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.
The scent of hand-battered pickles and catfish fillets frying in oil wafts along the river to lure boaters cruising under the Dog River Bridge straight to the docks of The River Shack Restaurant and Oyster Bar. The restaurant's outdoor deck opens to views of sailboat races and fishermen, while diners split raw oysters and shrimp po' boy sandwiches—highlighted as signature items in a sparkling 2010 al.com review from the Well-Fed Reporter. Fresh from the kitchen, servers tote dry-aged prime steaks and juicy cheeseburgers with sides of fried okra through rows of wooden tables. Large windows flood the dining room with light on sunny days and allow cool breezes to blow in off of the water. The interior takes the name "River Shack" to heart with plain wooden walls and sturdy rafters decorated with a variety of nautical objects. Fishing rods hang above doorways, nets and cages dangle from columns, and an old fishing boat can be found nestled in the rafters for weekly reenactments of The Old Man and the Sea. Guests can complement their meal with glasses of beer from the bar and live music scheduled every Sunday.
At Blind Mule, cooks infuse the flavors of the South into their casual menu of burgers and bar fare. They infuse extra smokiness into Cajun classics such as shrimp and grits and red beans and rice with the addition of Conecuh sausage, and they jazz up sandwiches with flavorful flourishes such as blackening spice and house-made sauces. A sudsy selection of domestic, imported, and intergalactic brews is also available to temper the spiciness of their Southern specialties.
Blind Mule also boasts an upstairs stage that hosts live blues, folk, and fusion melodies on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. As guests' toes tap, they can bask in the eye-catching splendor of the venue's vintage music memorabilia and local art, which Mobile Bay magazine described in its list of great destinations for a night on the town.
Cream & Sugar Cafe, which was voted as Lagniappe's best coffeehouse for the 2013 Nappie Awards, might give off the impression of just being a quaint little house from the outside, but on the inside, its a whole different story. Chefs specialize in gourmet cafe fare, such as the crabmeat and goat cheese quiche on a pecan crust or the house's seafood gumbo poured over a plate of grits. To complement these entrees, they prepare drinks with the house's manual Italian espresso machine and create unique delicacies such as their signature cake balls. They make these bite-size delicacies in numerous flavors, and even incorporate liquor for spiked sweets perfect for any adult party. The decor is bright and retro, with a rustic wood plank and marble bar, chalkboards scribbled on with colorful chalk, and vintage pastry display cases.
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.