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a man drinking a shelf in a store

Welcome to the latest episode of the Port City Plate podcast, where we had the pleasure of talking to Tony Sawyer, the owner of the popular Bob’s Downtown Restaurant in Mobile, Alabama. Tony has been in the restaurant business for over 25 years and opened his diner in 2014. Known for its delicious breakfast and lunch options, Bob’s Downtown Restaurant has quickly become a local favorite.

Tony’s journey began at the young age of 10 when he started learning to cook alongside his father. He spoke fondly about his cooking memories and how his family’s influence, particularly his grandparents, helped shape his culinary skills. As a meat and potatoes kind of guy, Tony focuses on hearty dishes that remind him of his grandmother’s cooking.

Over the years, Tony has worked in various restaurants, including King Neptunes in Gulf Shores and Morisson’s, where he honed his skills and learned valuable lessons from other chefs. His dedication to his craft led him to open his own restaurant, which he proudly runs with a team of long-time staff members. Sue Ellen is just one of the many dedicated individuals that have been with Tony since the beginning.

One of the most interesting aspects of Bob’s Downtown Restaurant is its menu, which features items named after people Tony admires. These dishes pay homage to the individuals who have supported him throughout his journey. The menu also includes adaptations for people with dietary restrictions, showcasing Tony’s commitment to serving all his customers.

Tony’s love for his community is evident in his involvement with Operation Feed the Cops, an initiative that provides meals to officers and first responders during Mardi Gras. He also supports fellow restaurant owners and encourages new startups, believing that a thriving downtown scene benefits everyone. Some of his favorite local spots include the Public Cafe and other eateries in downtown Mobile.

One dish that everyone should try at Bob’s Downtown Restaurant is Tony’s Special, a mouthwatering combination of smoked Gouda cheese grits with crawfish étouffée. But don’t just take our word for it – go check out Bob’s Downtown Restaurant at the corner of Fat and Happy (St. Francis and North Jackson street) and experience it for yourself! Bob’s also made our list of the best places to dine outside!