Fresh avocado toast from the Orange Beach Cafe.
By John Mullen
Orange Beach Cafe ham panini.
Orange Beach Cafe ham panini.
April 30, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®)– Bobbi Heithoff’s forte is wine.
“I’m originally a wine sommelier,” she said. “I was managing restaurants & teaching the staff how to serve and talk about wine as well as helping customers navigate the wine list.
She’s taking that experience – plus a wealth of experience in restaurants of all types – to the new Orange Beach Café in Palm Plaza Shopping Center on beach road in Orange Beach.
She’ll just be talking coffee instead of wines.
“I have a 3-year-old and I wanted to stop working in restaurants at night so I could be with my son,” she said. “I figured coffee would be the best thing to go into because it’s kind of related. You’re tasting coffee, you’re explaining how it tastes and there’s a process to it.”
Heithoff is the general manager of the new shop that puts a lot of attention into not only how the coffee is made but into the whole menu.

A steaming cup from Orange Beach Cafe.“There’s a process to it,” she said. “A lot of people think you just put grinds in a coffee pot and push start. That’s not how it goes. You have to weigh it, there’s a certain amount that you have to put in, especially with the espresso. Everything has to be weighed out, ground perfectly, it has to be timed to come out into the cup. It’s not just pushing a button. We try to serve the best possible product we can.”
The coffee comes fresh roasted weekly from Revelator in Birmingham. Carpe Diem in Mobile provides a coconut-flavored option. You can buy a cup or take a bag home.
Fresh is the theme for the Orange Beach Café with a wealth of healthy drink options.
“I’m probably most excited about the juicing program that we have just started. We’re doing all fresh juices,” Heithoff said. “We have a really great juicer that you can put any kind of fruit or vegetable in and extract it really quickly to get all the nutrients out of everything. It’s very healthy. We’re one of a very few places on the island that do that.”
That will carry over into healthy cold drinks as well.
“For the smoothies, we’re using all fresh fruit, no added sugars,” she said. “Basically, everything is geared to be health conscious and fresh. We make our own tuna salad and a nice curry chicken salad. We offer a great green salad in general, using mixed greens, cucumbers, tomato, avocado, red onion & toasted almonds and a great balsamic vinaigrette.”
Orange Beach Cafe curry chicken salad sandwich.
Orange Beach Cafe chicken salad sandwich.
The menu is purposely short. “That’s the goal, downsize the menu so everything can be done right.”
There are about five breakfast items and six lunch offerings. Keeping it small plays into Heithoff’s theme of keeping everything crisp.
“We have an avocado toast and I mash them every morning & all throughout the day. We also have a peanut butter toast. Toasts are easy to eat, you just grab it and it’s not overfilling like you’re eating a giant sandwich.”
But if you want a more filling option the two paninis on the menu will provide a hearty, fresh lunch, Heithoff said. 
“Belle Chevre is an Alabama goat farm located in Elkmont near Huntsville, she has a delicious goat cheese cheesecake that we serve,” she said. “We offer a honey breakfast cheese that’s available with the bagels on the menu. There’s an herb de Provence spread I use on the ham panini & it’s very good.”
That’s another theme for the Orange Beach Café – sourcing products from inside the state whenever possible.
Fresh hummus with cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks at the Orange Beach Cafe.
Fresh hummus with cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks.
“We’re trying to use really good products and try to stick with people from Alabama,” Heithoff said. “All of our bakery items are baked by local bakers – our cinnamon rolls come from Sweet Southern Scratch in Foley and our cookies are from Bake my Day in Mobile. Having scratch baked items really makes a difference.”
Being able to grow a concept for the Orange Beach Café is something Heithoff has looked forward to and she’s enjoying bringing it all together.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I like being a part of a concept that’s growing and changing and that’s really fun for me to do. Being able to create something.”