Where the Locals Eat
“Where are we going to eat?” or, “I’m hungry” are comments most frequently heard (or thought) while traveling, whether you’re alone, with your significant other, or a full traveling party. So, we’ve attempted to help you take the guesswork out and have suggested some of our favorites throughout the Black Belt region. There are no chain restaurants here, just those that have local flair and great food! You can also visit http://www.ilovealabamafood.com/ for a list of favored eateries and fine dining experiences throughout Alabama.
5535 15th Ave. E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35405 | (205) 758-8135
Just south of the University of Alabama sits the original Dreamland Bar-B-Que, first opened by John “Big Daddy” Bishop in 1958. After a long career as a brick mason, Bishop was ready for a change. Once known for serving only ribs, white bread and sauce, today the restaurant boasts nine locations featuring pulled pork, chicken, traditional side items and desserts.
1653 McFarland Blvd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 | (205) 752-0830
Since 1998, Evangeline’s has offered Tuscaloosa an upscale dining experience with an ever-evolving menu of American and internationally inspired cuisine. Known for its crab cakes, the restaurant specializes in dishes that feature fresh, Gulf seafood.
1317 Main Street, Greensboro, AL 36744 | (334) 624-3899
Pie Lab is a pie shop meant to gather communities together. It’s founded on the idea that simple things, like delicious pie and good conversation, can bring us together and spread joy. Pie+Conversation = Ideas. Ideas+Design = Positive Change.
Ca-John’s Faunsdale Bar and Grill
35558 AL Highway 25, Faunsdale, AL 36738 | (334) 628-3240
Ca-John’s started off as a mudbug farm and catering business just west of Montgomery. Today, the quirky bar and grill owned by John Broussard, founder of the Alabama Crawfish Festival, is dedicated to serving up true Cajun cuisine.
Ezell’s Fish Camp
776 Ezell Road, Lavaca, AL 36904 | (205) 654-2205
The first Ezell’s Fish Camp popped up in a pre-Civil War cabin on the Tombigbee River in the 1930s, when the Ezell family and the original cook, Pauline, hosted fish fries and sold catfish for 50 cents per plate. In the 1950s, Ezell’s became a full-fledged restaurant and today boasts numerous locations, while the Ezell’s daughter, Mary Ann, operates the original.
Gaines Ridge Dinner Club
933 Highway 10 E., Camden, AL 36726 | (334) 682-9707
The Gaines Ridge Dinner Club, located in a home built in the 1820s, began serving food in 1985. The home features both indoor and outdoor dining rooms, where guests may be joined by one of the property’s several friendly ghosts. The menu is simple, with a selection of seafood, sandwiches, and desserts, including the restaurant’s popular black bottom pie.
Touch of Home Bakery
90 North St Livingston, AL 35470 | 205-652-6561
This little Mennonite restaurant is worth the trouble to find. It’s off the interstate a couple of miles in the little college town of Livingston, Ala. But this place is awesome! They have “real” down home cooking and homemade bread, cakes, pies, and pastries. Taco Salad Thursdays and Fried Fish Fridays aren’t to be missed! Open Monday-Friday, breakfast and lunch, only.
3316 U.S. 231, Troy, AL 36081 | 334-566-0064
Sisters Pat Rogers and Geraldine Umbehagen have operated Sisters’ in Troy for nearly 15 years. With a menu that changes daily, the restaurant is known for its selection of country cooking, Friday night seafood buffets and homemade banana pudding.
18627 Highway 82, Union Springs, AL 36089 | 334-738-3000
Originally opened as The Grill in 1945, today the Hilltop Grill is still a locally owned, casual restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Known for its slow-cooked pork with special sauce and homemade stew, regulars say this is the place to kick back, relax and converse.
River City Grill
209 E Broad St., Eufaula, AL 36027 | 334-616-6550
ALL TIME FAVORITE! RCG offers a wide variety of food for all tastes, and everything there is absolutely phenomenal. I’ve yet to eat anything that was just so-so— it’s all great. My favorite is the stuffed chicken. If we ever move away, we’ll have to come back just so I can fill my RCG cravings. – Review from a local.
509 Mangum Ave., Selma, AL 36701 | (334) 872-1390
Tally-Ho has changed owners a few times since opening in the 1940s. Though the fine dining restaurant has a storied history — from selling whiskey under the table to hosting horse shows and games of golf — today Tally-Ho is known for its original log cabin entrance, intricately decorated dining rooms and its popular New York strip.
138 Dexter Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 | (334) 265-6850
Chris’ Hotdogs has been serving up its famous dogs with Chris’ sauce since 1917 when the establishment first opened in downtown Montgomery. Hank Williams was known to visit at the height of his career, but you don’t have to be famous to enjoy a hot dog from Chris’.
Dirk’s Filet and Vine
431 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 | (334) 262-8463
Derk’s Filet & Vine has served hand-cut steaks, sliced Boarshead meats, fresh produce, casseroles, gourmet groceries, salads and delicious seasonings for more than a decade. An extensive selection of wine and beer and some of the area’s best meat-and-three offerings earn the eatery regular recognition in local readers’ choice awards.
100 N. College St., Auburn, AL 36830 | (334) 887-3488
For more than 130 years, the soda fountain at Toomer’s Drugs has served sandwiches, hot dogs and floats at Auburn’s historic Toomer’s Corner. Famous for its fresh-squeezed lemonade, the drugstore is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
1936 S. College St., Auburn, AL 36830 | (334) 502-4557
For great happy hour specials and dinner on the half-shell, KJ’s is the place to go. If oysters aren’t your thing, don’t worry — the menu features plenty of other options for surf and turf lovers alike.
410 S. Gay St., Auburn, AL 36830
(334) 826-8181 | Opened in the early 1990s as a place to feature the original owner’s handmade Shulbock tables (and the first cold draft Heineken in Auburn), Amsterdam Cafe has evolved into a farm-to-table restaurant utilizing ingredients from local growers and the cafe’s own gardens. Purchased by the Cleveland family in 1998, the Vincent Van Gogh-inspired, upscale eatery recently expanded to include the Starry Night Lounge.
1 Booker T. Washington Blvd., Tuskegee, AL 36088 | (334) 724-2767
The Restaurant at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center features traditional Southern cuisine, warm hospitality and a relaxed atmosphere. Traditional Southern favorites are served daily at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Restaurant is famous among locals and visitors alike for its sweet potato pie, pecan pie and cream pound cake, in addition to its Soul Food Wednesdays and Sunday brunch.
13th Street Barbeque
3869 U.S. Highway 80 W., Phenix City, AL 36869 | (334) 291-1855
Located in an old building that was once a grocery store and an auto parts shop, 13th Street Barbecue in Phenix City has become a local favorite since opening in 2003. Dubbed as home of the original pork chop sandwich, the restaurant is better known for its Hawg Dog challenge. Finish a giant, 5-pound Hawg Dog, which consists of pork, homemade chili, onions, cheese, pickles and cole slaw, in 30 minutes or less and join the Hawg Dog Wall of Fame.