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STOVEHOUSE in Huntsville, AL -- New Space for Events and Eats

After passing Stovehouse numerous times while traveling down Governors Drive, and after hearing it mentioned by folks "in the know," I finally had a chance to check it out for myself.

Stovehouse is a large space in the process of being fully repurposed and developed after once being the area's manufacturing center for stoves. Thus, the name. In 1929, Rome Stove made a product there called the Electric Belle. Then, in the next decade Martin Stamping and Stove produced gas stoves. Stove-making was suspended for awhile during World War II, and the space was used for making bomb crates. After the war, LSINC took it over to produce industrial strength wood pellet stoves. The 226,000 square foot building was purchased by Philip Yancey, and he is in the middle of a massive redesign and reuse project to bring the space back to life.

Some of the space appears to be designated for offices, while other sections are shaping up to suit large and small scale events -- weddings, reunions, concerts, conferences and markets. Those should be ready to be rented in the near future.

I was headed to a section known as The Hub which houses a Food Garden and a courtyard/patio area with outdoor tables, firepits and various lawn games. It is clearly intended for hanging out with friends and playing. It was raining when Steve and I arrived, so we were happy to find a convenient indoor seating area near the restaurants.

We decided to try the "most different" one. Fresko Grille is a Mediterranean eatery offering its customers the chance to build a bowl or a wrap on the spot with ingredients of their choosing. The owner/chef here comes from a long line of Lebanese chefs in his family and clearly knows how to produce the proteins, grains, spreads and sauces that make his dishes authentic.

Other choices are Mazzara (for Italian), Taqueria El Cazador (Mexican), Oh Crepe (both savory and sweet), Kamado Ramen (Japanese), and Clyde's Barbecue, which is scheduled to open soon. In most cases, you walk in, get your food, then look for a place in the common area to eat it.

The Company Store at the end of the food hub sells sodas, candy, gifts and vintage toys, but it doesn't open until 4:00 in the afternoon Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We'll check it out during a future visit. Other retail shops are planning to locate here, and I'm quite sure they will be different from what you'd find at the mall.

Live musicians are scheduled on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, making Stovehouse a surefire mecca for millennials.

If you are going to Stovehouse just to eat, I suggest that you park behind the building rather than in the big parking lot most noticeable from Governors Drive. That will put you closer to the restaurants.

This is just an overview based on my first impression. I want to return to browse in The Company Store and sample some of the other tantalizing dishes. As the weather warms up, I'm sure Stovehouse will really start humming.

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