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History is Disappearing Right Before Our Eyes

Have you driven down Fob James Drive lately in Valley?  For those of you that have not, let me tell you it is changing daily!  One of the significant changes is the big red building that used to be located beside King Chevrolet.  I am not sure when the building was constructed or how many business ventures were located in that building.  The most significant of those ventures was the one that endured for 12 years.

Around 2000, Kap and Marianne Duncan purchased the building and opened 559 Market Place.  The name was derived from the actual property address of 559 Fob James Drive.  The initial opening was a variety of antiques, crafts and collectibles.  The café was soon to follow, so Café 559 at Market Place was born.  The initial menu consisted of 3 sandwiches, tossed salad, cookies and drinks.  All of this was accomplished with one employee.

Soon enters a gentleman from Columbus, Georgia, Larry Fair.  Larry owned the Flower Basket in Columbus and also operated a catering business.  The movie, Green Beret, starring John Wayne was filmed in Columbus and Larry was responsible for the catering on the set.  Larry created a version of homemade soup that was John Wayne’s favorite and he asked for it regularly.  Larry brought many of his catering recipes and casseroles to Café 559.  He operated his antique business from the 559 Market Place location and remained until it’s closing.

The café was featured in the publication, “Great Places to eat before you die in Alabama” and was offered at the Alabama Welcome Center.  Soon the creations of Café 559 were carried north and south on Interstate 85.  It was quite common for frozen casseroles and soups to be ordered from Mobile to Atlanta.  Upon the announcement of their closing, patrons ordered 125 gallons of Crab and Shrimp Soup!

If you did not have the opportunity and pleasure of eating at Café 559 Market Place, I have good news!  Marianne Duncan has compiled a cookbook with all of the recipes used at the  café!  The recipes include “John Wayne’s Vegetable Soup” and the famous Crab and Shrimp Soup.  The cookbooks may be purchased at Hood’s Pharmacy in Valley, Jam and Java in West Point, Alabama Office Supply and Wakefield Designs in Opelika or you may contact Marianne directly at 706-585-0462.

Needless to say I have my own copy and have purchased a few for Valentine Day gifts.  Hint, they are way cheaper than flowers!  I will be posting a recipe for everybody here on the Bugle to get you started!  Enjoy!


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