Friday night, Mystie Richards, owner of Bistro Palms, opened an addition that ushers in a new era for Marianna.
Richards, a mother of three and grandmother of eight, is not originally from Marianna. Raised in Orlando, she owned two restaurants and bars with her brother. Later, she was the general manager for Crystal Hamburgers in Orlando and Valdosta. While working in Valdosta, Richards studied nursing, a license she still holds. Later she moved to Panama City where she met and married her husband Mark, owner and lead pilot for Ace Fabrication in Marianna. In 2007 the couple bought the building formerly known as the Long Branch Saloon and began renovating the structure which had become dilapidated over time. Bistro Palms was opened in February of 2009. In 2011 Richards partnered with the City of Marianna Community Reinvestment Act Façade Improvement Program and added decorative awnings and a patio covering. A few years later, the City of Marianna applied for USDA Rural Business Enterprise Funding, which provided additional parking for businesses in the area where Bistro Palms is located. While happy about the improvements, Richards stated she “had a vision that the alcohol license laws would change,” so she bought a pizza oven where customers could see the pizza being cooked from across the room. Richards’ plans were placed on hold in hopes of new laws being adopted.
The addition features brightly painted artwork and delightful images to capture the attention of diners. Some of the art is Richards’ own work, but other local artists and art shops feature their work in the restaurant to sell. Richards explained “the people in Jackson County have been supportive” and she wanted the environment to “feel fun” and “energetic” to provide an escape from the work day. The addition features a full bar, where she recommends trying “My Mojito”. Richards’ recipe offers a secret ingredient of which only customers ordering the drink have knowledge. Bistro now offers red (tomato) sauce, and white (ricotta) sauce pizzas. Richards purchases produce and herbs from a local farmer, slices her deli meats in-house daily, and makes her own sausage, pizza dough, sauces and tapenades. Richards explained that “freshly made dough with a fermentation period develops the flavor” which is unique to her pizzas. She was quick to point out that nothing in her restaurant comes “out of a can, jar or bag”. Richards also has a farm where she acquires pecans, pears, chestnuts, apples and free range eggs from Black and Blue Copper Maran Chickens.
Richards recommends trying the Arugula Pizza. “The Italians call it ‘Rocket Pizza’ because arugula means ‘rocket’ in Italian” expounded Richards. This pizza features ricotta white sauce over freshly made dough, topped with mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and romano cheeses, fresh herbs, garlic and arugula, with prosciutto scattered over the top for an additional level of flavor. Not only will the menu be expanding soon, but Richards plans to feature live bands on Friday nights and Karaoke on Saturday nights.
Bistro Palms is now open from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 10:30 am to 10 pm on Fridays, and 5 pm to 10 pm on Saturdays. To find out more about Bistro Palms, call (850) 526-2266. Visit Bistro Palms and experience this delightful dining escape in the heart of Marianna. Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about new businesses. Shop locally and support Marianna businesses.