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The Eatery at Ferus Artisan Ales in Trussville: Meet the chef

By Erica Thomas, managing editor

TRUSSVILLE — As finishing touches are being put on Ferus Artisan Ales in Trussville’s downtown entertainment district, there is something cooking in the kitchen.

Ashley Bolton has been named Executive Chef for the Eatery at Ferus. With 15 years experience in the food and beverage industry, Bolton will bring a creative twist to Americana pub cuisine.

“When you go to a brewery you expect certain foods to be there,” Bolton said. “This is no exception, you’ve got wings and burgers, but I like to do things differently, so hopefully the public will enjoy my twist on things.”

Ashley Bolton, Executive Chef

The preliminary menu is still in the review process. One of the items already approved is a classic Cuban sandwich. But this is no ordinary Cuban sandwich. It’s wrapped in an egg roll bun. The pulled-pork Swiss cheese and housemade pickles will be wrapped tight in order to allow patrons to enjoy their meal while walking around the brewery and other parts of the entertainment district.

Bolton said she wants her food to be practical and interesting. Her love for the culinary arts started while she was majoring in music at Jacksonville State University. That’s when she realized she was made for something more.

“I’m from New Orleans, so my whole family is very food-oriented,” Bolton said. “I decided in college I wanted to take that direction.”

Bolton moved to Springville, Alabama, when she was only eight years old, so her food is influenced by Southern cooking with a New Orleans flare.

“I try to keep it local,” she said. “I like Southern ingredients. It’s not Cajun, although I’m definitely not opposed to putting some of that on the menu in the future.”

For that Southern taste, Bolton said her favorite way to spice things up is to use bacon for seasoning.

“It’s full-flavor, I don’t like to skimp on any seasonings or flavors,” she said.

Bolton will make all the sauces and dressings for the eatery, from scratch. She has plenty of experience and professional influences that go into every dish.

“Brett Jenkins, who owns Harp and Clover Irish Pub in Gadsden, and George Reis, who I worked with at Ocean for four years, have been been very positive culinary influences in my life,” Bolton said.

As the executive pastry chef and the production kitchen manager at Indian Hills Country Club, in Tuscaloosa, she honed her skills and she says she is ready to take on the challenge at Ferus.

“I love what this is going to bring to the area,” she said. “It’s something that has not been done around here. It’s going to bring jobs and a lot of entertainment to the area.”

The family-oriented atmosphere that will be offered at Ferus Artisan Ales, will have an open floor plan. Customers can watch the brewing process while hanging out at the bar or sitting in the dining area.

The decor is uniform with the name “Ferus,” which is a Latin term meaning wild or savage. The reclaimed wood throughout the building offers a natural feel. Copper-plating and custom-built furnishings offer a modern, urban and contemporary feel.

The dining area sits between the tap room and the kitchen. With a large workspace that includes a double-decker oven, a six-burner stove, a flat-top, a grill and a salamander broiler, Bolton said she will be ready to take on the masses.

“I hope that we are so slammed, we don’t even get a chance to close the doors,” Bolton said. “We are going to be prepared for it. It’s going to be a lot of work and a lot of pressure, but it’s going to be all worth it.”

The eatery will have gluten-free options, vegetarian options and kid-friendly items. The kid’s menu is also being finalized, but some things you can expect to see are flatbread sliders and pickled-fried chicken.

When it comes to sweets, Bolton’s experience as a pastry chef is bound to impress. She plans to have a staple item and eventually rotate a variety of desserts. She also has plans for the future.

“Hopefully I can pair up with some local ice creameries or something just to get some more local businesses involved,” she said.

Bolton will be cooking the food herself and she is now looking for a staff of dishwashers and cashiers. Anyone who is interested and would like to apply can email Ashley Bolton at Chef@FerusAles.com.

Ferus Artisan Ales is hoping to open in September 2019.

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