Fonville Press, the original coffee shop at Alys Beach and one of the first amenities on site for what was then a community in its infancy, was dearly missed after it closed in February of 2019.
“We were amazed by the outpouring of support for this little coffee shop as a beloved gathering spot,” says Jeremy Walton, who was Vice President of Resort Operations at Alys Beach at the time Fonville Press closed. It had such a wonderful reputation with the locals, and homeowners and visitors alike still carry fond memories of their beloved corner coffee shop. Perhaps Jeremy most of all.
Not too long after Fonville Press closed, as Jeremy was working with town developers on new plans for the Town Center, that beloved little coffee shop was still on his mind. He couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe it was time to bring it back—but as more than a coffee shop. Homeowner surveys had shown a strong desire for a restaurant and market in Town Center. Why not, he wondered, reinvent Fonville Press as a coffee shop that also included other amenities that are in high demand?
“We could expand on the idea of what Fonville Press was, bringing back the components of the coffee shop, and the breakfast and lunch people had come to love, but also add a market component in a much bigger space,” Jeremy says.
In fact, the new space is a full 4,000 square feet, inspiring all kinds of possibilities. Working with his wife, Angela—who also partnered with Jeremy on The Citizen at Alys Beach, the popular “coastal tavern” style restaurant and bar they opened in January of 2021—Jeremy designed a concept for Fonville Press Market Café; the return of Fonville will include a market with gourmet groceries, sundries, deli, food and wine, and prepared foods for people to take home for happy hour or an impromptu dinner party; a casual café for on-site dining; and finally, an indoor/outdoor bar which opens to a large plaza. With the outdoor seating, Jeremy imagines concerts and events on occasion to really bring the space to life in an easygoing, family-friendly way.
“People will be able to get a little bit of everything and anything in this one space and enjoy it in the daytime or at night,” Jeremy says.
As with The Citizen, Jeremy and Angela also kept design front and center in the planning. “Because we have a design-driven mentality, and we’re at Alys Beach, where design is such an important aspect to the overall community, it was a lot of fun to think differently about what a market, coffee shop, café, and bar can look like,” Jeremy says.
“We wanted to take a different kind of style to what you typically see on 30A and latched onto this idea of what a mid-century Malibu beach house would look like, with warm wood tones, brass accents, a unique color pattern of salmon alongside dark green, and some really fun elements that we think people will appreciate. It’s certainly a different look than what you typically see in this part of the world.”
Re-imagined, larger, and perhaps bolder, the new Fonville Press will nonetheless pay plenty of homage to its original namesake. Many of the former patrons have put in special menu requests, and Jeremy says that, while the menu isn’t finalized, people will recognize favorites like the breakfast biscuit sandwiches. They have also saved many of the old photos from the original space, the bronze letters from the original Fonville Press, and the original brass book-shaped sign to display in the new location. Patrons will also recognize many familiar faces here, including Joe Papagni, who was the manager of the original Fonville Press, as well as Gray Soper, who has worked with Alys Beach as the General Manager of Caliza Restaurant and the Beach Club at Alys Beach.
“The Fonville Press name is very near and dear to the hearts of the homeowners, people who live in the area, and regular visitors to 30A, so we really wanted to build on the connection people had with the brand,” Jeremy says. “We were very fortunate to be able to utilize the name and bring that brand forward into something new and dynamic that will bring back old patrons, and a lot of new ones, excited to discover all that we have to offer at Fonville Press Market Café.”