Alabama Tourism Department News August 5, 2014

  • Biloxi WLOX 13: Can we learn from Alabama’s tourism success?
  • Alabama Restaurant Week sign-up period ends
  •  “Fried Green Tomatoes” screening at Capri Theatre to benefit Alabama Governor’s Mansion
  • Battle of Mobile Bay postage stamp dedicated, unveiled
  • Heiko Einfeld steps in to permanently lead the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Discover history, art and icons of Montgomery
  • Foodie alert: new map shows where to find farm-fresh foods at markets, restaurants in Alabama
  • Alabama Tourism Department workshops
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events



Biloxi WLOX 13: Can we learn from Alabama’s tourism success?
By Doug Walker, WLOX 13-TV, July 31

Money is once again flowing into coastal Alabama. New construction can be seen everywhere you look. To say that Orange Beach and Gulf Shores have made a comeback would be a huge understatement.

Just look at the numbers. In 2013, the two cities raked in $349 million in lodging revenue, and $683 million in retail sales. That is an increase of more than 30 percent since 2010, the year of the spill.

If there’s one reason for the turnaround, it’s this, according to tourism bureau President Herb Malone.

“The main thing we’ve done here is work together. Our organization represents both the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and we have a great synergy of everybody working together, particularly in times of crises,” Malone explained.

What’s also awesome is the number one draw here; the beach and blue water. Even on a weekday morning, the beach is packed.

The condo and real estate market is rising once again as well. One development office is constantly busy these days.

That’s where real estate broker Jay Stradley works.

“The activity is up about 12 percent year to date over last year. Prices are coming up on the beachfront condos and on Ono Island. A lot of buyers coming into the marketplace that have been coming to the area for the last three or four years,” Stradley said.

You know the old saying. You have to spend money to make money. The area does just that, spending more than $5 million a year on promotion, according to Malone.

“Promotion is what we’re all about, and it’s really about spreading the word, letting people know all the different things that we have to offer,” said Malone.

Tony Kennon, the Mayor of Orange Beach, explained, “It’s customer service. We want our visitors to return. We don’t want a one shot deal, and I think we do a very good job of making them believe we appreciate them and we want them to come back. We’re a true example of what old fashioned southern hospitality is all about,” Kennon said.

To read the entire article, go to:

 Alabama Restaurant Week sign-up period ends

More than 200 Restaurants Participating

More than 200 restaurants from across the state are participating in this year’s Alabama Restaurant Week on Aug. 15-24.  The deadline for restaurants to sign-up in the statewide promotion was Aug. 1.

The restaurants will be offering two-course lunch specials ranging from $5 to $15 while three-course dinners will cost from $10 to $30, not including tax, tip and drink. Restaurants have the option of offering specials at both lunch and dinner or choosing to offer just lunch or just dinner specials.

This year’s participating restaurants include Dreamland BBQ, Wintzell’s Oyster House and Baumhower Restaurants locations as well as the dining facilities at Alabama State Park resorts.

Albertville:  Jefferson’s Albertville, Sebastien’s on Main

Anniston:  Betty’s Bar B Q, Peerless Saloon and Grille, Prime Dining and Bar

Athens:  LawLers Barbecue

Auburn:  Ariccia, Bob’s Victory Grille Auburn

Bay Minette:  Devoni’s Pizzeria

Birmingham:  26, Davenports Pizza Palace, Sol’s Deli, Ted’s Restaurant, Asian Rim, Baumhower’s of Lee Branch, Billy’s Sports Grill Liberty Park, Black Market Grill, Bottega Café, Bottega Dining Room, Bristro 218, Cantina, Century Restaurant and Bar, Chez Fonfon, Cosmo’s Pizza, Dixie Fish Co., Dreamland BBQ Birmingham, Eagles Restaurant, Fish Market Restaurant Southside, Five Bar Birmingham, Garden Cafe by Kathy G, Highlands Bar and Grill, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Iron City Grill, J Clyde, John’s City Diner, Little Savannah Restaurant, Melt Avondale, Metro Prime Steakhouse, Michael’s Steaks Seafood Restaurant, Nabeel’s Cafe & Market, Ocean, On Tap Sports Café, Oscar’s Cafe at the Museum, Parish Seafood& Oyster House, Pazzo! Calzone Bakery, Primeaux Cheese & Vino, Rojo, Satterfield’s Restaurant, Silvertron Café, Slice Pizza & brew, The Pantry, The Summit Club, The Wine Loft, Urban Standard, Veranda on Highland, Vino, Vittoria, Jo Jo’s on Broadway

Cedar Bluff:  Tony’s Pizza & Subs

Centre:  Lanny’s, Sageberry Restaurant & Catering

Daphne:  Baumhower’s Restaurant of Daphne

Decatur:  Albany Bistro, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Sixth Ave, Big Bob Gibson Danville Road, Brick Deli, C. F. Penn Hamburgers, Fite’s Waterfront Dining, Mellow Mushroom Decatur, Simp McGee’s, Timbuck2

Delta:  Cheaha Mountain Restaurant at Cheaha State Park

Demopolis:  Jefferson Country Store

Dothan:  Basketcase Café, Cookies Corner Cafe

Elba:  Ranch House Cafe, LLC

Eufaula:  Water’s Edge Restaurant at Lakepoint State Park

Fairhope:  Frenchman’s Corner of Fairhope, Grand Steakhouse, Isabella’s, Pinzone’s Italian Downtown, Saltwater Grill, Sweet Olive Bakery & Café, Wintzell’s Oyster House – Fairhope

Fayette:  Belk Kountry Kitchen, Charles’, Sam’s Smokehouse

Foley:  Gelato Joe’s

Fort Payne:  DeSoto State Park Mountain Inn Restaurant, Vintage 1889

Greenville:  Bates House of Turkey

Grove Hill:  Gene & Ellen’s Drive In

Gulf Shores:  Amelia’s Deli and Catering, Bill’s By the Beach, Cactus Flower Cafe – Gulf Shores, Original Oyster House Gulf Shores

Guntersville:  Bruce’s, Crawmama’s Seafood, Steaks & Catering, Pinecrest at Lake Guntersville State Park, Sakura Japanese Steakhouse

Hamilton:  Toll Gate Café

Hartselle:  The Freight House

Heflin:  Marie’s BBQ House, Sutton’s

Homewood:  Homewood Gourmet, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches Soho & Summit

Hoover:  Baumhower’s of Patton Creek, Tortuous Cafe

Huntsville:  1892 East, Baumhower’s of Huntsville, Below the Radar, Brasserie Juno, Clementine’s at Huntsville Botanical Garden, Commerce Kitchen, Cotton Row, D’licous Dining & Smokehouse Grill, Dreamland BBQ Huntsville, Eaves Restaurant, Grandville’s Gourmet Ribs and Barbecue, Grille 29, Hildegard’s German Cuisine, Hoppers Bar and Grill, Humphrey’s, Huntsville Marriott Great Room, J. Gumbos, Mangos Caribbean Restaurant, Nick’s Ristorante, Office Break Room and Bar, Pane E Vino, Peppered Pig, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sady’s Bistro Providence, Sage Grille, Scene Restaurant & Lounge, Shea’s Express, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, The Bottle, The Office Break Room & Bar, West End Grill, Wintzell’s Oyster House – Huntsville

Leeds:  Rusty’s Bar-B-Q

Leesburg:  Arctic Snow

Madison:  Buenavista Mexican Cantina, Cafe on Wheels Neon Lilly LLC, Sady’s Bistro

Mobile:  Carpe Diem Coffee & Tea Co, Dreamland BBQ Mobile, Joe Cain Café, La Pizzeria

Pita Pit, Serda’s Coffee Co, Spot of Tea, The Trellis Room, Wintzell’s Oyster House – West Mobile, Wintzell’s Oyster House – Downtown Mobile

Montevallo:  Eclipse Coffee & Books, El Agave

Montgomery:  Baumhower’s of Montgomery Downtown, Dreamland BBQ Montgomery, Montgomery’s Café, Wintzell’s Oyster House – Montgomery

Mountain Brook:  Billy’s Sports Grill English Village, La Paz Mountain Brook

New Market:  New Market BBQ

Northport:  Billy’s Sports Grill Northport, Dreamland BBQ Northport

Orange Beach:  Baumhower’s at the Wharf, Bimini Bob’s, Compleat Angler at the Wharf, Louisiana Pantry, Voyagers Restaurant, Wintzell’s Oyster House – Orange Beach

Prattville:  Sugar B’s Bakery and Cafe

Rogersville:  Daniella’s in the Park

Saraland:  Wintzell’s Oyster House – Saraland

Selma:  EvMarie’s Cupcakery, Mark’s Mart, LLC, Sandbar, LLC, Selma Family Restaurant AKA All In One, Tally-Ho Restaurant

Sheffield:  George’s Steak Pit, Singing River Bar and Grill

Spanish Fort: Original Oyster House Mobile Causeway, Wintzell’s Oyster House – Spanish Fort

Thomasville:  Big Mike’s Steakhouse, David’s Catfish House, Gaston’s Grill, People’s Corner

Troy:  Dolce Pastry Shop

Trussville:  Tortugas Cafe

Tuscaloosa:  Another Broken Egg Café, Baumhower’s of Tuscaloosa, Bob’s Victory Grille Tuscaloosa, Chuck’s Fish, Cypress Inn, Dreamland BBQ Tuscaloosa, Epiphany Farm to Fork Cuisine, Evangeline’s, FIG, Five, Glory Bound Gyro Co, Hoo’s Q, Kozy’s, Mugshots Grill & Bar, Southern Ale House, Sweet Home Food Bar, Time to Eat,

Tuscumbia:  Claunch Café, OH! Bryan’s Downtown

Union Springs:  Josephine Art Center Cafe

Vestavia Hills:  FoodBar

“Fried Green Tomatoes” screening at Capri Theatre to benefit Alabama Governor’s Mansion

 Grab your best friends and come out to the historic Capri Theatre on Aug. 28, for a special screening of the southern classic “Fried Green Tomatoes” at a benefit supporting the preservation of the historic Alabama Governor’s Mansion.

 Festivities will include themed hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by the film screening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop, Sandra Nickel Realty, at the door the night of the event while supplies last, or from board members.  Organized by the Friends of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion, proceeds will support restoration projects at the mansion.

“We hope the community will join us as we celebrate Alabama culture while supporting the preservation of our Governor’s Mansion,” said Buffy Lockette, Friends of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion board member.  “Guests can expect laughs, great conversation, and a fried green tomato or two.”

 Released in 1991, “Fried Green Tomatoes” is based on the novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” written by Alabama’s own Fannie Flagg.  It follows the tale of an unlikely friendship between the rebellious tomboy Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and straitlaced good girl Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker) in rural Alabama in the 1920s. Told in flashbacks by elderly Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) to unhappy housewife Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates), the humorous and dramatic film is a favorite among southern women.

 The Friends of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion is a non-profit organization that works to ensure the preservation of the historic Alabama Governor’s Mansion Complex located on South Perry Street in downtown Montgomery’s Garden District.  The property has served as the official residence of the Alabama governor since 1951.

Learn more at:

Battle of Mobile Bay postage stamp dedicated, unveiled

By Emily Hill,, July 30

The 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Mobile Bay postage stamp was dedicated during a ceremony at the History Museum of Mobile Wednesday morning.

There was standing room only as the ceremony, led by Postmaster of Mobile Reginald Capers, began with the posting of the colors by the U.S. Coast Guard ATC Mobile Color Guard. This was followed by the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, then the National Anthem, sung by Rasheda Banks.

David Alsobrook, executive director of the History Museum of Mobile, said they knew several months ago that the Battle of Mobile Bay and the Petersburg stamps were coming out, and wanted to hold the ceremony at the museum. “For a Mobilian, historian, and someone who collects stamps, it doesn’t get any better than this,” Alsobrook said.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson reflected on the battle, and noted the honor of having Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service, present for the unveiling and dedication.

“I’ve done probably 100 stamp dedications, and this is one of, if not the, nicest venues … it says a lot about the spirit of Mobile, Alabama,” Donahoe said.

“Today the Postal Service continues its five-year commemoration of the Civil War,” Donahoe continued. “It gives you the opportunity to honor the troops that fought in Petersburg and Mobile Bay.”

Donahoe helped officially unveil the commemorative piece, as he and several others drew back blue curtains to reveal a large Battle of Mobile Bay stamp.

The Mobile Bay stamp depicts Admiral David G. Farragut’s fleet at the Battle of Mobile Bay on Aug. 5, 1864.

The Petersburg stamp depicts the 22nd United States Colored Troops engaged in the June 15-18, 1864, assault on Petersburg, Va., at the beginning of the Petersburg Campaign.

Both stamps were created by art director Phil Jordan. The Petersburg Campaign stamp is a reproduction of an 1892 painting by J. Andre Castaigne. The Battle of Mobile Bay stamp is a reproduction of a painting by Julian Oliver Davidson published circa 1886 by Louis Prang & Co.

The U.S. Postal Service says customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of issue postmark by mail. Stamps can also be purchased at a local Post Office, The Postal Store, at or by calling 800-STAMP-24.

For more information, go to:

Heiko Einfeld steps in to permanently lead the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce

By Michael Finch II,, July 30

The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce chose Heiko Einfeld to be its new executive director last week. After serving in an interim role, Einfeld, 53, who has worked in the tourism industry, was permanently selected for the post by a search committee.

“Heiko’s experience as a business owner, passion for tourism, and proven track record of strategy development and implementation is critical in moving our Chamber forward,” board chairwoman Contina Woods said.

Einfeld, who has been a chamber member for 18 years, most recently worked as the general manager at the Holiday Inn Express in Fairhope, in which he also held a share of ownership.

Prior to moving to Baldwin County, Einfeld lead operations for Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

He is also a board member for the Alabama Travel Council, Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism and the Baldwin County Education Coalition. Einfeld currently lives in south Baldwin County with his wife Dana Einfeld, who works with the Baldwin County School System.

Einfeld said he wants to focus on the opportunities to expand tourism in the three-city region that includes Daphne, Fairhope and Spanish Fort.

“What you will probably see within the next 90 days is a lot of visitation, maybe some town hall meetings (so) we can get to know where we, as the Eastern Shore, want to go,” Einfeld said. “And what can the chamber do to get them there?”

To read the entire article, go to:

Discover history, art and icons of Montgomery 

Southeastern Group Tour, summer 2014

Alabama’s capital city is a place where history happened, especially from the Civil War to the civil rights era. Today, Montgomery continues to make history. Connect with the story on this two-day tour from Meg Lewis, director of tourism and special projects for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau.

The summer issue of Group Tour Magazine featured Alabama including several partners complete with contact information and links to web sites. You can view the itinerary and article by going to the following link and forward to the page number listed:

Discover History, Art and Icons of Montgomery – Alabama – page 15

Alabama Wildlife Center Champions Injured and Orphaned Birds – page 16

eco-Tours Reveal Wonders of Mobile-Tensaw Delta – pages 17 & 18

Take Flight – Birders Migrate South – pages 10, 11, 12 and 13

To read the entire article, go to:

 Foodie alert: new map shows where to find farm-fresh foods at markets, restaurants in Alabama

By Kelly Kazek,, July 28

Are you a foodie? If you spend your spare time watching the Food Network or reading Food Traveler magazine and would love to know where to find the best Alabama-made foods, the Appalachian Regional Commission created a one-stop map that shows you.

In conjunction with Food Traveler magazine, the ARC created a promotion called Bon Appétit Appalachia that showcases unique local foods across the 13-state Appalachian region. The maps will be included in the summer 2014 issue of Food Traveler Magazine, and can also be found online at

According to the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, the map is designed “to educate travelers and residents on local farms, farmers markets, farm-to-fork restaurants, chefs featuring local ingredients, vineyards and award-winning wineries, craft breweries and distilleries, heritage food festivals, and other distinctive culinary events.”

For the entire article and lists of food sites, go to:

Alabama Tourism Department workshops

The Alabama Tourism Department will host two tourism workshops for new tourism industry members, event organizers and anyone interested in enhancing tourism in their area.  These workshops, which are free of charge, will be held Oct. 7, in the Alabama Center for Commerce, 7th floor auditorium, 401 Adams Avenue, Montgomery; and Oct. 9, at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham.  Come learn about the many programs and services the Alabama Tourism Department offers.

For registration information, contact Rosemary Judkins at 334-242-4493 or e-mail: Rosemary.Judkins@Tourism.Alabama.Gov.

 Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

 Aug. 15 – 24               Alabama Restaurant Week

Aug. 17 – 20               SCMA/GNOA/AMA Regional Meeting, Shreveport, LA

Aug. 22 – 26               SYTA – Toronto, Canada

Sept. 7 – 14                 World Leisure Congress, Mobile

The Alabama Tourism Department News is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry.

The newsletter can also be accessed online by going to:

To subscribe to the weekly Alabama Tourism News, please contact Peggy Collins at:

Alabama Tourism Department