For the third stop on our tour, we drove on to Phenix City and found a restaurant in a very unusual place. Ed’s is a meat-and-three cafeteria surrounded by old warehouses and storage units, body shops and a marine place that sells and repairs speedboats. A building nearby has a long-broken vending machine out front that once dispensed live bait. I wouldn’t have guessed that such a good restaurant would set up in an industrial zone like this.
Ed Simmons opened his place in 2002 and moved to this site six years later. He has some barbecue sauce in his blood; his father, the late Ed Peter Mack, had owned a popular local place called L & M Bar-B-Q that the locals still remember fondly. Ed’s place offers a variety of different barbecue options along with a rotation of various meats like fried chicken or meat loaf and a big selection of vegetables. Marie was just planning to get a slice of cake here, but the lima beans looked so good that she had a small bowl of those as well.
I appreciated the way the menu specified what cut of pork was available. I ordered the Boston butt with mac and cheese and okra, and thought everything was really good. The pork is chopped and simmers in the house sauce, which is a very curious and very tasty bright orange sauce with mustard, vinegar, and tomato. Yes, I might have preferred the meat dry, but I enjoyed my meal completely. The okra was really delicious.
Apart from the lima beans, Marie really enjoyed her slice of key lime cake. Our son was also taken with the dessert selection. He’d have reached up to help himself to another slice of cake, or ten, if we’d have let him.
I needed some exercise after two “sample-sized” stops and my plate at Ed’s, so we drove across the river, parked in the Convention and Trade Center deck – they used to call it the Iron Works, but I guess they figured that was too distinctive and interesting or something – and enjoyed the River Walk for an hour. We have a nostalgic love for this place; back in the fall of 2010, an hour walking here just wiped out Marie, which was quite unusual. She’s much more active than me and in far better shape. Turned out that exhaustion was her body’s way of letting her know that she was pregnant with our son. We enjoy sharing that memory with our boy, who’s still a little unsure about what that all means. Anyway, the River Walk is terrific, with lots of people, lots of boats, and lots of opportunities to spot turtles and fish in the Chattahoochee. If you’d like to do a barbecue tour of Columbus and Phenix City, you should walk here as well!
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!