The Hope Farm in Fairhope kicks off 2023 with new restaurant, menus and more

By Melanie LeCroy
Lifestyle Editor
melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/20/23

FAIRHOPE — What started as an idea for a boutique shipping container farm and wine bar has evolved into an entire restaurant complex.Owners Bentley Evans and his father, Robert Evans, opened …

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The Hope Farm in Fairhope kicks off 2023 with new restaurant, menus and more

Posted

FAIRHOPE — What started as an idea for a boutique shipping container farm and wine bar has evolved into an entire restaurant complex.

Owners Bentley Evans and his father, Robert Evans, opened The Hope Farm in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to grow its restaurant and hydroponic container farm.The winning team the Evanses have put together has grown the business and pushed the boundaries for 2023.

A NEW RESTAURANT

The Barn isn't a new structure on The Hope Farm compound, but it does have a new purpose.

When you walk into The Barn, your eyes won't know what to focus on first, the rich green color that covers the space from ceiling to walls, the brass logo or the beautiful open kitchen. It is hard to believe the space was once used for storage.

Now, The Barn is a new restaurant and hitting two markets the main restaurant wasn't covering: breakfast and lunch. Starting at 7 and running until 11 a.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, diners can grab a breakfast pastry made by the pastry team.

The Evanses partnered with Nova Espresso to operate in the space for the coffee program. No longer do you need to drive to Mobile to enjoy their coffee.

Executive Chef Adam Stephens and his team have put together a lunch menu that highlights everything from fresh Gulf oysters and ceviche to a Wagyu burger and local chicken sandwich. Lunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"This is going to be the game-changer. This will change the entire scope of what it is to eat in south Alabama," Stephens said. "From the tasting menus to the pastry program. Lunch may sound simple, but it is not a simple menu. It is going to be fun. There will be some comfortable things, some plays off classics, but it is going to be exciting. We are just getting started. There is nothing like it now, and there isn't going to be anything like it in the future."

NEW EXPERIENCES

An exciting addition to the scope of what The Hope Farm offers is the addition of monthly classes, experiences, tastings and wine dinners. Stephens said each month there will be a hands-on educational program, a tasting dinner and a wine dinner. The first event, The Mother Cocktails Art of Mixology was a hands-on cocktail making experience that taught guests the history of and how to make four cocktails. Stephens also paired the cocktails with snacks.

"We have a mushroom-themed dinner coming up that will be mushrooms from start to finish, including the dessert. I am going to do a black Paraguay truffle and vanilla gelato with a 30-year-old balsamic. It is going to be something special. That is just the start. I have five to six multicourse tasting menus already written," Stephens said.

Will Jones, general manager and wine director, said he is excited to stretch his wine program even further with the new space. He has been working with the culinary team since opening to host occasional wine dinners, but The Barn space means each month, a new wine dinner.

"We are like Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. We can do whatever we want, which is so lovely," Jones said. "Being able to taste these wines that people may not traditionally look at or finding different back vintage wines that other people just can't have access to at this moment and being able to allow our guest to try those and then pair it with outrageous food, amazing food that accents it is amazing."

The wine dinner for January welcomes Hill Family Estate Wine that Jones and Stephens paired with Murder Point oysters, chicken liver mouse, scallops and more. You can find out more on The Hope Farm website under Barn Events.

NEW MENU

The Barn isn't the only new menu that Stephens and the culinary team have put out.

The main dining room menu received an overhaul in December with the launch of the new brasserie-style menu.

"We knew that there were some things that were lacking in the Fairhope market that it wanted, that we wanted, and that we wanted to see growth in not just for us but restaurants around us. We wanted to help influence where the direction of cuisine in Fairhope goes," Stephens said. "We knew there wasn't a lot for high-end steak and steakhouse vibes, so we wanted to put a steak section on the menu. Not make it purely a steakhouse feel because that is not what we do but we wanted to have offerings that had steaks. We also wanted to keep that creative drive and farm focus so that is how we came to the idea of a brasserie."

The menu is still composed of a selection of small plates, salads and composed dishes like stuffed flounder and pork chops. The new steak section offers a selection of compound butter like foie and black and blue and sauces like chimichurri that can be added to one of the six steaks. A selection of a la carte sides is also available.

"We have small plates that are a little more delicate and bigger plates that are a little more aggressive. It is all about balance. We wanted the whole menu to have a beautiful balance of ying and yang," Stephens said.

One thing that isn't new is the focus on seasonality and using the farm.

"Seasonality is always going to be a focus. You always want to work with things at their peak," Stephens said. "I don't want to get fresh tomatoes shipped in from Peru in the dead of winter. I am going to wait to put a beautiful tomato salad on the menu when they are ripe and I can go next door to the farm and pick them."

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