An extensive menu of fresh and comforting treats takes shape in Jefferson’s laid-back interior, where friendly servers warm up crowds with starters such as fried dill pickles ($3.00/$5.75), corn nuggets ($6.50), and Ultimate fries, smothered with three types of cheeses, Cajun seasoning, and a layer of crispy bacon ($6.95). Spice up a slow workday or a slow-moving fasting day with an order of Jefferson's fully customizable wings ($6.95 for 10), or nosh on a fried oyster po' boy, a hearty hoagie stuffed with fresh gulf oysters that are battered and fried until golden brown ($7.95). Other seafaring portions include fried catfish ($7.50), a spicy shrimp basket ($8.25), and a melodious band of fish 'n' chips fronted by soulful slaw and backed by harmonious hush puppies ($7.95). Customers craving candied confections can find fulfillment in slices of creamy peanut butter or pecan pie ($2.95 each).
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."
For some people, the colors of red, green, and white evoke Christmastime. For regulars of Anaheim Chili, though, they just mean lunch. The red, green, and white chilies are but 3 of 10 different kinds on the menu, which lists each stew's baseball-card-like stats: base, spice, garnishes, and heat. The bases range from the home-style chili's ground beef and kidney beans to the pesole's dark-meat chicken and hominy. Toppings may include onion, cilantro, and sour cream. The large selection begs for mixing and matching—thankfully, you can order a triple cup meal and dip your spoon into three different kinds of chili during a single meal.
Balancing out the restaurant's specialty bowls is a host of appetizers and burgers, as well as baked or fried chicken wings. Mindful of its obsession with heat, the menu features a seasonal watermelon salad, whose mixture of fruit and mint counteracts fiery bites better than chili served a la mode. Draft and bottled beers also cool down taste buds with sips of Blue Pants Brewery and Straight to Ale.
The staff at Dinner by Design strips mealtime of its time-consuming components by shopping, chopping, and cleaning up for you. When visitors arrive at the kitchen for a session scheduled online, they find all the fixings for fresh, healthy meals already sliced, diced, and awaiting further preparation. After donning an apron and glancing at recipe cards, customers pile the quality ingredients into complimentary containers as they chat with fellow chefs to distract them while they steal their spatula. After patrons put the finishing touches on their chosen number of entrees, each portioned to accommodate individuals or families of varied sizes, they load them into a basket or cooler from home and stow them in their freezer. Meals can later be warmed in the oven according to included instructions, which usually indicate a cooking time of about 30 minutes. For eaters in a hurry, the staff keeps a Take and Bake freezer stocked with entrees, sides, and desserts ready for pickup, or delivers them directly to dinner tables.
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