The Noble South and The Wash House
The Noble South and The Wash House go hand-in-hand, sharing the same executive chef (Chris Rainosek), general manager (Myles Meade), owners, and the philosophy of incorporating fresh ingredients straight from area farm Local Appetite Growers. Both restaurants were the first to bring the idea of “farm to table” upscale cuisine to the Bay area, paving the way for a high standard of fresh cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.
By Caroline Edmondson
Tallahassee native and general manager of both The Noble South and The Wash House, Myles Meade says he can’t remember not having an interest in the food industry. “I started waiting tables when I was 18 at The Grand Hotel,” he explains. “When I graduated from the University of South Alabama, I wanted to take a year off before applying for medical school, and The Grand Hotel offered me an assistant management job, so I took it. I fell in love, and never looked back.” After spending 13 years in the industry, The Noble South and The Wash House approached him, offering him the role of general manager of both locations. Five years in, he couldn’t be happier.
Executive chef of both restaurants and owner of The Noble South Chris Rainosek’s path has been a tad different. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Chris didn’t always have an interest in the food industry, although his first job out of college did involve managing a restaurant in Boulder, Colo. (he says it was just something to do while he figured out his next step). Fast forward to today, and Chris has now been the chef at The Wash House for the past nine years. He even opened his own restaurant, The Noble South, five years ago with his business partner, who just so happens to be the owner of The Wash House.
The Wash House features a menu of coastal dishes such as classic seafood gumbo, red fish, fresh catch and more. The atmosphere of The Wash House is extremely intimate with its white tablecloths and candlelit tables. Featuring a wood and stone interior, Chris describes the décor as “almost dark, but very cozy and warm.” Chris describes their food philosophy as serving classic dishes and combinations with a twist but always prepared with integrity. With this philosophy it is no wonder The Wash House has a large customer base, many of whom have become regulars. “We have the best staff and atmosphere for when you have a special occasion in Baldwin County,” Myles says. With bestsellers like their classic 8 oz. filet of beef tenderloin served with mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and a béarnaise sauce and their Chateaubriand (one of the most delicious cuts of beef), it can be difficult to choose a favorite dish, which is why Chef Chris jokes that it’s “like choosing between your kids.”
The Noble South is the true definition of “farm to table” cuisine, offering the freshest ingredients cooked with cutting edge techniques by a knowledgeable staff. The atmosphere here is a bit more modern and brighter than The Wash House, but the same exceptional service abounds. The menu changes often, as they only use seasonal ingredients from Local Appetite Growers, who specializes in hydroponic lettuce, leafy greens, and herbs. “We use zero synthetic pesticides or fertilizers on our soil beds, and we grow our field crops on a no-till system with biologically rich soil beds,” says Will Mastin, one of the farmers. “Fresh ingredients give you a head start on your dishes being delicious,” Myles says. “The less a product can be processed, the better it is. When a living and growing thing is harvested it starts to die, so the quicker it can get from the farm to the table, the better. That’s why we choose local. It literally is harvested and comes to the restaurant the same day almost 100 percent of the time,” he adds. “You trust the farmer to bring you their best, and in turn, they trust you to honor their hard work,” adds Chris. Will Mastin adds, “using local ingredients not only provides the consumers with fresher, more nutrient dense produce, it ensures you are buying from a farmer in your area that grows for quality. Local produce is typically much fresher than that found on the wholesale market because it is not sitting for days or weeks.” Because of this, fresh ingredients arrive twice a week ensuring everything is as fresh as possible. And although you can’t go wrong with any dish from the menu, Myles admits his favorite is the Fish of the Day. “Chef Chris and Josh cook fish like no one around,” he boasts.
Myles hopes that diners understand what they are trying to with their ever-evolving menu and hope it excites them. “I hope the locals get the itch to come in at least once a month to see what we’re up to on the menu,” he says. “We are inspired by our local farms, so we want to show this in our food.” Ever purveyors of delicious, locally sourced cuisine, The Noble South and the Wash House continue show people what “fresh from the farm” really is, making for an incredible dining experience no matter the season.
The Noble South
203 Dauphin Street, Mobile
The Wash House
17111 Scenic Hwy. 98, Fairhope