Vittone’s slings dough by the disk and noodles by the nest to Decatur and Huntsville-area residents, serenading Alabamian taste buds with traditional Italian fare. Hone dairy origami skills with a gooey cheese calzone ($4.58) or exact ocular revenge on the moon with a lunar eye-hitting pizza pie, such as the Benzina, mounded with meaty pepperoni, italian sausage, bacon, ham, hamburger, and shredded cheeses ($8.03 for a small or $17.22 for a large). The eternally changing dessert menu silences the shrieks of banshee sweet teeth, and garlic breadsticks ($2.30) provide the perfect weaponry for pretend sword fights.
In 1890, the Cotaco Opera House hosted many of the country’s top, touring song-and-dance acts. Through the golden age of vaudeville and during its brief resurgence as a teen fad in 1978, the opera house reverberated with rollicking live performances.
Today, it's a riot of flavors that fills the brick building with guests. In 1996, Meg and Scott Curry adopted the historical venue with a mission to continue its spirit of creativity. The couple works together to dream up gala-worthy catered dinners and a lunch menu packed with fresh meat and produce. As head chef, Scott perfects the dishes, calling upon a lifetime of classic French culinary training and experience in kitchens throughout the United States, including Decatur Country Club and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Meanwhile, Meg draws on her love of travel to inform globally inspired dishes such as a muffaletta sandwich with olive relish and spring-roll salad with ginger vinaigrette.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Zen Beri's nonfat, low-fat, and no-sugar-added frozen yogurt—in flavors such as cheesecake, dark chocolate, and blueberry tart—brims with certified live active cultures. Its self-serve machines bestow gobs of these sweet treats, as well as dairy-free sorbets, on bowls. Guests can then heap on more than 50 toppings, such as candies, fruits, and nuts, to customize their dessert creations. Staff members also skillfully craft tempting sundaes, smoothies, and coffee drinks from Zen Beri's signature frozen-treats menu. They can also tightly pack quarts of take-home treats so that guests can indulge their sweet tooths during Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory marathons.
Gleaning her baking skills from her mother and grandmother, Gigi's Cupcakes' eponymous owner opened her first cupcake hub in 2008, drawing upon her entrepreneurial spirit and gift for crafting beautifully topped cupcakes. The franchised cupcakery now has 50 locations, each of which churns out 12 daily-rotating flavors that are made fresh every morning. The shop's selection of more than 40 flavors includes Canadian Maple, Southern Comfort, and Champagne—a bubbly-flavored base topped with an edible pearl. Patrons can pick out sweet treats from the daily selection or preorder them at least one day in advance online, by phone, or via singing telegram.
There’s no shortage of renowned oyster establishments in the South. But tripsmarter.com pegged Wintzell’s Oyster House as its No. 1 destination for the specialty.
“Fried, stewed, or nude”: the Oysters are served every way imaginable at Wintzell’s, where oysters are, unsurprisingly, the trademark dish. And they’ve been the trademark dish since the eatery’s flagship location opened in 1938. Regional seafood favorites also dominate the menu, from low-country boils to Cajun seafood fettuccine and bacon-wrapped shrimp.
Though the original location became something of a landmark in historic Mobile, the restaurant has since expanded to multiple locations perfect for catching oysters in the nude, served Rockefeller style, or wearing their favorite pajama pants. Still, each eatery retains the original’s decorative signature: several dozen whimsical signs on the walls. The website even features some of their slogans, including: “Never kick a man when he is down—he may get up.”