In 1938, J. Oliver Wintzell opened a tiny seafood joint on Dauphin Street in historic Mobile, Alabama. With room for just six customers to hop up on barstools and sample oysters prepared in three signature styles—“fried, stewed, or nude"—the eatery harbored modest ambitions and kept itself in check with walls strewn with Oliver’s homespun sayings. Oysters this great can’t remain a secret for long, though, and Wintzell’s Oyster House began to grow at such a rate that Oliver was compelled to expand to new locations throughout Alabama.
Despite the restaurant’s rapid growth, remarkably little has changed since those early days. Oliver’s wit and wisdom still covers the walls, and the menu still tempts with its stuffed crabs, USDA-certified steaks, and signature oysters. In keeping with the cozy atmosphere Oliver cultivated by necessity more than 70 years ago, shuckers stationed at the oyster bar chat with diners as they garnish half shells with hickory-smoked bacon and slap away the tentacles of sneaky krakens. Tom Bross of Delta Sky Magazine has some helpful words of advice for first-time visitors to the restaurant: "Let the Southern hospitality, laid-back tempo and maybe a cold one help you unwind."
The chefs at West End Grill designed their menus to suit the tastes of late-night eaters, express lunchers, and dinner guests looking for classic American food. Dishes range from bacon-wrapped meatloaf and country-fried chicken and gravy to health-conscious steamed-vegetable plates and salads, which are served in bowls, wrapped in spinach tortillas, or hidden inside the pockets of a student's tofu backpack. Sunday brunches find diners tucking into hearty morning meals of crab cakes benedict, shrimp and grits, and Cajun sausage omelets. The staff even swaps in bison meat for beef in burgers and entrees, which gives guests healthier options.
Amid Mei Wei Asian Bistro's varnished hardwood furnishings and potted greenery, colorful dishes celebrate culinary traditions from across China and Southeast Asia. Fresh salads, saucy noodle dishes, and flavorful rice plates come alive with the tastes of thai peppers and curries, and like an auto-tuned reading of the Spring and Autumn Annals, the tempting bill of fare culminates with modern takes on Asian classics, such as crispy lettuce chicken wraps. Guests lay down a tasty base for most meals with their choice of chicken, beef, tofu, or shrimp, and then chefs fill out dishes with fresh veggies and rich seasonings and sauces
With a primo outdoor patio, an elegantly decorated interior, and a full-service bar, El Olmeca Mexican Cantina is a year-round destination for savory, spicy Mexican food and drinks. Classic dishes such as pollo Vallarta—chicken breast smothered in cheese and pineapple—and seafood fajitas, which combine shrimp and scallops with one king shrimp. Especially hungry customers or lions wearing trench coats can attempt to conquer the Burrito Macho XXL, a behemoth concoction of steak or chicken, beans, veggies, and dipping salsas.
To craft the Momma's Love sandwich, the chefs at Momma Goldberg's Deli begin with a freshly steamed hoagie bun. They layer on slices of roast beef, ham, hickory-smoked turkey, and muenster cheese before topping the tower off with spicy brown mustard and Momma's sauce. In addition to offering a variety of other hearty hot and cold sandwiches, which can be served beside soup or salad, the chefs extend their culinary expertise toward the deli's specialty nachos?crispy Doritos showered in creamy pepper jack cheese.
At Club Forty7 Bar & Grill, chefs whip up savory feasts of Southern cuisine, from barbecue ribs and pulled pork to fluffy hush puppies, while patrons party, mingle, and make new friends. Guests sip cocktails and dance to live blues, R&B, and soul music in the nightclub, or relax with family and friends over burgers and fried catfish in the smoke-free, alcohol-free lounge.