Anthony Clemons has spent the previous few weeks placing the ending touches on Bell Peppers, his forthcoming idea devoted to low-carb comfort food.
Opening a restaurant– his first restaurant– was already arduous. But the extra challenges of navigating operations within the midst of COVID-19 made the mission particularly taxing.
“In these last couple of months, I’ve been pretty much scrambling trying to get everything finished because I’ve had a problem with workers and things of that nature due to the pandemic,” stated Clemons. “Things just have been that much more difficult.”
But challenges apart, the general public is raring to welcome the brand new eatery with open arms. In reality, when AL.com caught up with Clemons late final week, he was headed to put one in all his dishes –a turkey polish sausage topped with Italian-style floor turkey, a mixture of sauteéd peppers and onions, and low carb secret sauces– to the check together with his native health club members.
“Part of you wants to say, ‘now is not the time.’ But then, when you get out in public, you get (asked) ‘When is it opening?’ So, it’s kind of a back and forth thing. But the people really, really pushed me to keep going,” stated Clemons. “I just kept thinking, if I don’t do this, I’m going to let a lot of people down. And it’s bigger than me. So, I kept pushing.”
That anticipation from soon-to-be patrons is one motive Clemons selected to open his restaurant in Hueytown. He lives in close by Concord and as soon as threw a tailgate occasion at his health club within the metropolis. The occasion, he remembers fondly, had an enormous prove.
“The people were welcoming. It was just a great experience. I felt like Hueytown was the spot.”
Now, Clemons is within the last dash of his opening. Bell Peppers, his low-carb and keto tackle burgers, pizza, and breakfast food will host its grand opening on July 11.
He’s taken beneficial security protocols for his 1,400 square-foot restaurant. Patrons, he says, should put on masks upon coming into and hold them on whereas ordering. There might be six-foot social distancing markers for purchasers standing in line. Tables will even be positioned six ft aside.
“We’re supposed to have eight tables, but I’ll have six,” stated Clemons. “Because I wanted to have them spaced out. So, each individual family will have at least a space in between.”
“I did grow up cooking, but not like I’m cooking right now.”
The first-time restaurateur grew up cooking, however again then, he says, his model was completely different. “I grew up cooking things that were, of course, very, very bad for you. The typical things you may cook in the kitchen like…I mean… typical American food,” stated Clemons. “Nothing on this level right here that you may see with Bell Peppers. I did grow up cooking, but not like I’m cooking right now.”
Bell Peppers is the fruits of a life-style change, together with a time when Clemons experimented with making variations of his favourite meals that had much less sugar however have been nonetheless full of taste.
That change began in June 2019 when Clemons was on a cruise and over-indulged within the ship’s high-carb eating choices.
“There were a lot of buffet items like pancakes, waffles, burgers and pizza and stuff like that.”
Clemons, who was recognized with type-two diabetes in 2014, says consuming that every day weight loss program prompted his blood sugar to rise, making him consistently ailing.
“I ate myself into the ground,” he stated laughing. “I really did.”
But when Clemons returned to Alabama, he instantly began making an attempt to create more healthy variations of all of the meals that he loved consuming on the journey. His first makes an attempt have been his favourite foods– biscuits and waffles.
Naturally, Clemons isn’t giving out all of his secrets and techniques, however he says the method concerned heavy analysis and loads of tweaking.
“Of course, we’re not born knowing everything,” he joked. “First you have to see what everybody else is doing.”
He coated loads of floor, trying up recipes for low-carb waffles on-line. But he disliked a lot of the recipes, together with one the place the quantity of eggs was “just overpowering.”
“It really didn’t taste good at all. It tasted like an egg waffle. Like, they just took a whole bunch of eggs and put them in a waffle maker,” stated Clemons. ” At that second, I knew I had to do one thing alone.”
So, he put the net recipes to the aspect and began experimenting with different methods to get tastes that he beloved, incorporating variations of almond and oat flours. Eventually, he made a breakthrough.
“And once I made that waffle and it had a great taste to it, I knew right then that I wanted to turn that into something. Because I felt like the world needed this,” he stated. “I felt like there were a lot of people like myself who wanted to eat healthier, but still eat fun food. I mean, boiled chicken and asparagus, we all know that’s healthy, but no one wants that.”
After his breakfast food success, Clemons expanded his strategies to work on pizza.
He counted carbohydrates within the dough and measured elements, analyzing toppings to decide the variety of carbs and energy per slice.
When he began to share his recipes on-line, an encounter on Facebook would catapult his model to the subsequent degree. It was an expertise all too acquainted to those that frequent the social network— a run-in with the restrictive, but obscure, guidelines of Facebook teams.
Clemons had posted a photograph of one in all his pizzas in a bunch devoted to food, however he didn’t know the admin’s laws.
“At the time, it said ‘no advertisements.’ But I really wasn’t advertising, because I didn’t have a business,” Clemons defined. “So, I put it in that group and it had like 400 likes in 10 minutes. It was blowing up, because it was a very, very good looking pizza. And they deleted my post and they blocked me from the group.”
Clemons took be aware of the reactions and determined to put up the picture of the pizza to his private profile to get suggestions from individuals he knew.
“They were going crazy,” he stated. “People were asking like “Hey, you made that? How can I get one? How much is it?”
At the time, Clemons didn’t have both a worth or distribution plan for his pizzas. But he took an opportunity and offered one to a former classmate. When she posted it to her profile, the questions began raining in.
“People started asking her ‘Where did you get that?’ And she was going on about how it only had four or five carbs per slice and it started to blow up from there.”
From that time on, Clemons began promoting pizzas. Preparation time took some time within the early levels and he was initially solely ready to fill about seven to 10 orders per day. But as he nailed down his course of, the orders continued to skyrocket.
“That same pizza is still on my Facebook page right now,” stated Clemons, proudly. “And I look back on that every now and then to just remind me of how far I came.”
Clemons would identify his widespread recipe the Red Thunder. The pizza– a pie with conventional purple sauce, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, purple onions, and purple bell peppers– would go on to be his signature dish and lay the inspiration for his restaurant and its moniker.
“I use bell peppers in a lot of my food. They have a very high nutritional value. Vitamins, minerals. I use bell peppers in a lot of different items. I also have bell pepper colors scattered throughout my restaurant. The red, the greens, stuff like that,” stated Clemons. “Bell peppers are nutritious and I decided to go with the name. It’s a great name.”
Clemons created the Bell Peppers menu of pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and breakfast dishes and he’ll run the restaurant’s kitchen full-time.
Patrons can anticipate pizzas topped with greens and lean meats: the White Thunder is an Alfredo-based pie topped with cheddar cheese, white onion, turkey, and peppers; the A.M. is Clemons’ tackle a breakfast pizza with scrambled eggs, smoked sausage, and a signature steak sauce as the bottom.
For these trying to check the bounds of his breakfast dishes, Clemons recommends the biscuits and gravy.
“It’s not the runny gravy you see anywhere else. You know, the little runny, white gravy. It’s completely different.”
“I have a doughnut waffle. It’s an almond flour waffle with a glaze that I created. And It’s tremendous. It tastes just like a doughnut.”
Since breakfast is on the menu all day at Bell Peppers, diners, he says, shouldn’t be restricted by the point.
“I don’t really look at my waffles as breakfast. Because you would want to eat them any time.”
And whereas his entry factors to the low-carb world have been pizza and breakfast dishes, Clemons can also be a self professed “burger guy.”
“When I used to go out to restaurants, back in the day, it didn’t really matter where I went. If I went to a steakhouse, I was going to get a burger.”
Clemons’ high picks from the grill are the smoked Gouda burger and the steak burger. But for many who choose to forego purple meat, there’s the gobbler– a turkey sandwich with smoked turkey breast, blacked and cooked to a crisp.
“I’ve made everything. I’ve tasted everything. And I like everything,” stated Clemons. “The dishes that I called out are the ones that I would throw at somebody like, hey, try this.”
The grand opening of Bell Peppers is on July 11, 2020.
Opening hours| Monday: closed| Tuesday to Thursday: eight:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. |Friday to Saturday: eight:00 a.m. to eight:00 p.m.| Sunday- 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.
144 River Square Shopping Center, Bessemer, AL 35023
(situated within the Piggly Wiggly buying middle)