Stephanie Kennedy-Mell

COO and CMO, Church Street Family Hospitality

Stephanie and her husband, Matt own and operate Church Street Family Hospitality Group, a now eight-business-strong collection of restaurants and bars in Huntsville, Ala.


Before Stephanie began her career in hospitality, she worked in the fashion industry for two decades. A graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology, she worked in New York City and Los Angeles. She and Matt chose to return home to Alabama and together follow their passion for wine by opening a wine shoppe, starting Church Street Wine Shoppe in the fall of 2014.


They now operate eight concepts. Stephanie is proprietor, COO and CMO of the Church Street Family Hospitality. Overseeing all aspects of operations; including managing North Alabama’s very first sit-down food and wine tasting club. She also operates the distribution center encompassing purchasing and inventory of all non-consumables, creation of SOP’s and training manuals, implementation of technology, systems and reporting. As well as all marketing, charity and community relations, and catering & event coordination. As well as concept design of each location.


Stephanie sits on the board of directors for Downtown Huntsville Inc. and was the first female to chair the board. She is a graduate of Huntsville/Madison Leadership L-30 program and a member of Leadership Alabama Class XXXI. She was a finalist for restauranter of the year in Alabama in 2020 and 2021; won the Red Ribbon Award for Food & Beverage in 2018 and in 2020 from the Hospitality Association.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that what we do, that our businesses allow us to give back to our community. We are charity-minded, and the success of Church Street Family businesses give us the vehicle to be involved in multiple nonprofits helping us give back in a variety of ways.

I am always so humbled when someone comes up to me and thanks me for opening our concepts, bars & restaurants – they are celebrating life, achievements, and sharing sorrows in our places. We are so honored to be a part of this of those memories and this community.

What civic organizations or nonprofits have you been involved with, and why have those been important to you?

I am a founding member of the International Women’s Forum – Alabama Chapter. IWF was established in 1974, it is a worldwide organization that includes over 7,000 members from 33 nations on six continents. This organization works with an exclusive group of women in leadership roles. Its focus is to empower, inspire and elevate the next generation of women leaders.  To be in the company of these amazing group of accomplished women is truly humbling.

I am currently a board member of Downtown Huntsville Inc. and in 2019 was the first female chair of the board in the organization’s history. I am proud to be a part an organization that focuses on building an inclusive and vibrant community. I am honored to be the first female chair of the board, to be able to continually show young female professionals that the glass ceiling is slowly disappearing – sky’s the limit.

I was a member of Leadership Huntsville Madison County Class XXX and I am currently a member of Leadership Alabama Class XXXI – these organizations are so important to our communities.  They help identify and educate our current and future leaders to ensure they are well-rounded and fully versed in the needs of the individual cities and the state as a whole. I have met passionate leaders ready to take on the challenges within our society, and that is inspiring.

What awards, accolades or accomplishments are you proudest of?

2018 – Red Ribbon Award winner – Food & Beverage HMCHA

2019 – Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Award Winner – Local Creative

2020 – Red Ribbon Award Winner – Food & Beverage HMCHA

2020 & 2021 – Finalist for Restauranteur of the Year in the state of Alabama

2017, 2018, 2019 – First Place at the Legislative Bash in Montgomery, representing Huntsville AL (2017 was the first, 1stplace win ever for Huntsville)
*I consider all these awards to be teamwork awards – no one does it alone in hospitality. These are Church Street Family Awards, and we couldn’t have done without each and every one in our organization doing their job to the best of their ability!

What is your mission statement or your company’s mission statement?

“When you walk into one of our businesses, we want you to feel as though you are walking into our home. The vibe and overall ambiance should be comfortable and welcoming.”

Mission: To create and build an inclusive environment engaging in the highest standards of hospitality, forged in professionalism and compassion. Inspire creativity, and quality second to none, based on the betterment of community and built on family values.

Do you have a favorite quote about powerful or strong women you’d like to share?

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisholm

Shirley was second woman to serve on the NY State Legislature, the first African American woman in congress in, and she was also the first woman to seek the nomination for President of the U.S. in 1972 from one of the two main political parties – a pioneer for women.

I think this quote truly encompasses that which we as women must to realize above all else – you don’t need permission. With faith in your path, hard work, and persistence no can stop you from achieving the goal you have set for yourself.
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