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.
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.
Plucking their name from the American Indian nickname for the Cahaba River’s swampy banks, Mudtown’s owners and staff strive to embody their neighborhood, serving a menu of dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced seafood, meat, and produce. In their intimate dining room, they cloak tables with hearty portions of new york strip steak with bacon mashed potatoes, grilled mahi mahi with fried green tomatoes, and Cajun po' boys with shrimp or catfish. Their bartenders liven up the southern-inspired American cuisine by shaking signature cocktails, such as their lemon-lime-drop martini, into glasses and pocket protectors. The staff also delivers meals through a catering service for special events such as corporate lunches and birthday parties.
At each Tropical Smoothie Cafe location, healthy choices abound with drinks consisting of fresh fruit and snacks loaded with veggies and premium meats and cheeses. The caf??s colorful repertoire of smoothies runs the gamut from creamy, dessert-based indulgent creations to light and refreshing low-fat fruit options or frosty drinks boosted with supplements. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches mingle with exotic a?a? and goji berries to form mouthwatering concoctions designed to deliver health-boosting antioxidants, essential nutrients and laser-vision-inducing vitamins. Drinks pair with ciabatta and griddled flatbread during breakfast and lunch, as well as with made-to-order salads and a host of wraps and sandwiches.
When Mudtown Eat and Drink owner Dave Horn returned to Birmingham after a stint in Atlanta, he remarked to Bob Carlton of the Birmingham News that there was no place "where you can just get a burger." He decided to build exactly what he sought: The Ridge Eat & Drink, a casual, neighborhood eatery that serves classic pub fare such as 100% Hereford beef burgers and upscale dishes ranging from steaks to seafood. The menu’s Asian and southern influences emanate from starters such as grilled tuna tataki and fried green tomatoes. To make diners comfortable, the pub greets them with drink specials, flat-screen TVs, and daily dares scrawled on a chalkboard above the dark-wood bar.
Naji’s Pita Gourmet stocks and cooks Middle Eastern foods of all kinds in their combination bakery, grocery store, and restaurant. The bakery is populated by warm and soft preservative-free pita bread, which bakers ship all across the country or turn into crunchy pita chips. In the restaurant, that same pita cradles tender slices of shawarma and gyro meat, dives into plates of hummus, and wraps up crunchy falafel. Patrons can try to mimic Naji’s fare at home after a stop at the grocery store to pick up olives, grape leaves, spice bends, and cardboard cut-outs of the cooks.