local traditional ice cream shops and parlors? According to Rhodes it’s that this mom-and-pop spot is a creamery in which the frozen fare is made onsite using natural, organic and delicious ingredients whenever possible.

For the time being, you’ll probably see Rhodes behind the counter every day Fannie Lou’s is open, and he wouldn’t have it any other way, and that’s largely because of his grandmother’s Southern hospitality.

“She liked to entertain when she could,” he said. “She lived way out in the country, (and) always had desserts for whoever came (over). That’s the part I like about this – people coming in and enjoying their ice cream.”

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Fannie Lou’s Ice Cream, 3101 E. Cervantes St., Pensacola; 850-332-6770;


Rhodes and Knight have a couple things in common: they both grew up in a cooking environment and both share a passion for creating food. But what if you, too, are an aspiring culinary creator, perhaps also starting off in your own home kitchen, and your passion outgrows your space?

It’s a common occurrence with up-and-coming bakers, cooks and chefs, but Bluejay’s Collective, formerly known as Bluejay’s Bakery, might be able to accommodate your growing passion and need for space. Owner Justine GudmundsonMcCain is the brainchild behind this collective kitchen because her passion also outgrew her home kitchen.

“We allow the space to be used as a commissary kitchen for other bakers,” Gudmundson-McCain said.

This means other businesses currently or formerly operating under the cottage food law and are doing markets and events that want to move into a bigger space can use Bluejay’s kitchen. In fact, the baked items created at Bluejay’s come from several bakers all utilizing the kitchen space nestled in the breezeway of the Blount Building on Palafox since 2016. Ana’s Sweet Creations operated by Ana Sicilia and Make Ends Sweet operated by Kaitlin Carroll are currently independently branded under the Bluejay’s Collective umbrella.

Bluejay’s Collective (Bluejay’s Bakery, Ana’s Sweet Creations, Make Ends Sweet), 11 Palafox Pl., Ste. E, Pensacola; 850-9829731;

One major benefit of the use of a fully-equipped kitchen for baking is saving time. The counter and oven space alone are plenty to entice the most efficient of bakers.

“We have one who said that she would spend five days baking in preparation for Palafox Market,” GudmundsonMcCain said. “Now she comes in here for three days and does twice as much.”

Need a sweet treat for a lot of people during a special occasion? In addition to baked goods, all of the bakers of Bluejay’s Collective specialize in cakes, from birthday to wedding and every sweet occasion in between.

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worth the trip


History and creative food are aplenty in Yucatan capital BREAKFAST

Located in the northwest corner of the Yucatan peninsula, Merida, also the capital of Yucatan, is a thriving gastronomical hotspot with a rich cultural history. It is surrounded by cenotes, natural sinkholes filled with clear groundwater, that keeps the landscape lush and green. There are also several ancient Mayan sites within a one- to two-hour drive, adding to the rich history and the endless things to see. For now, we are focused on the food.

Artistry abounds in Merida and food is no exception. I truly believe I had the best breakfast of my life at La Libertad in Merida. It is small so there can be a wait or make a reservation. There is a cute little shop to entertain yourself as you wait, and the restaurant has a delightful ambience.

You can feel healthy and start off with the Antioxidant smoothie, made with mango, coconut milk, cinnamon, curcumin, cardamon, ginger, nutmeg and agave syrup. The coffee bar has extensive options that do not disappoint.

I had the Poblano Omelette, which may sound simple, but the flavors were anything but simple. The poblano sauce was, well, there’s no other way to say it – TO DIE FOR!

Someone else in our party had the Cochinita Chilaquiles which were quite the treat – fried tortilla chips with salsa, juicy pork and habanero onions. Thankfully someone in the group always seems to splurge and order hot cakes that were sprinkled in powdered sugar and covered with bananas and strawberries. I am certain that it was the Poblano Omelette that won the day, though. Yay, me!

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Apoala is a delightful restaurant on Plaza Santa Lucia featuring Oaxacan cuisine. It is a great spot to grab lunch at one of the outdoor tables lining the square during a day of shopping and visiting the local shops. Evenings can be pretty busy but a good time since there are often dance events happening in the plaza. The service is great and the food is really flavorful. I don’t know what they do to the Ensalade Verde, but it hit me perfect for a midday meal. It was light yet the roasted vegetables, fava beans and avocado with a vinaigrette dressing made it quite filling and gave me fuel for the rest of the afternoon.

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Habibi is a Lebanese restaurant located in a newer City Center area of Merida. It’s fun to mix the old and the new in Merida, and to experience traditional local cuisines as well as different cuisines from all over the world that are appearing in the city. Habibi is one such place and is located in the main level of a tall, mirror-glassed building that is not your typical lobby. The food court of the building has tall, sprawling trees and is modeled after The Plaza hotel in New York. This is a definitely a fun place for sharing food and there are a lot of delicious hummus and kebob options to try. The grilled octopus was was excellent and trying man’oushe – Lebanese version of flat bread – was a treat. The dessert options are divine, your group should definitely splurge and order several to share!

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Savage Premier

On Feb. 13, the Saenger featured the red carpet premier of Savage, a new horror film produced, written and filmed by local talent. Written and directed by Javan Garza and starring Dawn Hamil as Sky, the film received a warm welcome and was attended by hundreds of fans. Congratulations to the cast and crew on a successful premiere!

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Photos by Kate Treick Photography Nikkita Kent, Natalie Polegato, Eddie Wells, Jennifer Wells, Sabrina Shaw, Whitney Adams
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Rogeric and Nikki Coleman Julissa and Ryan Battimarco Vanessa Padla, Tom Glynn, Debbie Wright Malyana Jackson, Whitney Robbins Gina Breslin, Isabella Breslin, Mark Breslin Emily and Curtis Daughtery Anajah Coleman, Michael Therrian, Madison Brady, Isaiah Fisher, Auna Hamil, Thomas Packer V., Heaven Crossin, Michelle Therrian
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Auna Hamil, Kevin Hamil, Dawn Hamil, Viera Hamil Alonzo Coleman, Katrina Coleman, Anajah Coleman Daniel and Donna Pennington
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Linda Johnson, Metris White, Shannon Smith, Patricia White, Ty A. Smith Sean Gloria, Cailan Orn


AlltogetHER Women’s


The Pensacola Chamber’s inaugural AlltogetHER businesswomen’s event took place on Feb. 2 at the Pensacola Country Club and featured some of Pensacola’s leading businesswomen including title sponsor Carol Carlan, Sue Straughn, Dr. Sherry Hartnett, Dee Dee Davis, Dawn Rudolph and more.

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Photos by Lakesha Davis Christina Doss, Hong Potomski, Beth Skarda
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Willa Licata, Kristine Rushing, Amie Remington, Sue Straughn, McKenzie Burleigh, Dr. Sherry Hartnett, Dawn Rudolph, Dee Dee Davis, Carol Carlan, Todd Thomson Rhonda Ford, Crystal Berkley, Anna Causey Whitney Fike, Kayla Stanley Kaydee Zimmern, Macu Mateo Heather Flowers, Randi Lawrence
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Pamela Baldo, Crystal Lovelock Robin Zimmern, Crista Brandt Terry Mahoney, Magi Thomley Williams
• Bella Magazine • 61 LocalLY Curated Gifts Shop Local. Support Local. Custom gifts Corporate gifts Realtor gifts Wedding gifts Welcome Gifts Any Occasion Shopping local for gifts has never been easier!
Elizabeth Gray, Tori Bennett, Aimee Dumas, Cheyenne Sherman
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lldi Hosman, Dr. Erin Mayfield Jeanine Fowler, Cindy Ritchie, Kara Green Barbara Orth, Laura Swann
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Stephanie Powell, Briana Wigley, Jenny Noonan, TIna Tortomase, CJ Lydon


Red Dress Heart Healthy Jazz Extravaganza

Red Dress Heart Healthy Jazz Extravaganza, hosted by The Pensacola Chapter of The Links Incorporated, was held at Hilton Garden Inn on Feb. 25. All came dressed in a shade of red in support of the “Go Red” national campaign, which encourages awareness of women and heart disease. Guests brunched while gaining information from a panel discussion guided by Sue Straughn and a dance performance was shared by Dixon School of The Arts & Sciences students.

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Photos by Lakesha Davis Stephanie Duenas, Jovi Williams, Janet Fuller, Lornette Stewart
April 2023 • Bella Magazine • 65
Sandra McCreary, Glenda Atkins, Eladies Sampson, Shelia Grimes Sallie Phillips, Kim Warren Kim Lee, Shamonee Baker, Delois Thigpen Kim Kovacs, Dr. Kevin Kovacs, Starr Burlingame, Lisa Mella Burridge Erica Cortes, Gail Judson Kathy Lee, Adetoun Evans Dr. Anita Choice, Tasha Avery Marqueta Taylor, Tasha Avery, Tiera Sinkfield Cynthia Peters, Saundra Davis, Rose Wilkerson

Maybe we should talk about it her perspective

When I was in middle school, I attended PATS (the Program for Academically Talented Students). It was awesome because you got to get out of school and take weird classes with all the other gifted kids in town.

One semester we had some “Mensa” class where we played dice games. This awkward boy was in my group and he was brilliant (there is a difference between smart and brilliant). We won every game. Then, the next semester he was assigned to be my lab partner in a genetics class where we anesthetized fruit flies with ether to study their traits under a microscope. We accidentally overdosed a lot of fruit flies with that ether. And I learned a profound lesson – there is a fine line between comfortably numb and dead.

Years later when I was in my early 20s, I was shocked to read the obituary of my brilliant PATS classmate. I had not seen or heard of him since eighth grade. He died of a drug overdose.

I remember being so sad – what a waste of a brilliant mind. I couldn’t help but be perplexed, though. Hadn’t he learned about that fine line when we killed all those fruit flies? I wanted to know more about him and what happened. But nobody wanted to talk about it.

Sadly, this story is not over. It begins again my senior year of B. T. Washington High School. In my AP History class, I sat next to Fred, our valedictorian and the most brilliant boy ever (alas, very shy and awkward). Our assignment was to write an essay on “Jacksonian Democracy: A Façade?” Why do I remember this 40 years later? I’ll tell you why.

Usually, we just turned in our assignments to the teacher. But on this day, we had to swap papers with the student beside us and grade our peer’s paper. Ugh, it was just my

luck to sit next to Fred. I thought my essay was good – I was ranked number seven in the senior class and knew how to use a semicolon. But his paper was off the charts. Mine seemed so middle school compared to his, I was embarrassed he had to read it. I gave him an A plus and couldn’t find anything whatsoever to critique. He made several corrections and comments, was very polite, told me at least I proved my thesis and gave me a B. I probably deserved a C; he was just being kind. At graduation they announced he had a full ride to Harvard. He wanted to be a nuclear physicist, I think. But the week after graduation, he drank a whole bottle of vodka and died of alcohol poisoning/asphyxiation.

I think it was a dare. He wanted so desperately to fit in with the cool kids. But I don’t know. Because shhhhh, nobody wanted to talk about it. Could I have been nicer to him? Sat next to him on the bus freshman year or at least smiled at him when I passed him by to sit with my friends? Would kindness have made a difference? Would he still be alive to make the world a better place with his beautiful mind? I’ll never know. It feels like something we should talk about.

High school bullying and binge drinking are alive and well. I tried to talk to my teenage daughter about it, but it made her terribly uncomfortable and she changed the subject.

Many of my dear friends have lost their loved ones to suicide or overdoses. It is hard to know what to say. Words seem inadequate. So, we avoid the subject. A very good friend told me that talking about the brother she lost helped her deal with the grief. When people spoke of him, it helped keep the memories alive and made her smile.

Yes, this is a sad story. But life is sad sometimes. Maybe we should talk about it.

66 • Bella Magazine • April 2023
Liz Biggs is a Pensacola native and mother of four. Once upon a time, she had a high-pressure career but now she has a pension and is a freelance writer for Bella Magazine. Liz enjoys music, dancing, tennis and travel and tries to find humor in everything.