The Patrick family first dabbled in wine-making on their 24-acre estate back in 2001, when only one other vineyard operated in Shelby County. After a few seasons of practice and success, they decided to officially dedicate a portion of their land to cultivating grapes, and formally established Ozan Vineyard & Cellars in 2005. In 2013, they expanded with additional vineyard viewing areas, event space, and a winery boutique.
Using a combination of grapes grown on their own land and sourced from the East Coast, Ozan currently produces a series of varietals, including riesling, chardonnay, Chilton County peach, Norton red, and cabernet sauvignon. Conceived of traditional winemaking methods in small lots of French and American barrels, the vinos develop multifaceted flavors and complexity before being poured in Ozan?s tasting room or into glasses on the picturesque outdoor patio.
Since 1950, the family-owned Whataburger chain has served up its iconic burgers and fresh, made-to-order meals with a commitment to excellent customer service. In addition to lunch and dinner, the North Central Alabama-area restaurants' 24/7 hours and fully fledged breakfast menu have made them popular destinations for early morning and late-night dining.
Besides the classic Whataburger, the modern menu includes options such as the jalapeno and cheese Whataburger, the Whatachick'n sandwich, and the Whataburger Jr., which is a regular Whataburger that doesn't know how to tie a tie. The breakfast selections remain rooted in hearty tradition, with crispy chicken strips covered with honey butter and served atop biscuits. Additionally, signature Taquitos are warm tortillas stuffed with ingredients such as scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, guacamole, and grilled vegetables.
Set on sprawling farmland, Vizzini Farms Winery bottles a diverse selection of wine crafted from West Coast and Alabama vinifera grapes. Daily tours sneak groups behind the scenes of the second-generation Italian family?s winemaking process, which yields riesling piqued with tropical fruits and pinot grigio that's as lively as a 30-piece kazoo orchestra. A charming tasting room recalls a sunny Italian caf?, with warm yellow walls, racks of wine, and bistro tables ideal for gathering over a bite of deli fare and Italian-style desserts. On warm days, the spacious patio is open for enjoyment, providing views of surrounding vineyards and breezes with notes of black currant, citrus, and oxygen.
Bernie’s on Main Street’s exposed brick and brushed concrete façade belies the cozy leather banquettes and flickering candles within, where founder and executive chef Bernard Tamburello helms a menu of Southern and Italian cuisine. Blackened catfish from nearby farms joins crab-stuffed steak, fried green tomatoes, and chicken pontchartrain, as well as pasta carbonara. Bernie’s also whips up kid-friendly bites of pizza and grilled cheese, served on special placemats emblazoned with word searches and mathematical proofs.
Christine Boatwright of Shelby Living Magazine wrote a piece detailing the operations of self-taught baker and Wooden Spoon Bakery owner Leslie Arnold and how she specializes in surprising scone flavors?pear and fresh ginger, apricot white chocolate, and salted caramel, to name a few?but also loves one special, more familiar flavor. Her red-velvet cake, a hand-me-down recipe from her husband?s grandmother, is a popular classic: a light chocolate cake colored a vibrant red and sprinkled with icing and walnuts. As she told the magazine, ?I?m proud to say it?s the only recipe I have not tinkered with because it?s perfect the way it is.? Still, Arnold keeps a constantly rotating menu of flavors and offerings at Wooden Spoon Bakery, baking bacon-cheese biscuits, strawberry coffee cake, and blueberry-and-cream muffins one week and specialty brownie cakes the next.
Fred's Small Time Bar-B-Q fills its charmingly diminutive storefront with charcoal and wood-smoked meats flavored with a special-recipe rub. Texas toast envelops chicken and pork sandwiches, and sides such as housemade fried okra and sweet-potato cobbler are served with plates of ribs and brisket. Patrons can place their orders at a walk-up window before settling down at an outdoor table or whisk their entrees away to eat at home or in a vacationing neighbor's dining room.