Ed’s Bar-B-Que & Country Cooking, Phenix City AL

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. Continue reading “Ed’s Bar-B-Que & Country Cooking, Phenix City AL”

Byron’s Smokehouse, Auburn AL

When we visited Auburn in 2014, one question that jumped out as we planned the trip was which of the two well-known barbecue places we would visit. We went with Price’s, in part because of its terrific campus-friendly location, which, in the end, doomed the restaurant as developers bulldoze everything within walking distance of the classroom buildings in favor of mixed-use places. Price’s closed for the final time about a week after our visit, which is a real shame. Continue reading “Byron’s Smokehouse, Auburn AL”

Sneaky Pete’s, Moody AL

The detour to Amory really was a big one. Even outside the time spent at the two restaurants, it added more than an hour to the drive, as we rolled lazily along US-278 through the small Alabama towns of Sulligent and Guin before rejoining I-22. The connection between I-22 and I-65 is still not quite complete, but it felt like they have done some work repaving those streets that connect the two – Coalburg and Daniel Payne – because I certainly remembered those roads being very, very well traveled and *full* of potholes, but they’re not bad now. Continue reading “Sneaky Pete’s, Moody AL”

Staggs Grocery, Florence AL

In May, we all set off on a four-day trip to Memphis, where Marie’s sister was graduating from college. I’d been planning and charting and getting ideas together for weeks, and decided that we’d take a slight detour by going north across Alabama instead of fighting the rush hour traffic into and around Atlanta to use the interstates. That route, through Birmingham and Tupelo, is the most direct, but taking GA-140 to Huntsville and using US-72 ALT took us back to the Shoals, which is probably my favorite region of Alabama.

Going this way allowed us to revisit the beautiful city of Florence, which I love, and stop by Staggs, an old, former grocery store that now sells breakfast and burgers. I wish I had paid attention and visited this great little place the last time we were here! Continue reading “Staggs Grocery, Florence AL”

Big Cove BB-Q, Owens Cross Roads AL

Back in 2009, a restaurant with a wonderful exterior took first place in one of those many readers’ polls about the best barbecue here and there. This one was run by The Huntsville Times / al.com for the best in northeast Alabama, and I wondered whether we’d ever make our way here. Since then, I’ve seen Big Cove written up at many blogs (see below) and have very much wanted to try their hot sauce. Continue reading “Big Cove BB-Q, Owens Cross Roads AL”

Hildegard’s German Cuisine, Huntsville AL

(I didn’t eat anything at the fifth restaurant on our day trip, thinking, correctly, that Marie would really enjoy this one. It’s one of at least four German restaurants in the Rocket City, and the one that our friend Helen recommends as the best in town.)

Every so often you chance on something that reminds you just perfectly of something in your childhood. If you’re lucky, it’s a good thing, and the genuine pleasure of enjoying it along with the memories of past encounters layer on each other for a really wonderful experience. In this case, it was the red cabbage at Hildegard’s German Cuisine. Continue reading “Hildegard’s German Cuisine, Huntsville AL”