Mom & pops met at the Admiral Semmes Hotel in downtown Mobile September 22, 1959 (It's still there today). Pops was a guest & called the switchboard operator for room service, he mentioned he was going to see a movie and wished he had someone to go with him. The operator knew him and said she didn't mind if her daughter Ruby went with him.
We threw them an awesome 50th anniversary party at the Dixie Pig in Blytheville Arkansas, 2010.
The last picture they took together at home in November 2016. Pops passed away at 88 years old September 23, 2017. We're so lucky to grow up in a home filled with love & parents that said they were proud of us. They had 57 years on this earth together, pops is in heaven now (We hope), mom will hold him again someday.
Born and raised in Chickasaw Alabama 1962, I went to Plateau Grade School in Prichard. Our family moved to Blytheville Arkansas in 1971 to be near my grandmother. Mom and pops opened a business called Five Star Specialties, 5 stars - Mom, Pops, Mike, Tony & Ricky (Chrissi wasn't born yet). Selling imprinted t-shirts, pens, ball caps, and more, with company's names & logo. This was a new start for pops who grew up in a Catholic, loud-arguing, always-cursing, gambling addicted, yet loving family.
Making friends in the third grade was easy for me, friends still today. I didn't do well in school and considered myself a bad kid but never got suspended from school or had trouble with the law. Graduating in the bottom 20% of my class of about five-hundred students in 1981, I had no idea what to do with my life, so I moved to Dallas Texas, known at that time as the epicenter of the new technology boom. Having some experience with technology from working on pinball machines for daddy in Blytheville, I enrolled at Devry University but didn't have a passion for it. Mom and pops moved from Blytheville back to Mobile in 1982, so I packed and move back too.
Anthony D. Moore
Founder and President
Chapter III 1994 - 2021
I had no idea what I was doing, thought I was opening a quaint Tea Room. With no business experience and not knowing how to write a check, I called momma and said, "they actually have trucks to deliver food, I don't have to go to Delchamps". Ten days before opening Alec Namam, my cousin, informed me I was opening a restaurant and needed a menu. He wrote it, taught me the recipes, and how to cook. Alec and his team stayed with me for a couple of months to make sure I got on my feet not asking anything in return, I'm grateful Alec.
I spent four years with a negative balance in my checking account, up every night calling the bank checking my balance to see how far behind it was. I once paid my employees with change from the cash register, so you want to open a restaurant huh. I never gave up, believing someday I'd catch up and turn the corner.
In 2001 the Archdiocese donated the land in front of the Cathedral Church and Spot of Tea to the City with the condition no restroom be built, Cathedral Square was born. The city built a crosswalk from our front door to the Cathedral Square, I'm grateful City.
In 2002 Mayor Mike Dow and I shared a vision of a sidewalk café', and developed it over a few years, it still evolves today. He gave me my first Right of Way agreement for the sidewalk café and tables in the Square, I'm grateful Mike.
In 2003 I was able to buy this building, proudly displaying our family name, Zoghby-Moore. Located on Dauphin Street in the heart of the arts and entertainment district, now considered ground zero for downtown redevelopment.
In 2008 I built the balcony with a spiral staircase to it, we now seat about one hundred guests outside between all the different spaces. Today we're considered Mobile's Flagship restaurant, and a bucket list destination for visitors from around the country. Thank you for taking the time to learn about the evolution of the Spot of Tea. We look forward to seeing what the next twenty-seven years brings!
Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, 2010
The 1st Lady of Downtown, 2019
Three Generations of Moore Boys, 2015
Father's Day at Hank Aaron Stadium
Youth Minister, never had a bad day, 2021
Got married September 2021, 2021
Vegas partying for his 21st birthday, 2021
Precious overload, she's with one of my two cats Stewart, 2021
This stallion needs to settle down, this may be his mare, 2022 no pressure!
I love studying the history of downtown and know that someday people will look back at our era the way we look back 100 years ago. There are so many stories that should not go untold, there are certain characters that should be indelibly etched into the history of downtown. This is the first of many in a series I'm calling The Downtowners, stories of people that are part of downtown's history as seen through my eyes. You'll enjoy reading stories about the homeless, celebrities, politicians, preachers, and policemen. Tony Moore ~ August 2023
Everyone downtown knew Mr. Bill, whether you were homeless or lived in a castle he greeted and treated you the same. Mr. Bill bought most of this block in 1992 to have a place that he and his wife Mrs. Helen, along with Jim & Joe Lawrence, could have a peaceful place to worship and witness to anyone who would listen. Every Sunday, you'd see him in Cathedral Square talking with the homeless, inviting them into the Downtown Fellowship Church for coffee, a meal, and to hear the word of God (The church had no pastor, only elders).
Mr. Bill was the most Christ-like person I've ever met and meeting him is a story. I was busy cooking in July 1995 when I walked out to the dining room and saw a man sitting at a table not eating, I asked if he was being taken care of, and with a gentle, patient mannerism he replied, "are you Mr. Moore?", yes sir I replied, he said "I'm Bill Buchanan, the owner of the building you moved into without permission", I laugh but he didn't think it was funny. Though he was so kind, gentle, and gracious, I wouldn't advised underestimating him in the business world. He was an old-school, tuff as nails businessman, or as he called himself, "a steward of God's property". From that day forward he became a mentor to me in business and life, the person I would call for advice, and most importantly a strong Christian man I could look up to. Mr. Bill started coming around more often to keep his eye on me and maybe get lucky and collect a little rent ~ so I thought. Years later he told me he was watching to see my level of commitment to what I was doing, my work ethics, and how I treated others. He definitely kept a tally of the rent I owed and put a late fee on every month past due, but he did that for my sake, not his.
In 1998 Mr. Bill asked me to write down who I owed, and how much the interest rates were with each, I didn't know why he asked at that time. He knew I was paying NSF fees to the bank, I had heavy debt, but he also saw me open every day with a big smile and work hard until I closed. He called me a couple of weeks later and said these words that would change my life forever, "Tony, if I loan you $200,000.00 will you pay me back?". I replied, "yes Sir Mr. Bill, as long as I can walk, I will work every day open to close and pay you back". He took me to the top floor of a bank downtown and introduced me to the president and his assistant. He told me to tell her everyone I owed and how much, she cut cashier checks to each on the spot. A funny thing happened three years later, I called him up and said, "Mr. Bill, if I can finish paying this off in 3 years instead of the 5 years left, will you drop the interest from 8 to 5%, he chuckled and said, "I taught you too well".
I'll forever be indebted to Mr. William G. Buchanan Sr. for what he did, for what he taught me, for loving me ~ as he did everyone.
Timeless quotes from Mr. Bill.
* (1 Timothy 6:17-21)
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."
Mr. Bill passed February 2nd, 2015, in his eulogy, his son so eloquently said, "Did you know our father? If you did, then you know he has gone to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The world is a lesser place without him, and I know we shall see his again when we meet in heaven. How can I possibly describe in such a brief space the man who was our father, mentor, hero and friend? I could write of his many worldly achievements but that is truly not what he was about. My dad lived his life striving to be like Jesus. He treated EVERYONE with love and compassion...rich, poor, U.S. Congressmen, and the homeless. He had a huge tender heart, and he was a devoted giver of his time and his money to those in need. He loved his family unendingly and was characterized by his laughter and boundless joy. He loved his wife, our mom, as Jesus loves the church."
December 7, 2021, we lost a true warrior, gentleman, and God-fearing man, our brother Mark passed of complications associated with dialysis. He was with the Spot of Tea since December 1994 and played an integral role in our success. Mark was gentle, kind, respectful, & charismatic, people were naturally drawn to him. There were 5 warriors fighting together in the trenches for over 25 years, now there are four. Rest in Peace Mark
James 1:12 - Blessed is the man that endured temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
June 17, 2022, Marshall LaForce, a special member of our Spot of Tea family as well as my family, passed away at 23 years young. He was Lowell’s first cousin & dearest lifelong friend. He was a big brother & protector to Lowell when they were kids, now as adults Lowell officiated Marshall's funeral. Marshall was a kind, gentle, and respectful young man. He was just starting to find his place in the world & share his radiant smile again. Apparently, his rightful place is in heaven, and that radiant smile is being shared with the other angels. Because we're selfish we miss you & didn't want you to go. Because we loved you, we're mad God took you away so young.
Luke 23:43 Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, today thou shall be with me in paradise.