Tourism Tuesdays Nov. 12, 2019

Alabama tourism honored for civil rights promotion

State to build new Alabama Welcome Center on Interstate 85

Point Clear’s Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa named America’s best historic hotel

Saw’s Soul Kitchen chef named World Chef Champion

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


Alabama tourism honored for civil rights promotion
From the article on

Alabama’s state tourism agency is being honored for its work promoting civil rights travel in 14 U.S. states.

The office was presented with an award recognizing its marketing campaign for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail during an industry trade show in London on Tuesday.

The trail promotes museums, churches and other African American landmarks across the South. Promotional materials include video interviews with civil rights participants from the 1960s and photos of landmarks.

Alabama oversaw the project in partnership with the Atlanta-based TravelSouth USA and the National Park Service. The trail includes sites from Kansas to Delaware, including all of the Deep South.

The state won an award for best regional destination. A news release says other finalists included areas in Spain, India, the Canary Islands and the Netherlands.

For the complete article please see

State to build new Alabama Welcome Center on Interstate 85
From the article by Ed Pugh on

The Alabama Department of Transportation has plans to demolish the current Alabama Welcome Center on Interstate 85 in Chambers County.

According to ALDOT Area Operations Engineer Shannon Jones, the conditions and age of the current welcome center have led to the state deciding to replace it.

Jones said the original welcome center was built in 1977.

“The original plumbing and electrical have become very expensive to repair and maintain,” he said. “Also, upgrades will be made in compliance with ADA regulations, which will include a larger area for tourism and restrooms.”

Part of those larger restrooms includes family restrooms and the main restrooms will have two sections where a section can be cleaned or repaired, while the other section remains open.

The low bid for the project was awarded to the Forsyth Building Company of Anniston for $11.5 million.

Jones said part of the bid included demolition, a new building, drainage work, curb work, sidewalk work, paving work, outdoor areas, lighting, signs and landscape.

He said the state is having a pre-construction meeting with the contractor Tuesday to map out a schedule for demolition and construction of the new building.

However, there wasn’t a timeline as to how long the welcome center will be closed. Jones said the state expects the contractor to clear the building in the first part of November for demolition.

For the complete article please see

Point Clear’s Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa named America’s best historic hotel
From the article by Sean Ross on

The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Baldwin County has beaten out five other finalists to be named America’s “best historic hotel.”

The honor was bestowed by Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide at the 2019 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence gala on Thursday night. The event was held at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

The Grand, known as “The Queen of Southern Resorts,” is now king of the country.
The beautiful gem on Alabama’s gulf coast was named the top hotel for the loftiest category — hotels with over 400 guest rooms.

The Grand opened in 1847 and, as such, was the oldest hotel named a finalist in its category.

Lawrence Horwitz, executive director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide, said in a statement, “Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. These 2019 winners represent nearly 500 years of history and include the finest legendary and iconic historic hotels from across the United States of America and from around the world.”

“We are delighted to recognize these magnificent historic hotels and their historic hoteliers for their dedication, enthusiasm, stewardship, and leadership in preserving these iconic treasures and their stories for future generations,” he added.

Additionally, the Grand’s Susan Stein was one of six finalists in the “hotel historian of the year” category across hotels of all sizes.

For the complete article please see

Saw’s Soul Kitchen chef named World Chef Champion
From the article by Shelly Haskins on

As general manager at Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, Matthew Statham obviously knows his way around pulled pork, smoked chicken and Southern comfort food.

He proved last month that he can hold his own in just about any food genre.

Well, not just hold his own. Statham was named “World Chef Champion,” at the World Food Championships Oct. 22 in Dallas, Texas, a competition billed as the largest culinary competition in the world.

He and nine other chefs emerged from the World Food Championships Main Event each with a $10,000 prize and a berth in the Final Table round in Indianapolis this spring, where they’ll compete for $100,000.

The other chefs won the following categories: Barbecue, bacon, burger, chili, dessert, recipe, sandwich, seafood and steak.

In the chef category, Statham had to put together a “structured dish,” which was a savory roulade, using Minor’s Base, a type of pre-packaged meat base flavorings.

After the initial round, each chef got to prepare a signature dish. Statham’s was seared scallops over McEwen and Sons stone ground grits, with Brussels sprouts chips, Wright brand bacon and a brown butter and lemon hot sauce.

Finally, the chefs had to make a brunch dish that incorporated Wamplers Omega-3 Sausage. Statham chose a sausage brunch tart with Parmesan herb tuile.

“The brunch tart is a take on a Southern-style play on Shakshuka,” a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and garlic.

Statham’s made his tart in a shell of croissant dough, filled with Wampler’s Omega 3 sausage gravy, sautéed mushrooms and lacinato kale, with a runny egg poached in the gravy as it baked.

The judges averaged the scores from the three rounds – with the brunch round weighted at 60 percent — and named Statham the champion.

At the Final Table competition in the spring, each of the 10 champions will cook against each other during timed events.

Statham, who will be transitioning from general manager of Saw’s Soul Kitchen to the role of corporate chef as the restaurant expands, said being named World Chef Champion “is still kind of surreal.

“There were a lot of very talented chefs there and to come out on top in our first year was a great honor,” he said. “I am excited for the opportunities that will arise as a result of the World Food Championships relationships with so many great sponsors. Locally, I will continue to try and help lead Saw’s into the future.”

For the complete article please see

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
Have you heard about Alabama Tourism’s new promotion: Photo ALbum? Visitors can upload their photos into our Photo ALbum template and have their book printed and shipped to them for FREE! Plus, every completed Photo ALbum is an entry to win a return trip to Alabama.

To read more about the promotion, visit


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