The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs but will rather cure and prevent disease with nutrition.
– Thomas Edison
DAPHNE — There’s a new, healthy food and coffee option in Baldwin County, and the warm, welcoming vibe is bringing people together for fellowship and productivity. Press & Co., in Daphne, opened in August and has since focused on community and nutrition.
“I think the reaction from the community has been what has astounded us the most,” operating partner Alex Pikul said. “I think just in general, Daphne needed this.”
Kimberly Cox developed the concept with the idea of giving healthier cuisine to folks in south Alabama. The idea came after she experienced health issues and addressed them with organic, healthy eating.
Along with great service, the restaurant offers free wifi and workspace.
“It offers so much,” said Pikul. “Not only can you come here and work and get great coffee, but you can sit here for lunch and have some of the best food in the county.”
The open design and bright ambiance radiate as soon as you enter the building.
Executive chef Hunter Harris worked to develop a menu that would satisfy the taste buds while still giving the body much-needed nutrition. The eatery offers everything from avocado toast, cold-pressed juices and smoothies to sandwiches and wraps, and flavorful salads, all made with locally sourced ingredients.
“We also have the spicy tuna bowl with yellowfin tuna coming right out of the Gulf,” Harris said.
Press & Co. also uses locally sourced coffee beans, and they are roasted locally.
Down to every detail, Harris made sure he chose the best the Gulf Coast has to offer. Even when choosing what bread to go with, he made sure to choose a local company.
“We decided to go with sourdough bread because that’s what people really like and it is made here in-house twice a week,” he explained. “It’s Forget Me Knot Bakery here in Daphne.”
Harris got his first restaurant job in Mandeville, La., when he was only 14 years old.
“I was the youngest one in the kitchen by about 20 years,” Harris remembered. “But I got to work in the kitchen and gained a lot from that.”
Now that he’s 28 and has experience under his belt, he said God has shown him how to have what it takes to run a successful kitchen.
“I think patience is the biggest thing,” Harris said. “I wasn’t always a super patient person but one of the things I have been praying about a lot is patience and just having that go-get-it attitude every day. I am doing what I can to pursue perfection.”
A little something extra Harris does to make Press & Co. special is dinner events. Special menus created for the event include unique options and wine pairings.
“We want to take the community aspect a step further,” said Harris. “You can go and get awesome coffee for breakfast, you can have lunch here and do your work and everything but then take another step forward and we feature awesome wines with really good dinner. That’s kind of what I enjoy the most, is creating the menus. Once we fully launch, we will be doing two dinners a month and that should be in January.”
With development happening all over Baldwin County, Pikul said it is nice to see such a positive addition to downtown Daphne.
“There has been a lot of focus on developing downtown Fairhope,” he added. “If you go to downtown Fairhope, you have a lot of options. A lot of food options, shopping options. Historically, downtown Daphne was kind of forgotten about so the community has been really receptive to us investing in downtown Daphne and giving the community a place to go. I think even across Baldwin County, the community is excited for this type of cuisine. They were ready for something outside of fried chicken and fries.”
In addition to being a community asset, Press & Co. has mastered the science of focusing on employees.
“I would say the biggest thing here is that we put our employees first,” Pikul added. “That isn’t very typical of hospitality restaurants in general they have never been that friendly … I think us putting our employees first allows them to take care of each other and be good to each other and give the customers a good experience.”
In an industry plagued by turnover, Press & Co. has not lost a single employee since opening.
Press & Co. is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
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