(The Hope Farm/Contributed)

When it comes to farm-to-table dining, there’s no better place to experience it than Hope Farm in Fairhope. At Hope Farm, much of the food served on your dinner plate was grown right outside the doors of the restaurant. And now, with Hope’s newest endeavor, The Barn, a breakfast and lunch bistro and event space, there’s even more farm-fresh flavor to be enjoyed. 

The new concept, which opened in early 2023, offers a more casual extension to what Hope Farm already started with its dining program. Inside the renovated 2,500-square-foot barn, you’ll find checker-pattern stone floors, wood ceilings, and a color palette of warm sage green and cream that creates a comfortable yet elegant space suited for daytime dealings. The Barn serves coffee, tea, and sweet and savory pastries at breakfast, plus a full menu of sandwiches, salads, and larger plates at lunch. Chef Adam Stephens says the menu is meant to “be approachable and comforting, yet creative enough to remain congruent with the main dining experience.”

Chef Adam Stephens (Chad Riley Photo & Design/Contributed)

You’ll find the balanced combination in dishes like the Wagyu Burger, a simple and beloved lunch concept that’s elevated with the additions of smoked bone marrow aioli and house-grown mushrooms cooked down into an unctuous conserve. The Jambon Buerre offers a playful Southern twist on the classic French street sandwich by using Tasso ham, creole mustard, and housemade pickles. 

But it’s not just hearty sandwiches that The Barn specializes in. The menu also takes advantage of Hope Farm’s proximity to Mobile Bay and highlights fresh seafood in a raw bar that includes Gulf Oysters, West Indies Crab Salad made with Gulf crab, and Shrimp Cocktail. Small plates include a seasonal ceviche using locally caught fish and mac and cheese studded with bits of crawfish. 

One of Stephens’s favorite menu items is the Scampi, a pasta dish that he says is unlike what most people have come to expect from the Italian favorite. For the dish, Stephens starts by cooking down ‘nduja sausage with garlic and shallots. Once the fermented pork salami is cooked, he adds shrimp and builds a pan sauce using vermouth, braised greens, more garlic, and stock. Finally, the dish is finished with orecchiette pasta and lemon. “It has crazy depth and balance,” Stephens says. 

Morning offerings are lighter, but no less special. Breakfast at The Barn is helmed by a robust pastry program. Sweet and savory baked goods range from scones and sourdough muffins to croissants, cinnamon rolls, and savory kolaches. Pastry flavors rotate seasonally, which is why you might find strawberries in your scone one morning and orange and chocolate the next. And don’t expect run-of-the-mill ham and cheese kolaches either. Instead try fontina and roasted mushroom (fresh from the farm, of course), Conecuh sausage, or Wagyu chorizo. 

(The Hope Farm/Contributed)

Beverage options celebrate a spirited partnership between Hope Farm and Nova Coffee, a local roaster out of Mobile, Alabama. “We have been carrying Nova’s coffee for some time now and having them here to properly showcase their product the way it’s intended is really cool,” Stephens says. “The coffee is great; the people are even better.” Offerings include drip coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos, as well as specialty drinks like the Local Buzz with sea salt, honey, espresso, and milk or the Tonic with your choice of espresso or matcha plus strawberry syrup, lime juice, and mineral water. 

In addition to sharing Hope Farm with daytime visitors through The Barn, owners Bentley and Robert Evans are looking forward to having the additional space to host special events like wine dinners and mixology classes. In February, The Barn hosted its first Art of Mixology class entitled The Great Men of Bourbon, where participants had the opportunity to learn the history behind four classic cocktails and try their hand at making them. They also hosted a wine dinner featuring five courses paired with Schramsberg wines. March events include a second mixology course, this time focused on rum (March 9), as well as a Mushroom Dinner (March 15) and Ridge Vineyards Wine Dinner (March 31). 

With more and more buzzing around The Hope Farm, the Evans family now has even more opportunity to share their love for sustainable farming with the world.