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May 29, 2010 05:49 PM

Auburn, AL recs please, but not BBQ/southern

I've done the search, and all I can find for Auburn is people looking for 'cue. That's fine, but not what I'm looking for.

I'll be in Auburn for 2 weeks on work- anything good for a person who considers meat to be a nice flavoring, but not the center of the universe? Anyone working wonders with vegetables? Has the farm-to-table craze found a home anywhere in Auburn?

Who's making great food? Any ethnicities, styles, welcome, but I already have access to great southern style (fried, chicken, 'cue, collards) already. What's cookin' in Auburn?

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  1. Amsterdam Cafe at Gay Street and Samford Ave. is always excellent. Check out their site for menus etc. - Good food, great atmosphere.
    Other places that might interest you: the Yellowhammer Restaurant which is just a short drive away in Waverly--it's fine dining in a tiny, middle-of-nowhere town. ( ), the Creole Shack in Auburn has great fried green tomatoes and crawfish etoufee, my brother who is still in Auburn raves about a little Indian placed called India Garden. Also, Arricia, the Italian restaurant located in the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center is really good, and if you're a chocolate lover they have a fantastic chocolate buffet on Saturday Nights. Even if they aren't advertising it, they'll bring you multiple plates of chocolate desserts to your table--miniature sizes of chocolate creme brulees, bread puddings, chocolate covered strawberries, macaroons, truffles, etc...what can I say, I'm a girl and I love chocolate. I've also heard that Juliana Tokyo is great, but I've never eaten there.

    If you're interested in some great coffee, try and stop by Gnu's Room for real coffee. It's right next to Amsterdam Cafe, and it's the kind of coffee shop you'd expect to find on the west coast.

    Juliana Tokyo
    140 N College St Apt 101, Auburn, AL 36830

    1 Reply
    1. re: westbko

      thanks westbko! I was beginning to fear that I would have few options in Auburn, but you have encouraged me!

      I'll report back on what I get to in Auburn....

    2. Cheese........Opelika is just a few miles N/E of Auburn. Here's a good one.

      The Warehouse Bistro @ 105 Rocket Ave., Opelika, AL 334 - 745 - 6353. I85/EXIT60. FD/D.

      And another.

      Melina's @ 430 Main Ave., Northport, AL 205 - 758 - 0450. FD/LD.

      In Auburn the Oyster Bar is fun. Bar and music along with good seafood.

      Auburn Oyster Bar and Grill @ 1100 South College St., Auburn, AL 334 - 502 - 2491. *

      Christopher is great fine dining N/W of Auburn near Martin Lake about 10 miles. Nice atmosphere and fun to get away from town. Beautiful view of the lake and outside dining too.

      Christoper @ 7051 Highway 49 S., Auburn, AL 256 - 825 - 3445.

      Warehouse Bistro
      105 Rocket Ave, Opelika, AL 36804

      8 Replies
      1. re: Littleman

        Westbko has some **great** suggestions. I've heard lovely things about Yellowhammer, especially.

        I just want to mention about Littleman's list that his suggestion of Melina's in Northport is about a 2-1/2 hour drive from Auburn. Northport = western part of Alabama (close to Tuscaloosa). Auburn = eastern part of Alabama.

        Also, Christopher's is technically in Dadeville, on the lake, but not 10 miles away. From the center of Auburn, it's about a 25 minute drive, I think.

        Now, if you are in the mood for a bit of a drive to visit the lake while you're in Auburn, you may want to consider Spring House (it's more like a 45 minute drive) in Alex City. The 'culinary advisor' there is Chris Hastings from Hot & Hot in Birmingham.

        Chris has been a James Beard semi-finalist for best chef in the South and has numerous other honors. He loves to tout local-local-local in his cooking and you can see by his menu that he incorporates these into many traditional Southern dishes:

        ...but just to point out again, he was a, or the, major developer in the menu but it's terribly unlikely he will be there preparing your food. In any case, that *is* a lovely menu, and a restaurant that a group of my friends and I have been discussing 'checking out' for a while now...I'm thinking the Sunday Gospel brunch might be a lot of fun especially.

        Have a wonderful time in Auburn! I'd love to hear what your experiences were once you return.

        1. re: deepfriedkudzu

          Thanks Kudzu. You are very observant. I don't know how I posted that restaurant in Northport. Must have had something else on my mind. Thanks for the heads up on Spring House. Nice looking place.

          1. re: Littleman

            In Opelika (10 minute drive from Auburn), Cafe 123 is delicious
            while in Opelika, walk down to Eighth and Rail. It's a small music bar and dessert bar.

            1. re: greentomato

              We will be down there next week for War Eagle Day- rising HS senior- where would you recommend for dinner for us- not too nice but a fun place that is good-

              1. re: hlsess

                This is a fun place if you like fresh oysters/seafood, nice bar, entertainment, etc. The menu includes appetizers, salads, great sandwiches and nice entrees as well. Should fix you up.

                Auburn Oyster Bar and Grill @ 1100 South College St., Auburn, AL 334 - 502 - 2491.


                1. re: Littleman

                  thanks- do you think they are still getting seafood though with the oil spill etc???

                  1. re: hlsess

                    Yes. They will get seafood from further east in FL such as Apalachicola or further west of NOLA such as Houston.................The supplies have not been lowered. Just the location.

                    1. re: Littleman

                      glad to hear that!! will try the oyster bar

      2. Thanks everybody! All this is great info.

        One addendum- any good asian? Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese (but especially chinese and thai)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheesemonger

          The Asian food in Auburn itself is miserable, but if you drive about 45 minutes west you can find real Korean food in West Point GA. A lot of Koreans have moved there for the Kia plant. I recommend Korean BBQ (in the old Pizza Hut building). I've had mixed results at the Korean place in Opelika. For Vietnamese, you'll have to go to Columbus Ga, about 1/2 hour away.

          While you're driving, check out Ham and High in Montgomery (again, about 45 minutes):

          Slow food, local ingredients. The place is wonderful.

        2. Update/Review:
          Went to India Garden with a group of 7- we ordered: Veg pakora (quite good, much better than the usual plain fried bits I usually see), chicken naan (oddly bland), garlic naan (wonderful flavor and texture), Lamb Mazdaar (good , but I didn't get any cashew-ness), Chicken Tikka Masala (good flavor, wanted more heat), Saag Paneer (always love this), Goat Curry (the table's favorite), The Bhendi Masala (my favorite), Chicken Mango (didn't try, but heard raves).

          A adjacent table of friends got the lamb kabob (and other things I can't recall), and it came out sizzling, and was deemed very good.

          A strong recommendation, and will likely return.

          1. I appreciate the suggestions by everyone. I just moved here for grad school and look forward to trying them out. However, I was wondering if there were any suggestions for breakfast. Like a good local diner or something. I have seen all of the ihops and waffle houses, but wondered if there was anywhere else that just served a good breakfast (eggs potatoes bacon). Thanks

            10 Replies
            1. re: walterc

              Auburn must be the only college town in America without a good breakfast and country food restaurant. They need one like this.

              1. re: Littleman

                so that means there isn't anywhere to get breakfast here i'm assuming..?

                1. re: walterc

                  Best in Town.............

                  Crepe Myrtle Cafe @ 1192 Donahue Drive, Auburn, AL 334 - 821 - 7929.

                  1. re: Littleman

                    Littleman, have you been to Crepe Myrtle Cafe?

                    I have to admit, I haven't been here (I'm usually in Auburn for lunch) but I do know that there is a Big Blue Bagel right on College St. and they serve breakfast.

                    Wish I could help you more.

                    1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                      A friend of mine that travels AL told me about Crepe Myrtle. It's not your regular greasy spoon he said. It's more upscale and healthy than the southern diners I usually go to are.

                      Big Blue does not have a website. Do they have a diner type breakfast or healthy food like we should get anyway.

                  2. re: walterc

                    Sadly there aren't many great places in Auburn for breakfast. I lived there 4 years, though, and here's what I would suggest: Big Blue Bagel right on College Street in downtown (which I now see someone else mentioned). It's not just for bagels. Good cheese grits, bacon, omelets, etc...T Not the best bagels in the world, but its a fun place with good atmosphere and a hearty Southern style breakfast. You can also get breakfast at the Barbecue House right on college--I've never eaten breakfast there, but plenty of my friends liked going. Also, Amsterdam Cafe has a Sunday brunch which I hear is pretty amazing. Wow, now that I'm actually thinking about it I'm kind of sad for Auburn, there really is a shortage of strong breakfast places. Auburn needs a Big Bag Breakfast like in Oxford, MS.

                    Barbecue House
                    345 S College St, Auburn, AL 36830

                    1. re: walterc

                      I hope you're still checking this - sorry I didn't post sooner, but a lot of the college kids and locals swear by BBQ House breakfast, they aren't always open for breakfast, but I definitely think they're worth trying out!

                      I also recommend Daylight Donuts- I'm pretty sure its a chain but I really love it!

                      OH and you MUST go to SnoBiz on S. College in front of Winn-Dixie! (NOT the one on Glenn in front of that Winn-Dixie) It's not breakfast food, or really any kind of food but I L.O.V.E. it!! Absolutely the BEST shaved ice - I recommend a small tigers blood with cream (around $2 - a great value). They can get a little sweet if you eat too much though!

                      I hope it was helpful!!

                  3. re: walterc

                    walterc -- welcome to Auburn. As people have pointed out, we are a bit short on breakfast places, but I would recommend Sara Jay's in Opelika. Really good omelets and pancakes and southern sides. The bacon, though, is a bit disappointing. I see that a place called Auburn Diner is opening in the old Ruby Tuesday's on Opelika rd. Maybe it'll fill that need.

                    But what I can't recommend strongly enough is D-squared donuts. I've never tasked donuts so good in my life. Get there immediately.

                    Has anyone had the gyros at Calypso's? Not bad -- they seem to put some actual thought into the meat, pita and tzatziki sauce. I hope it takes them a long time to figure out that they can make more money by putting out crappier food to people who don't care.

                    1. re: robert k

                      Littleman, the only site I can find for BBB is on Facebook, here:

                      Then I realized that they have an outpost in B'ham, which I've actually been to, and did not enjoy their bagels *at all* - like a big bready roll with a hole in the middle. I don't think they've ever been boiled.

                      They didn't have that great surface crunch that bagels get from being boiled.

                      Walterc, not sure what to tell you now about Big Blue. It may depend on how much of a bagel snob you are (or not). Robert K had some other good suggestions, though.

                      Robert K, I've not been to Calypso's (yet) but will on my next visit to Auburn - thanks for the idea. D-squared, too.

                      It's definitely lemonade-at-Toomer's weather.

                      1. re: deepfriedkudzu

               surprised me there are so few places in Auburn for breakfast. I made a quick search of the SEC schools in the South in Athens, Baton Rouge, Oxford, Starkville, Knoxville, Nashville, Columbia, Gainesville, Fayetteville, Tuscaloosa and Lexington. Each of those cities with the college campus population has outstanding breakfast places.

                        Auburn might be a good opportunity for a diner.