Gypsy Sally’s offers fresh variety

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Susan and John Carpenter of Clanton opened their restaurant, Gypsy Sally’s, on April 16. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, with plans to open for brunch on Sundays in several weeks.

Step inside Gypsy Sally’s in downtown Clanton and prepare to take those taste buds on an adventure, because the dishes are as distinctive as the restaurant’s name.

Owners John and Susan Carpenter of Thorsby opened Gypsy Sally’s on April 16 this year with a mission to provide a variety of fresh cuisine to Chilton County residents.

Although John Carpenter described the menu as “nothing fancy, nothing pretentious,” he said he hopes to introduce patrons to meals prepared in ways new to the area.

He and Clanton chef Keith Jones offer dishes ranging from American to Italian, French to Thai and beyond.

“We want to bring new things to Clanton,” Carpenter said. “What we get a good response on, we’ll keep.”

The menu is subject to change every 3–5 weeks based on which foods are in season.

Carpenter said he buys Gulf fish and seafood directly from a purveyor in Destin, Fla., and meets him halfway to pick up fresh amberjack, cobia, snapper and tilapia.

“Usually when I pick them up, they were swimming the day before,” Carpenter said. “If it’s not available fresh, I just don’t have it on the menu.”

Gypsy Sally’s trademark freshness goes beyond seafood, though.

“We serve upper two-thirds choice,” Carpenter said. “A nicer kind of beef.”

Carpenter is knowledgeable in domestic and foreign cuisine after spending about 20 years in the restaurant business.

“I’m a third-generation restaurant person,” John said. “It was kind of a natural thing.”

He has worked with chefs from all over the world, including one who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, a culinary arts school in France.

He and his wife, Susan, moved to Chilton County about 10 years ago in search of farmland for their show horses.

But Carpenter said he “started getting the itch” to jump back into the restaurant business about two years ago.

As for the restaurant’s name, Carpenter said he plucked it from a song by singer-songwriter the late Townes Van Zandt.