We're heading to Opelika for four days of golf starting this Thursday and I'm looking for dinner suggestions. Coming from Boston, we're most interested in barbeque, Southern Regional cooking, etc. From looking around on the boards here, Chuck's BBQ in Auburn, and Jimmy's and Cock of the Walk in Opelika seem to be places to check out. What are the don't-miss places? We're looking for reasonably-priced choices.
We're staying at the Grand National in Opelika if that makes a difference.
The original chef from the YellowHammer is not in AL anymore. He's a good friend of mine and took a job at BlackBerry Farms in Tennessee after leaving Montgomery. I haven't been since he left Yellowhammer but I believe the chef from the Auburn hotel took over and it's received so so reviews. If you're in Opelika, Waverly is definitely a bit of a drive but it's such a cool little place.
I've never enjoyed a meal at Jimmy's so I can't personally recommend it. It is pretty well liked among the locals and i'm told he makes a great Sazerac.
Amsterdam Cafe in Auburn is pretty good for Auburn's standard. I've had some great meals there and some slightly average meals there. Overall though it's a great place.
Warehouse Bistro across the interstate in Opelika is not too bad. The service is always great, their wine list is affordable (except the $2300 vertical of Opus), and the food generally hits the spots. They love their garnishes, their garde manger seriously must spend all day making them.
There's a new German beer garden in downtown Opelika that's supposed to be really good and fun. My good friends really enjoy it, great spetzle from what i'm told.
If you want to go out for a cocktail, Eighth & Rail is the place to go. Richard the owner is always there, Michael or Fuller will most likely be behind the bar. The service is great, and for Opelika the atmosphere is really awesome. Not to mention they make great drinks and have a great beer selection. It's always a stop for me. Ask for Fuller is she's there and tell her JB sent you. She'll get a nice kick out of it.
I used to spend 3 nights a week in Opelika last summer and I always resorted to Manderin House for some of the most knock out Chinese & Korean. The foods seriously amazing. There really aren't too many options, but it's a neat little town. Chuck's BBQ is good, i've enjoyed it before - Cock of the Walk, i've never been to. Enjoy your trip.
105 Rocket Ave, Opelika, AL 36804
It is a shame we lost Collin, but he moved on to bigger and better things. He taught me so much working in the kitchen with him and pairing wines to his menu was always a fun task for me. As far as the Yellowhammer i'm sure it's still delightful but I don't see myself driving from Cloverdale to Waverly to eat dinner anymore.
Back from our trip. We went to Cock of the Walk, Jimmy's, and Country's Barbecue in Opelika. Jimmy's was the highlight of those three. We were the only group in the place (they stayed open a little late for us), the service was great, and the food was excellent. For some reason the bread pudding stood out for us. They really couldn't have been nicer. We went to Cock of the Walk because we were invited there by some business associates of one of the folks in our party and I thought it was pretty good, I had all fried food and generally, what's not to like about fried food unless it's been ruined by bad oil or overcooking? I had fried dill pickles for the first time and I really liked them. Country's was OK. We tried to go to Chuck's but they were out of ribs. The waitresses put up with our bad jokes and general craziness and the food was good but not great. We arrived at 9:00 PM and they were running out of food (low on ribs!). They had to give us a kiddie-sized portions of sausage to try. I wish there had been more of that. I think our meals came out to less than $20 a person, so they've got that going for them.
We also hit Brewster's(?) for ice cream. Excellent road-side ice cream stand..
All-in-all food was very good and the people we met couldn't have been nicer.