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Batters Up!

Local family mixes up recipe for success

A few years ago, Angie and Tom Gallahair were living on the Gulf Coast, enjoying commercial fishing as a hobby, and dreaming of the day they might run their own seafood restaurant.

In June 1997, a dream came true when the couple opened "Catfish Corner" (later changed to "Galleys" to tie in with the family name). The restaurant is located in what used to be an old gas station on the Pineapple Highway near Greenville.

"We love the [restaurant] location. . .

it's so peaceful and we have a beautiful view of a pond right across from us," says Angie Gallahair.

To match the country setting, the Gallahairs chose to serve plenty of home-style food, specializing in the seafoodn oysters, shrimp, catfish n they themselves loved.

Running a restaurant is no small undertaking, but the Gallahairs, assisted by their two children, worked hard and made a success of their venture.

One of the things the restaurant became known for was the unique array of batters used in the kitchen to prepare many of the dishes.

"We experimented in the kitchen over the years, a little of this, a little of that some of the hunters or golfers visiting here would ask us, Can we get the recipe?' So we'd go back in the kitchen, measure some of our mix out and bag it up for them," explains Mrs. Gallahair.

In 1999, the restaurant closed its doors to the public but continued operating as a caterer to local private schools, a venture the Gallahairs say they have "thoroughly enjoyed."

Gallahair continued to experiment with developing her own special blends of seasonings.

Now the family is gearing up to re-open their restaurant in June as they celebrate the debut of "Southern Fixins" batter mixes in local stores.

The Gallahair family's own line of home-style batter mixes average $1.75 per mix and are now on the shelves in Super Foods and area Co-op stores.

(The mixes will also soon be available in all Earthgrain stores between Montgomery and Mobile.)

"We have mixes for oysters, shrimp, country-style fish, hush puppies and fried-green tomatoes on the shelves. . . we also have some wonderful traditional and jalapeno-flavored hush puppies in the frozen foods section and all you have to do is put them on a sheet and pop them in the oven," explains Mrs. Gallahair. So far, she says, the regular hush puppies and the fish batter mix have been their top sellers.

The Gallahair children-Lindsay, 17 and Dusty, 15, both students at FDA-have always helped out with the family business.

"The kids have been a part of the restaurant since day one.

Lindsay runs the cash register and Dusty helps us in the kitchen," explains their proud mom, who adds, "They also help out with mixing, weighing and bagging the batter mixes."

Husband Tom also pitches in his services on the weekend.

Angie Gallahair knows the family could never have done it alone. "We have gotten a lot of support with this.

Mr. Graham at Super Foods has been a wonderful help with the marketing . .

Mr. Adams of Adams Corn Meal in Dothan was also very helpful to us.

Greenville itself has been very supportive of us and we appreciate it," she comments.

She also sings the praises of her other three employees, saying she "is really blessed to have them."

Though the mixes have only recently begun to line store shelves, Angie Gallahair is already making plans to expand.

"The next thing I'd like to do is have is packages of pre-sliced green tomatoes with the batter mix on them ready to prepare.

And I'd love to have a big warehouse on the hill behind the restaurant where we could do more packaging on a larger scale," she says with enthusiasm.

She is also excited about the re-opening of Galley's in early June.

"We will continue to cater to Fort Dale when they re-open in the fall, but we will also have our restaurant open again 6 days a week. . . we'll have lunch specials during the week and a full dinner menu on the weekend , including hamburger steaks, shrimp, catfish, steaks and oysters," says Mrs. Gallahair.

"All our oysters, shrimp and catfish are safely farm-raised so there's no need to worry about harmful bacteria," she adds.

The restaurant, located at 3521 Pine Apple Highway (Hwy 10 West) will be open starting June 4 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

As Angie Gallahair carefully straightens her stock on the local Super Food's shelves, she pauses to reflect on the family's time in the Camellia City.

"You know, when we moved here from Pensacola a few years ago, we really didn't know anybody.

Now we have so many friends. Greenville has really been good to our restaurant and our family," she says.