The Brick Pit’s owner, Bill Armbrecht, firmly believes that great barbecue can't be rushed. Open the red doors of his massive smoker—"Big Red"— and you’ll uncover juicy slabs of ribs, chicken, and pork that have been roasting anywhere from 6 to 30 hours. Bill coats each cut of meat in his legendary spicy barbecue sauce, which was lauded by reporters from Southern Living and relished by Adam Richman on Man v. Food. For a sweet finish, Bill and his chefs whip up housemade banana pudding each day from scratch.
After ordering barbecue platters from the back window, guests retreat into the lively dining room. The walls are decorated in the doodles, praise, and thesis papers of the hundreds of guests who've passed through the restaurant's doors along with framed awards and glowing news articles.
As a feature on Local 15 shows, longtime Mobile residents can fondly remember warm summer nights in the 1950s, when they’d cruise the parking lot of Ossie’s Bar-B-Que with their sweethearts, singing along to the radio and sharing milkshakes. Cheerful carhops would dart about the parking lot, toting baskets of fresh fries and tangy barbecue-pork sandwiches straight to car windows. Though Ossie’s closed its doors in 1984, loyal patrons never forgot the legendary barbecue joint where they received first kisses, proposed to their wives, and spent many a Friday night.
It was the owner’s son—Rudy Boutwell—and his son-in-law—Chip Deupree—who came up with the idea to reopen the popular eatery more than 30 years later. The duo unearthed a handwritten copy of Rudy’s father’s famous barbecue sauce and fired up the grills in the restaurant’s original location. Today, cooks continue to whip up the beloved barbecue plates, chic-loin sandwiches, and hand-battered onion rings that made the original location a local favorite. The skilled cooks use Chip’s mother’s recipe to craft the creamy potato salad that was lauded by reporters from Mobile Bay magazine. Succulent barbecue sandwiches get devoured within the booths that line the lively dining room; elsewhere, drive-thru service facilitates a quick snack within the comfort of a car or atop a small pony dressed up to look like a car.
In 1958, spirits were high in Tuscaloosa as Paul “Bear” Bryant began his long career as coach of the Crimson Tide football team and John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened up the first Dreamland Café just south of town. Bishop was a brick mason by trade and began selling simple meals of grilled barbecue pork ribs with his wife, Miss Lilly, as a way to get a little extra cash. Little did the Bishops know that their bustling barbecue shack off of Highway 82 would blossom into 8 locations. A bona fide southern institution, the Café is famous for its tangy secret barbecue sauce, meaty slabs of slow-cooked ribs, and creamy, ambrosial banana pudding. Today, the slightly larger menu satisfies cravings for old-school Alabama barbecue recipes with pulled pork, hickory-grilled chicken, baked beans, and coleslaw.
Living up to the Café's motto—“Ain't Nothing Like 'Em Nowhere"—Dreamland's famous ribs are a cultural touchstone of the state of Alabama, like a haunting Hank Williams tune. At each location, a friendly, country-style hospitality shines forth in every door held open, earning the loyal patronage of families and local fans, as well as a raft of visiting celebrities and elected officials.
Whipping up hearty, generous portions for more than 35 years, the Hickory Pit Too offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for patrons in need of tummy TLC. Noontime and moontime noshers can opt for hearty comfort fare such as burgers and sandwiches ($2.49+), fried chicken ($5.49+) and lip smacking barbeque platters ($8.95+), while earlier risers can fill bellies with omelets ($3.99+), pancakes ($3.25+) and homemade biscuits with sausage gravy ($4.75) from the morning menu.