First Look: All The Best, a Snacks and Record Shop
A new corner store adds grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks, drip coffee and a curated record selection to a light-filled space in downtown Florence.
Shoals natives Kristy Bevis and Ben Tanner opened All The Best, offering refreshments and records, at 128 E. Tennessee Street in Florence in August 2021. Kristy had spent 20 years working in food and beverage in Savannah, Georgia, and Nashville before moving back to the area in 2009. Previously, she was general manager at Odette. Musically inclined Ben, former keyboardist for Alabama Shakes, returned home in 2006 for a job at Fame Recording Studios and now works as a freelance engineer and musician. For their joint venture, “We wanted to do something that married our passions and that would be good for downtown Florence,” Kristy says.
Why the Shoals
It was a matter of right place, right time to bring to life their idea for Only The Best, which they’d been floating around a long time. “When the space came up, it seemed like the perfect way to do it,” says Ben, adding that there’s been a lack of music retail in downtown Florence since Pegasus Records closed in 2016. Kristy says the way the Shoals has evolved over the past few years made her optimistic about trying something new. “When I first moved back, I thought I would stay a year or two then go on to a bigger city,” saysKristy. Eleven years later, she, Ben and their 2-year-old daughter, Louise, are right at home in the Shoals. “It’s been great being part of a smaller community,” she adds.
Why You Should Go
A bodega, corner-store vibe is what Ben and Kristy were going for. “We wanted this to be a gathering place where you can listen to music on a turntable, have a quick snack and a coffee, read a magazine,” Ben says. A tight selection of hot food like egg cups for breakfast and Cubans or pulled pork sandwiches for lunch prove quick eats can still be delicious. All The Best serves no-frills Domestique drip coffee, roasted in Birmingham. You can also scoop up snacks from beef jerky and chips to sour gummies and protein bars, or grab a drink like Topo Chico or Mexican Coke. The records selection is mix of old and new albums, about a third of it with ties to the Shoals or Alabama. Head to the listening booth in back to get an earful before you buy.
Kristy’s go-to lunch spot is Esther’s Eatery for its light lunch food and natural wine selection. Ben’s a little more old-school in his preference for Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q, particularly the slaw dog. “It’s a thing,” he says. “Don’t be afraid.”