Huntsville caterer, Cynthia Shea Hart, is known locally for truly enjoyable meals at catered events. The Examiner first discovered her talent at a boring corporate office party when confronted with an array of party-platter sandwiches and salad-esque side dishes. One expects the usual grub at these functions: bland meat, excessive mayo, meaningless white bread, and a five-minute struggle to unglue each bite from the roof of one’s mouth. Instead, the door was opened to a world of truly incomparable Huntsville dining. The sandwiches were incredible – flavorful, complex, and most surprisingly, served on fresh baked bread. To learn more, the Examiner committed the sin of gluttony – in the name of science – sampling most things at the buffet at least twice. Gushing with praise, the Examiner interviewed the owner and was invited to dine at her restaurant, Shea’s Express. What follows is a review based on no less than ten meals consumed in the short period that followed that invitation.
Cyn Shea and her team have made truly gourmet cuisine accessible to the breakfast and lunch crowd in downtown Huntsville, in a comfortable and casual setting. Don’t let the disposable plates and flatware put you off – the food is serious in the Rocket City’s only from-scratch bakery and bistro. The live jazz brunch is a great way to start your weekend and sample some of what Shea's Express has to offer.
Breakfasts / Brunch
The blueberry pancakes are mind-altering. Made with corn meal and fresh whole blueberries, I realized after stealing a significant portion of my son’s breakfast, that I may never have actually had a true blueberry pancake before. My happiest IHOP moments prior to this were mere imitations. Forgeries. The fresh-baked sausage and mushroom roll with mozzarella and fresh herbs was so savory and tempting that they have become a staple for the Examiner at each dining. Mimosas are served in large tumblers with fresh orange juice and decent champagne. Breakfast foods reach a new plane of existence with Shea’s French Toast, made from her fresh-baked Cranberry Orange bread. (Some items are available only during the Saturday Bruch, so check the menu.)
The sandwiches and hot plates here are all stand-outs. The Rueben and Smoked Turkey Breast sandwiches are wonderful, as are the Memphis Tacos featuring chopped BBQ pork loin, and the Cajun-Spiced Shrimp & Cheesy Grits. The award-winning Vermont Maple Salad is alone worth the trip. Most surprisingly, however was the recent discovery of Shea’s authentic and delicious Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo – it is the best in the city.
This is a four-star eatery, behind only a small handful of gourmet restaurants in the Tennessee Valley. It is impossible to describe all the wonderful side dishes and meals Shea’s Express has to offer – only a few to whet the appetite.
415 Church Street, Suite 5
Huntsville, AL 35801
(256) 532-JAVA (5282)
Mon-Fri: 7am – 3pm
Saturday: 9am-2pm Jazz Brunch
Sunday: 8:30-10am Coffee and Worship