An interview with Proprietor, Patty Hallmark

Bob's Mom used to cook and wrote a cookbook which we are in the process of constructing for publishing now.
He grew up in a family of 4 boys and they can all hold their own in a kitchen. Bob lived in New Orleans for 8 1/2 years and loves the Cajun flare of Louisiana foods. He and I used to travel to New Orleans just to eat at his many favorite roadhouse style of restaurants (not the trendy tourist places)

We used to love entertaining and having football parties. We have always had open floor plan homes that were very conducive to entertaining large groups of people. Bob would always prepare a variety of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts. He loves steaks and we were always so disappointed in the fact that you could not find a good steak here in Baldwin County. So, after 12 years of being together and hearing all of our friends tell Bob that he needed to open a restaurant, we did. He was 50 and I was 45--not getting any younger. So, we sold everything we owned to fulfill a dream especially with the encouragement from our friends and relatives. We moved from a 3300 sq ft home with a huge barn, 8 and ½ acre pecan orchard with 63 pecan trees to a 1500 sq ft rental home near our new restaurant site. The boat I loved to fish from had to go too as well as anything else that could help our shoestring budget.

Bob wanted an off the beaten path location. A destination drive. If you found yourself on a country road near the intersection of County Roads 10 & 49, you were probably lost. It is a charming, quaint little sleepy fishing village on the Bon Secour River just three blocks south of the original location of Meme's Restaurant. But, is it only ten minutes from the beaches and 4 1/2 miles from Highway 59 in Gulf Shores, AL. Bob is from Tuscaloosa, AL where his brothers and Mom still live. I am from Saraland, AL which is in north Mobile County. I had lived in Fairhope and Baldwin County in the early 80's after graduating from college in 1981. I was a Technology Instructor @ Robertsdale High School and Bob was a Specialty Contractor when we opened The Tin Top. We didn't quit our day jobs but after loosing my voice in the second year from talking day and night, I had to take a medical leave of absence from teaching. I could no longer do both especially with the late hours of the restaurant and the early hours of teaching. Bob joined in the full time status at The Tin Top the following year but continues to do some specialty contracting work without building any homes.

We opened in August of 2004 on a Friday, the 13th. Four weeks later on Sept. 16, Hurricane Ivan struck. We cooked everything we had for the neighbors, National Guard and the American Red Cross helpers. It was football season, so we would hook up the generator to a TV and everyone would bring their ice chest of beverages and sit with the National Guard on duty to do something normal like watch a football game on TV. When we opened back up, I think we had two entrees available on the chalkboard.

We have really struggled as we continued to be pounded by Hurricanes Brett, Cindy, Dennis etc... Katrina... this past year Gustav and Ike. We lost all of our Labor Day Holiday sales due to a mandatory evacuation of Gulf Shores during Gustav. It really hurt us and many restaurants have closed due to loosing the Labor Day revenue that helps to get us through the slower winter months.

But we bounced back and added a new fireplace on our outdoor dining patio.

As always, we appreciate your friendship and support!