Several of my foodie friends have recommended a small, neighborhood establishment called KItchen on Main in Daphne; the Main being Main Street across from Manci’s Antique Club. It was my daughter’s birthday, so we made reservations and had a wonderful dining experience!
Our first impression as we walked through the door was a cozy feel of a neighborhood cafe: exposed brick, a welcoming bar, and just enough white tablecloth-covered seating to feel intimate yet energized. Our table had a cute chalkboard reserved sign with our name; we felt welcomed and appreciated immediately.
The drink special that night was a frosty lemon martini, which is the birthday girl's favorite cocktail, so we were off to a good start. We ordered a sharable plate of sauteed crab claws, marinated in a light beurre blanc sauce with crusty French bread, so good that we sopped up every bit of sauce with the bread. We all ordered more seafood entrees: lump crab cakes, seared diver scallops, and grouper with fresh lump crab on top. The remoulade sauce on the crab cakes was so yummy that I asked for more! For dessert, with a birthday candle, we shared a delicious flourless chocolate cake.
We are reveling in our success in joining the” clean plate club” when I hear someone call my name. I look up to see Caitlin Horne, the chef, whom I have known since she was born. I was aware that she was a chef because I saw her on Facebook and Instagram (@Cakeyrosecooks) but I didn't know what a fantastic cook she was until that night.
Caitlin grew up in Baldwin County with a deep lineage of good cooks. Her mother and father, Pat and Richard Horne, old friends of ours, are legends of creative culinarians. Caitlin tells me that she has been interested in cooking since she was a little girl and has learned everything she knows about food from her family, cookbooks, watching the food network, and teaching herself through trial and error.
Having a degree in Biochemistry from Loyola University in New Orleans, she was in one of the food capitals of the world and began working for Susan Spicer at Mondo. (Cooking is chemistry, you know!) After three years, she returned home to work for Guidos, Vinnies, and Le Bouchon in Daphne, and Locals in Fairhope, and honed her skills for six more years.
While at Guido's, she informs me she never stopped working during the pandemic. She served to-go meals and volunteered to serve first responders and did catering as well. She recently moved across the street to Kitchen on Main and continues to share her talents by preparing the fresh and local fare she knows and loves.
Caitlin is quick to note that she thanks Dorothy Overstreet, who owns the restaurant for giving her the opportunity. She says that Dorothy was trained at Le Cordon Bleu and is an exceptional businesswoman too, so working for her is a great privilege. Always humble, Caitlin reminds me, when I sing her praises, that many other people in the kitchen help prepare the delectable dishes that we savored.
Kitchen on Main is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm. They have a lovely patio with outside seating and about 15 tables inside. Reservations are recommended. I give it 5 stars!