Stone Bridge Farms cut the ribbon on its newest addition this week, a sprawling restaurant and speakeasy-style bar that brought local officials and business leaders out for a first tour of the newest entry in Cullman’s growing dining scene.

Ledger’s restaurant and the adjacent Galley bar officially greeted their first customers on Thursday evening, following a ceremony and walkthrough of the spacious new venue, which also includes two detached areas designed for privately-catered events.

Stone Bridge owner Ron Foust recruited longtime Birmingham restaurateur and Cullman native Cliff Holt to oversee the Ledger’s menu as executive chef. Pausing from a busy kitchen check Thursday, Holt said the restaurant’s menu — a moderately-priced curation of southern classics and sophisticated twists on traditional entrées — reflects what he and the rest of the executive staff believe is missing from Cullman’s locally-operated dine-in options.

“I approached it as looking at what we already have around Cullman, and looking at the kinds of things that maybe are missing — and we came up with a menu that I think gives people a reason to come here for something that’s a little different,” he said.

“The restaurant and bar are connected but separate. They each have their own entrances from the outside, and the idea there is to present a welcoming point of access for people who want to come out, whether they’re dressed up or dressed down, and go right in and enjoy this place in whatever way they like.”

Crowned by an open vaulted ceiling and lavished with lacquered wood appointments throughout, the main dining room at Ledger’s is a capacious area highlighted by a smaller, more intimate back alcove that greets wandering guests with deep-cushioned furniture set before a massive fireplace. The dining foyer is similarly large — a design choice Foust says he struck on as a way to put socially-distanced diners-in-waiting at ease in the time of COVID-19 — and it presents a lively welcome with a self-playing grand piano.

Connecting the bar and dining areas is a single enormous outdoor deck, with plenty of space for both seating and informal strolling, overhung with strings of patio lights and serving up picturesque views of Stone Bridge’s manicured outer grounds. Desserts and pastry catering are made on-site by Foust’s daughter, Jazz Johnson, who also owns and operates For Goodness Cakes bakery in Cullman.

Holt says the restaurant’s menu and overall flow may change a little, as guests’ preferences and habits begin to offer up a firmer idea of what customers want. The streamlined appetizer and main course items include familiar favorites that Holt has taken the extra mile: traditional deviled eggs transform into fried deviled eggs with smoky bacon & garden chives; while shrimp & grits step up as an Alabama-themed appetizer thanks to regionally-sourced goat cheese and Conecuh sausage.

Ledger’s and The Galley Bar are open from Thursday through Saturday from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., and for Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanks to a special venue designation approved earlier this year by the Alabama legislature, the bar is allowed to serve alcohol on Sundays via a site license that permits alcohol service anywhere on Stone Bridge’s 136-acre campus.

For more on the food and drink offerings at Ledger’s and The Galley bar, as well as up-to-date info about live music, catering services and more, visit the restaurant’s website at www.stonebridge-farms.com/ledgers, or follow the restaurant on Facebook @ledgersrestaurant and Twitter @LedgersGalley.

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