Sunday Night Restaurants in Birmingham, AL
Hi there, my wife and I are planning a southern excusion which will take us through Birmingham, AL in early October.
I've been reading great things about a lot of restaurants (Highlands, Hot and Hot, etc) however they're all closed on Sundays.
Unfortunately, we only have one night in Birmingham - and it's a Sunday. (We'll also be in the area for most of the day on Monday.) Does anyone have a suggestion for dinner in Birmingham on a Sunday? Ideally, we're hoping for something a little out of the ordinary; something distinctly local that we wouldn't experience in our hometown, Toronto.
Thanks for your help!
If you enjoy BBQ ribs, I'd go to Dreamland BBQ (http://www.dreamlandbbq.com). If you have the time, make the trek over to Tuscalooosa for the original location (it's not too far of a drive), but the Birmingham gets you close enough if you can't. It's a sparse menu, but I'd recommend a rack of ribs (share for two), and banana pudding for dessert. If you like sweet tea, they have the best. I'd say if you're looking for something you can't get in Toronto, that'd be it. Distinctly southern and Alabamian.
i'll second the recommendation for the bright star in bessemer. such "meat and three" cafeteria-style restaurants are deeply embedded in our food culture down here. http://www.birminghammenus.com/brightstar/
but i will warn you away from dreamland. it's easily the most overrated barbeque in the country, especially the one here in birmingham. the meat is always undercooked (that is, undercooked for cartilaginous meat) and it leaves your hands smelling like bologna. yuck. better barbeque is to be had at the golden rule (http://www.goldenrulebbq.com/ watch out for the horrible theme song on the website) or pat james' full moon. if you're going to be traveling on I-65 and are in the mood for really good barbeque, i'd recommend stopping in decatur, alabama, at big bob gibson's barbeque (http://www.bigbobgibsonbbq.com/). i would recommend whitt's (my personal favorite) in athens (where i grew up), but i know for a fact it's closed on sunday nights. you might also try greenbrier barbeque, located next to I-565, a spur of I-65, in madison, alabama. it's easy to find and most likely open on sunday nights.
chez lulu (full disclosure: i work there) is open on sunday nights. it's bistro-esque and definitely not typical of southern food.
Wow - these suggestions are great. Thank My wife and I will be travelling from Birmingham to Florence on the Monday we're in the area. Decatur is right on the way by the looks of it. Big Bob's will definitely be added to the agenda!
Bright Star sounds like a good bet for Sunday night. "Meat and three" is definitely a new concept for us. One that we're very much looking forward to embracing, I should add!
Is Pete's Famous Hotdogs any good?
Its a drag that so many things (Civil Rights Institute, Jazz Hall of Fame, Sloss Furnaces, etc) will all be closed on the Monday when we're in Birmingham. However, that frees up some more time for eating! And, if we arrive early enough on Sunday we can at least take in the Civil Rights Museum. Apparently it's free on Sundays...
If you guys have any suggestions for Florence, we're all ears - er - eyes.
Thanks again for the advice. We're digging that Southern Hospitality already and we haven't even left the country yet!
If you are going to be in Florence at all you have to go to Stag's in North Florence for the best burger in the entire world. It is only open for lunch but it is well worth the efforts in finding it. It is in a tiny little store that has a grill in the back. Get a bacon cheeseburger. The original store burned down last year but has been re-built and I hope that it hasn't lost the "flavor" that makes the burgers so great.
Also go to Trowbridges for a chicken salad sandwich and chocolate malt. Delicious. It is on main street and easy to find.
I went to college in Florence and dream of the Stag's burger and Trowbridge chicken salad.
I hope this isn't too late...
I'm with Jfields in recommending Trowbridge's in Florence. They have an egg & olive sandwich there that is great - well, everything they have there is nice. It's been open since 1918 and to give you an idea of what they serve, I've got a pic of their orderboard on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deepfriedkudzu/118215645/
For a nice supper, I'd suggest Dale's. http://www.dalessteakhouse.net/
Trowbridge's and Stagg's were fantastic recommendations. Wow! Stagg's cheeseburger was completely out of this world. We would have never in a million years found that place if it wasn't for you guys! Thank you so much.
While we were in Florence we also tried that Mexican place just up the street from Trowbridge's, it was really tasty too. My wife had a fajita salad while I scarfed down an entire Mexican ice cream.
Here are some of our other faves from our trip...
Bright Star in Bessemer was great. Apparently Kitty Carlisle was dining in the back that same night. Although the fish was a little on the greasy side, their lemon ice box pie more than made up for it. Our waitress was classic, "you're all from Canada? And you took your vacation here, in Alabama? Now why on earth would you do that?!"
Park Heights in Tupelo, MS was amazing. I had this giant pork chop with balsamic glaze. Our waiter was super-friendly and attentive.
Big Bob's BBQ was another highlight - the brisket, in particular, really hit the spot. It was so moist.
Las Palettas was another great Chowhound-inspired find in Nashville. It's this great Mexican ice cream parlor (which is conveniently unmarked). I had a popsicle called the "hot chocolate" which defniitely lived up to it's billing as being chocolately and spicey at the same time.
The fried chicken at The Loveless Cafe, also in Nashville, lived up to the hype in a big way. Huge crispy drumsticks covered in a golden brown batter. I'm already jonesing for collard greens...
...speaking of which... the collard greens and the bbq ribs and the peach cobbler at the Gay Hawk soul food restaurant in Memphis were out of this world. I didn't think I could ever eat that much for $8 - yikes!
Other memorable meals included Uncle Henry's Cabin on Moon Lake, just outside of Clarksdale, MS - you could have cut that steak with a butter knife, I swear! - and The Beauty Parlor in Memphis - once again their fried chicken (served with waffles, a pair of fried eggs and smothered in an uber-rich white gravy) really hit the spot.
We also really dug Rest Haven, this classic southern diner in Clarksdale for breakfast. I'd recommend their huge hotcakes.
Our one true disappointment on the whole trip was breakfast at Alcenia's in Memphis. Our server could not have been any more inattentive and their breakfast menu could not have been any more indecipherable. (It just said "Our famous weekend breakfast - $10" and had a list of items to order, not mentioning how many items you *could* order for $10.) The food, when it finally arrived was reasonably presented and was, truth be told, quite tasty. However there's nothing worse than having to beg for a coffee refill when you're the only customers in the place! It wouldn't have been as utterly heartwrenchingly disppointing if we hadn't had such high expectations from what we'd read in a number of guidebooks and on Chowhound. I'm asssuming they were just off their game that morning. Perhaps lunch there is a little more "on."
Thank you again for making our southern excursion so memorable. Your recommendations were completely spot on and - although our arteries might night be very happy about your suggestion - we are most appreciative and I can honestly say neither of us were ever wanting for good, tasty food. We can't wait to go back!