Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

>A New Day Dawns in Bessemer

October 6, 2010

>The sirens went off and the lights were flashing this morning in celebration, I guess, of the New Dawn of Bessemer.

The siren was, of course, the tornado siren that sounds at 10:00 the first Wednesday of every month, and the lights flashing were a test of the fire alarm system in the new Courtyard Café and Bakery in Bessemer, opening today in just a few minutes.

This blog is coming to you live from the opening.

Next week the Café will begin opening at 7:30 to serve breakfast or for those out early just to stop by and get a cup of Community Coffee.

These pasties, pies, cakes and cookies, would go well with the coffee that they serve.

Open for Lunch this week, the menu has some expected items; a variety of Deli Sandwiches and Chicken Salad and Spinach Artichoke Dip, but also some unexpected delicacies such as Chipotle Chicken Salad and a Thai Salad. There’s also a soup of the day and a soup and sandwich combination.

There will soon be wrought iron chairs on the courtyard, perfect for these crisp autumn days.

But the real New Dawn is a result of the election yesterday in which Ken Gulley tromped the incumbent mayor Ed May. May ended an interview last night with Fox 6 News with the two words we all wanted to hear, “I lost.” Gulley had 4,144 votes and Ed May had 1,543. That’s 73% of voters opting for a change.

I saw a “suggested” headline from the paper.

Probably won’t be the real headline, but nothing could be further from the truth. And some asses need kicking.

Eight years ago I celebrated when change came to Bessemer, but the change never happened. Crime rates are still up, the neighborhoods are in disarray, and city finances are a mess. Promises were made, but soon forgotten.

The new mayor and council will be sworn in on Monday, November 1, 2010. Their first council meeting will be the following day.

Other winners last night include Sherrina Rice in District 2, who had 508 votes to Chester Porter’s 477, Ron Marshall in District 5 who with 363 votes squeaked by incumbent Albert Soles who had 361 votes, and Cleo King in District 7 who beat incumbent Earl Cochran 426-405.

I spoke with business leaders last night and this morning and they all agree that Mayor-elect Gulley will be a positive change as far as the business community is concerned. Here is Courtyard Café and Bakery owner Van Sykes with Senator Priscilla Dunn and Mayor-elect Ken Gulley at Gulley headquarters last night. Not the best picture in the world, but indicative of the support Gulley had.

The vote totals are unofficial, and I was at City Hall this morning when acting City Clerk Travis Brooks wheeled them out to take them to the County office where they will be counted. The only race where this might be a problem seems to be District 5 where Marshall won by just 2 votes. In that district I saw that there are only 6 provisional ballots cast.

But in all the races the absentee ballots could be questioned. But even these probably wouldn’t change any results except Marshall’s. I spoke with Ron this morning at City Hall and he will be watching the votes and counts carefully. I’m sure his opponent will be, too.

Marshall told me that he is interested in using his management skills to bring people together. Not just the council, but the other interests like business and civic organizations. And he said he is interested in working with the new mayor to bring about a change in the perception of Bessemer.

Travis Brooks told Ron and me, and an official at Jefferson County confirmed that the results will not be confirmed and made official until Tuesday. But even though Ron’s win is not certain, we do know this: the majority of the council will be new to the body. They don’t have baggage, and as far as I can tell they all have Bessemer’s interest as their priorities.

This is a time to celebrate, and I’m starting by enjoying a Grilled Fish Sandwich at Courtyard Café and Bakery, and I’ll have one of those Peanut Butter Balls, too.

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>South Bessemer gets more good news

June 10, 2010

>More good news for Bessemer’s south downtown.

Boateng’s Cajun Creations Restaurant will open on the South side near the railroad tracks on 19th Street in this building in mid-July.


The owner is interested and committed to keeping the historic nature of the building.


Many of us have been wishing for something to go into this historic former gas station. What better than a Cajun restaurant?

The restaurant owner plans to have some outdoor seating in the front, but maybe not at opening. There will be seating for about 48 indoors, with some booth seating and tables.

Boateng’s was formerly at Watermark Place. Here are owners Carolyn and Graham Boateng.

Picture credit Birmingham News

Here’s a review of their food when it was at Watermark.

Improvements are being done by Darden Contracting and Remodeling. I had a conversation with contractor Willie Darden. Willie sees great potential for downtown Bessemer, and has an eye for historic buildings and such. Between he and I, we had the south area of downtown made into a showcase. We can dream, can’t we?

I can walk to this restaurant and really am looking forward to it opening. Who wants to go on opening night? Stay posted to Bessemer Opinions for the latest.