Armed with their cafeteria-style trays, seersucker-suited appetites can choose from The Sugar Kettle Café's selection of hearty meats, casserole-style sides, cold salads, and other delectable comforts of southern home cooking. The menu, like the slowest county-fair ferris wheel ever, rotates daily. Monday might find food-seekers shaking off postweekend blues with baked ham with grilled pineapple, sautéed squash, and a marinated cucumber-and-tomato salad, and Wednesday honors Odin the All Father with a midweek bounty of fried chicken, stewed okra, and shoepeg corn casserole. Prices are standardized to avoid confusion: choose from options such as meat with one side ($6.95), meat with three sides ($9.50), or meat with no sides, balled into a floating sphere. A dessert, such as peach cobbler or bread pudding in whiskey sauce, will fill you with an authentic southern sweetness, though it will also render you more delicious to hungry swamp things ($3.25) .
As a boy, Richard Roush spent his summers cruising the waters of Bayou La Batre aboard his grandfather's shrimp boat, learning skills that would help him work his way through college. Later, he turned his sights inland, learning the restaurant trade and then opening his own oyster plant. He sold his seafood business in 2008 — retiring after 25 years — but was drawn back in by the chance to combine his twin loves of seafood and restauranteuring. The result is The Wacky Shrimp, a family-owned seafood restaurant in Daphne where cooks sizzle up steaming platters of the highest quality shrimp, oysters, and fish the Gulf Coast has to offer. Each meal comes cooked to order, ensuring that it's as fresh as possible when it arrives at your table. The Wacky Shrimp focuses on the family dining experience, catering to all budgets. For children there are Wacky Kids Meals, which include popcorn shrimp, chicken, fish, or grilled cheese.
When her Winslow’s Café was struggling to stay open, Mama Rosie Garza pulled out all the stops to save it. She and her team spiced up the menu with seafood and a wealth of enchiladas, burritos, and Mexican cuisine. When Harry P. Johnson inherited the restaurant, he honored Mama Rosie's memory by reopening the eatery as Rosie's Grill and preserving her diverse menu, which The Year of Alabama Food claims "could please any picky eater." Its items include yellow- and green-squash-filled tacos and open-faced honey-maple turkey-breast sandwiches that The Year of Alabama Food named one of its "100 dishes to eat before you die" or while drinking from the well of eternal life.
These life-changing dishes are on display during lunches, dinners, and brunches, which can be eaten inside the dining room or in a cozy courtyard with a brick floor and fireplace. At Rosie's Record Bar next door, guests can follow up their meals with live music most Thursdays and Fridays.
Daruma attracts hungry humans with authentic food, warm and lively ambience, and regular, live entertainment. Though Daruma's inventive chef waxes and wanes the menu every couple of lunar cycles, current favorites include teriyaki chicken ($11.95), and nabeyaki udon soup, a brothy noodle soup with shrimp and vegetable tempura ($11.95). Hibachi-style entrees (starting at $10.50 for dinner) sizzle into shape before diners' very eyes in an act that smelts culinary art with circus performance and a deep pore-steaming treatment. Chopstick champions can defeat an order of sushi as a starter or a side, such as the daphne roll, stuffed with crab meat, tuna, cream cheese, and tempura, and crowned with eel sauce, spicy mayo, and tempura crunch ($10.95). Call to reserve a table or to inquire about upcoming karaoke nights, scheduled music, or comedy performances.
The terms “coward” and “brave” are neither insults nor compliments at Bangkok Place Thai Restaurant; rather, they signify the level of spiciness a customer can handle. Chef Keo Phannavong and his wife Ann helm the casual eatery, where Keo brings 20 years of experience—and a slew of his mother’s recipes—to the kitchen. Using fresh ingredients, such as basil leaves, lemon grass, coconut milk, and chili, the master chef concocts a wide range of authentic Thai dishes that pack as little or as much spice as the patron desires or can trick his date into eating. The restaurant offers familiar Thai favorites, such as pad thai and tom yum soup, as well as some more obscure entrees, such as pla jien—a steamed fish topped with ginger and baby corn.
Inside Papa’s Place, chefs gingerly place marsala-peppered filet mignon and 12-ounce rib eye atop plates, proudly aware that their creative preparations helped earn them a second place nod for Best Steak in the Lagniappe's 2011 reader awards. Slabs of steak aren’t the only things they can toot their horns about: fresh pastas burst with Italian cheeses and oven-roasted vegetables, and succulent cuts of veal, chicken, and seafood soak up flavorful house sauces. Servers escort these hearty Italian staples throughout the BYOB eatery, including a back dining room that hosts private parties for birthdays, wedding showers, and rehearsal dinners for the real dinner.
Named for its Lower Alabama locale, L.A. Subs serves a menu of traditional Southern fare and heaping sub sandwiches. The Hollywood club ($5.69–$7.39), the shop's top seller, piles up smoked turkey, honey ham, bacon, and provolone, and the large California Dreaming sub ($7.39) comes stuffed with turkey, lean bacon, mozzarella, and guacamole. After tasting the Fish Fry Snack ($4.99), with fried fish, fries, and hush puppies, or breakfast eats such as the fish and grits ($5.99) or the classic cheese omelet ($3.99), tone-deaf taste buds find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics. Stomachs with more specific cravings can opt for two shrimp poboys, presenting fried Gulf shrimp and homemade tartar or cocktail sauce on a toasted french roll.