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.
Pitmaster Paul "Big Daddy" Woodard won the the award for Best Ribs in the First Annual Alabama BBQ Cook-off and Festival in 2012, just like he won the Birmingham News's Best Ribs contest in 2008. But long before he started winning awards—long before he even opened his restaurant—Woodard was picking up fans around town with his succulent, flavorful grilled meats. That's because he shared his grilling expertise at family reunions, functions for the Woodland Park Church of Christ, and other events, and word began to spread.
The ribs at Big Daddy's Bar-B-Q might be locally famous, but there's much more on the eatery's menu worth tasting. Chopped barbecue chicken, fried catfish, and polish sausages also sizzle in the kitchen, and sides such as signature fried corn on the cob, homemade macaroni and cheese or freshly cooked collard greens round things out. A rotating list of from-scratch desserts tempt palates after main courses. Try a wedge of peanut-butter pie or a helping of banana pudding.
The town of Brookside owns Five Mile Creek Canoe & Company, which works from a philosophy that nature is a splendor to be shared by all people. Five Mile not only grants access to a bonanza of camping and canoeing activities—such as bench pressing a canoe—it gives patrons the opportunity to control their own adventures. The campground presents enough activity opportunities to keep patrons busy throughout the day, including a playground, a 2-mile walking track, and a swimming hole.
When patrons want to set out on watery expeditions, they carry their own boats down to the creek and steer their vessels from beginning to end. After pushing past the shallow waters, canoes paddlers can traverse up to 26 miles of gently flowing creek lined on either side by a row of trees. These leaf havens obscure guests from the curious eyes of civilization, chipmunks, and Bigfoot's cousin, Steve. Before they hit the water, helpful staff members can give demonstrations to those with little paddling experience. They can also organize group floats for social paddlers.
Whether amongst the cantina's chandeliers, the saloon's rustic surrounds, or the outdoor patio's crackling fire, guests at Fuego Cantina can savor a bevy of Mexican cuisine seven days a week?and until 2 a.m. on Monday through Saturday. Seasoned chefs cover hand-rolled enchiladas in house-made sauce, mix house-marinated meats into fajitas, and fill quesadillas with fixings such as grilled Portobello mushrooms and caramelized onions. Along with Mexican items, the inventive kitchen captains also smother half-pound hot dogs with relish and sauerkraut and top burgers with house-made chili and sharp cheddar cheese.
To wash down feasts, bartenders at Fuego Cantina's two bars keep 14 beers on tap and pour more than 30 wines by the glass. They also mix up specialty mojitos, margaritas, and martinis, such as the combined chocolate ganache and Godiva liqueur of the Death by Chocolate. In addition to tasty treats and drinks, Fuego Cantina enlivens evenings with karaoke on Tuesdays, pin-the-tail-on-the-cacti on Thursdays, and live music throughout the week.
When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal?it combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile?s beefy Rocket 88. The chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.
During dinners at the famous burger joints, you?ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers?dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they?ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.
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.