Sonoma on Central
Expect a comfortable atmosphere, premium wines and gourmet cheeses when Central Station Bistro opens soon. Owner Janice Hall gives us a sneak peak.
- by Lisa Monti, from Lisa Monti's Notebook
Located a few blocks from Old Town, the Bistro is the Halls’ retirement project. Jim retired from the industrial demolition and development industry; Janice is a fine arts photographer and interior designer. They moved to the Bay from Palm Springs, Calif., three years ago and were looking for something to do.
“We kept seeing this derelict building for sale and looking in the windows,” Janice said.
What they saw was a wreck: no walls, no plumbing, nothing but termite-eaten studs. “We’re either a couple of visionaries or lunatics, but we said let’s buy it and figure it out.”
The bedraggled property’s redeeming quality was its setting, which captivated the couple. “It’s a beautiful lot with oak trees and next door to a pastoral looking church in a converted barn,” she said.
They were guided to the wine bar idea by local friends who complained that there wasn’t a bar for grown ups where they could get a nice glass of wine without loud music and the usual beach bar menu.
The wine bar idea got a boost from the fact that Janice is a longtime member of the Brotherhood of Knights of the Vine, an esteemed wine society, and has loads of experience creating events around wine.
So the Halls hired a contractor and architects and the three-bedroom cottage slowly began to be transformed. The former living room will be the main gathering area. The front bedroom with a fireplace and flatscreen TV is another spot for guests.
The front patio with rocking chairs and fire pit is almost done. Janice calls the interior character “slick and cool with really good vibes. It feels like in Sonoma.” Muscadine vines will be planted soon to add another winery touch.
The Halls are working on the wine list and menu, which will feature cheeses from St. James Cheese Co. in New Orleans and other vendors. Wine will be moderately priced and sold by the glass and by flights. Some beers will also be sold.
Janice said the bistro will have a club atmosphere with something for everybody. “You can come in and site in comfortable leather furniture or at pub tables for a cheese board and a nice glass wine.”
Central Station Bistro will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to closing (TBD).
Stay tuned for the opening date announcement. Follow Central Station Bistro on Facebook.
Central Station Bistro
205 Central Ave.
Bay St. Louis
Read more by Lisa Monti, freelance writer and Shoofly Magazine editor - on her popular blog, Lisa Monti's Notebook. Subscriptions are free!
PItstop Carwash Coming to Waveland
In early May, Hancock County residents will be able to get a "Clean Car Fast," when a new business opens in Waveland.
- story by Lisa Monti, from Lisa Monti's Notebook
Schmidt and Brian Hill started Pitstop in 2005, putting their retail experience to work in the car wash business. The goal was to have “the best equipment and customer friendly technology, along with quality soaps and waxes, attentive employees, clean, wide-open, well-lit facilities, fair prices and no gimmicks.”
Getting your car washed couldn’t be easier, says Schmidt. Choose from four cleaning packages (basic, good, better and best) and pay at one of two automated stations with a credit/debit card or insert cash. Drive your car onto the conveyor and sit back. The conveyor brings the car through the tunnel as a series of all soft-cloth mitters and wraps move back and forth to clean the exterior. “Our slogan is ‘A Clean Car Fast’. We want to get you in and out in less than five minutes,” he said.
Prices start at $6 and go up to $15. The tunnel can handle up to 100 cars an hour. “We’re based on volume so we wash a lot of cars to keep prices low,” Schmidt said.
He said the cleaning process is environmentally efficient compared to washing your car in your driveway where the water may end up the Bay or Sound. The multimillion dollar facility’s conveyor system is specially engineered and angled to collect sediment in three underground tanks. The water is recycled and is filtered before it is discharged into the sanitary sewer system. Pitstop is even “certified green” by an international association of car washes, Schmidt said.
Pitstop will be open seven days a week except Christmas and Thanksgiving from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will be staffed by three full-time employees and a few part-time workers.
Pitstop Carwash, 445 Highway 90, Waveland. No phone yet; check the website (www.acleancarfast.com) and Facebook page.