By SHANNON HEUPEL, Montgomery Advertiser
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The sights, sounds and tastes of fall fairs and carnivals may still be a season or two away, but, thanks to one unique eatery in Montgomery, you can satisfy your cravings for fair-food any time of the year.
Queenz Carnival Stop, which has been operating out of a little blue and pink building for about a year, lets you sink your teeth into a juicy turkey leg or get lost in a sugary funnel cake anytime you want.
“I dare to be different,” said Queenz owner Monique Clark, 33. “Everyone’s done soul food. Everyone’s doing seafood. I wanted us to stand out. We wait year round for carnivals. We wait year round for fairs. I wanted to give the people something that they’re not used to. ”
Among her offerings are Polish sausages, fish, chicken, chili cheese dogs, cheeseburgers, loaded fries and nachos. She occasionally does fried Oreos, and offers turkey legs every other Saturday.
“There are certain times I do fish and grits. I have certain times I do chef salads, ”Clark said. “I do different things on different days.”
But her big draw is something uniquely carnival.
“Funnel cakes. They love the funnel cakes, ”Clark said.
Her funnel cakes come in a variety of flavors: regular, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Twix, chocolate and strawberry.
Along with being the owner, Clark is Queenz ‘Carnival’s cook and sole employee. Don’t bother asking for her secret recipes. Her lips are sealed on all but one special ingredient: Love.
“Right now, I’m the owner, the worker, and I take pride in that,” Clark said. “Each and every plate that leaves out of that window, I know that I put my heart into it,”
What she will say is that she got inspiration for her recipes from Louisiana, through a couple of best friends.
“I love the texture of the food and the seasonings,” Clark said. “I take a little bit of a lot of my recipes from their recipes.”
Guests can eat at Queenz on the patio area, or get food to go. It’s open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 8 pm
“It’s been awesome,” said Clark. “I appreciate all the support from the Montgomery area. But first and foremost, I always have to thank God, because without him all this would not be possible. ”
Clark also praised her wonderful mother Olivia Clark and devoted father Raymond Payne. She grew up on the north side of Montgomery and has a family history of serving the community. She’s the granddaughter of the late William Payne, known as the Montgomery shoeshine man, who shined shoes for years at the Alabama Legislature.
“To beat the odds coming up, that’s always been a motive for me,” Clark said.
The restaurant was a special birthday gift to herself last year on March 12. While it hasn’t been easy, especially opening during the pandemic, she said it’s been fair and that she’s building her business day by day.
“You can do anything if you put your mind to it,” Clark said.
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