Botanic in Full Bloom

by Ann Cipperly

Greenhouse filled with vibrant indoor and outdoor plants, a first-rate restaurant offering Southern cuisine, a coffee shop, bakery, market and garden shop nestled among picturesque scenery come together for a one of a kind experience at Botanic. Stacy Brown and King Braswell combined their expertise from previous successful businesses into creating a destination complex.

Stacy, founder of Chicken Salad Chick, and her husband King of Blooming Colors and Crepe Myrtle Café began in 2019 to create their dream botanical haven featuring horticulture and dining at the former Cock of the Walk location in Opelika.

“The concept came from a combination of our own work experiences, individual life experiences and our experiences together,” says Stacy. “We combined all of our passions and experiences that moved us throughout life together on one campus. It really worked to combine horticulture and restaurants.”

“There are other concepts that might have more horticulture and small cafes,” she adds. “I don’t think that is new, but they don’t have the extensive restaurants, bars and different places to shop that we have created here.”

During construction, the pond was excavated to clean it out, make it deeper and create a balanced eco system with the addition of fish. Turtles and a family of ducks make their home at the pond. A peninsula was installed along the edge with Adirondack chairs around firepits for enjoying the water, and children can feed the fish, ducks or turtles. A seawall with attractive rock is being added around the pond.

When entering the complex, the green- house with indoor plants is the first building, and it is eye-catching, adorned across the front with an array of plants and sea- sonal décor. Indoors, a flagstone path throughout allows for easily viewing an extensive selection of plants as well as planters, statuary and fountains. “King designed the area to be a beautiful place, not just a greenhouse,” says Stacy. “It will inspire people for ideas they can create in their own homes and yards with the topiaries and plants. We will have wonderful things for each season to decorate and whatever is in season for indoor and outdoor décor.”

Past the greenhouse, the outdoor section of the nursery is across from the patio bar with a stage wrapped around an old oak tree for live music. While exploring the nursery, shoppers can enjoy the music.

A separate garden shop is filled with a variety of gifts for the garden enthusiast with hats, tools and planters. Unique décor items are also available for beautifying homes.

The patio bar is a perfect spot for enjoy- ing wonderful weather. In the mornings, visit the market for gourmet coffees and freshly baked pastries, muffins, scones and breakfast casseroles. Relax with breakfast on the patio.

“A wide variety of ages are coming to enjoy the market and patio,” says Stacy. “We have people from all walks of life that are enjoying the weather, music, coffee, plants and gardens. There is a lot here to enjoy.”

The market is centered around culinary and is stocked with fresh produce and their brand of jams and jellies that are made in their kitchen with local farmers market fruits. Most of the package items are local or made in the South. Pottery and art work are from local artists.

“We were fortunate to find Chef James Jolly, who aligns with mine and King’s vision for the restaurants,” says Stacy. “He is focused on fresh vegetables so that the vegetables will be the star of the plate. I related to him when he said he was raised by an Italian grandmother and a Southern grandmother. From his Southern grandmother, it didn’t matter if it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, the plate was served with cantaloupe. That was my childhood.”

The chef is working with local farmers for vegetables, dairy and meat as much as can be sourced locally. A 10,000 square foot hydroponic greenhouse will also provide vegetables such as romaine and butter lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables for the restaurants.

At The Grille, Stacy and King planned details with thoughts of someone dining in the restaurant. “This is a place we would want to come dine. These are the things I appreciate as someone dining out.

“The first step when you walk into the foyer of the Grille,” Stacy adds, “you are greeted by live piano music that really sets the tone for your experience. You walk into the foyer with the original Cock of the Walk walls, and the floor is reclaimed brick from an old mill that was torn down in Americus, Ga.

“As you go through the foyer, you might go through the bourbon bar, which has beautiful rugs on the floor, comfortable chairs in rich leather, window treatments and beautiful lighting. It is really everything that would make you feel warm and cozy.

“To me, the mission is that everybody should feel the restaurant is warm and cozy, and they are ready to settle in for the evening with a good meal with good friends and a nice cocktail, enjoying the relationships.

“The people are the star of the show, not the environment that should just disappear with comfort. You should enjoy your- self and who you are with and the conversation. I tried to make the environment of the restaurant lend itself to that. The walls are lined with grass cloth, there are nice window treatments, dim lighting and always beautiful plants in every room.”

Each room was designed to have its own special elements. One room is called the orchid room with a rock fireplace and one wall outlined with an antique mirror that reflects the fireplace. The room has large, curved booths and a table that is round, while the other dining room has an interesting wall accent with fresh plants. Outdoor seating provides views of the lake. Reservations are required.


At sunset lights began to glow as we arrived at The Grille. Piano music filled the air with the promise of a stellar evening as we walked through the restaurant with stunning ambience, featuring a massive arrangement of orchids and fresh flowers on every table.

We sat at a spacious booth with a dark green tucked banquette with a view of the lake at a nearby window. When our menus were presented, we noticed at the top there was a personal greeting welcoming the Cipperly party for the evening.

As we began looking over the enticing menu choices, an attractive flower pot filled with freshly baked bread arrived with three accompanying butters enhanced with garlic, lavender and honey and herbs. The bread was perfectly baked.

Our table ordered two appetizers. Large fresh shrimp from Greene Prairie Farm in Alabama were superb served with flavorful cocktail and remoulade sauces. Crispy fried green tomatoes were topped with melted pimento cheese, tomato jam and bacon for a pleasing combination of flavors.

From the wood grill entrees, the ribeye filet in a bourbon aged steak sauce from Chatel Farms sounded too good to miss and was seared to perfection. Grilled mushrooms, Vidalia onions and butterball potatoes were flawless accompaniments.

From Comfrey Farms, a bourbon glazed pork chop was the second entrée at our table. Sweet potato puree and slow cooked collard greens paired perfectly with the succulent pork.

After lingering over the last morsels, dessert choices were considered. Buttermilk pie topped with billowy cream and macerated berries, as well as bread pudding in pecan embellished bourdon sauce admirably capped the scrumptious meal. Service was also excellent.

Among other menu choices are shrimp and grits, blackened salmon, Patiana’s pasta and grilled catfish fillet, giving a nod to the former restaurant that occupied the site. A variety of salads are available, and chicken, salmon or shrimp can be added.


The Garden Restaurant will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A casual menu will feature crepes, burgers, sandwiches and heartier entrees, as well as their fresh vegetables. A traditional breakfast will also include breakfast crepes, while full entrees will be served at dinner.

The crepes were popular at King’s Crepe Myrtle restaurant that was offered at Blooming Colors. While guests could only enjoy outdoor dining at Crepe Myrtle six months out of the year, the Garden restaurant will provide year around outdoor dining with a retractable roof. The roof can be closed if raining and can keep the heat in or out.

Private dining areas include a grain silo and a wine cellar. Constructed of reclaimed beans and bricks, the wine cellar appears as it was discovered instead of being newly built.


Numerous events are being planned, including games on the patio, container gardening and wreath-making classes, among others.

“We have been so unbelievably blessed with the most wonderful, talented people who have joined our team to make this large facility work,” says Stacy. “I am most grateful for the amazing people who have come here to be a part of this.

“When you are creating something out of your own mind and hearts,” Stacy says, “you are hoping other people are going to like what you have to offer. We are glad that everyone has been so kind and received us so well.”

Botanic LLC is located at 1702 Frederick Road, Opelika. For reservations at The Grille, call 334.748.9082. For additional information, go to