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 friendly staff at MaggieMoo's Huntsville churns dozens of creamy flavors fresh each day before enhancing frozen creations with inventive mix-ins and toppings. They power through shivers to fold nuts, candy, and fruit into ice cream varieties such as chocolate banana, and sprinkle sugary toppings over ice cream pizzas, one of MaggieMoo's signature creations. Aside from other avant-garde dessert offerings?which include ice cream cupcakes?the staff slings frozen favorites including cones, creamy milkshakes, and ice cream cakes.
Occasional appearances by Miss MaggieMoo, the business's iconic cow, delight customers. She also lends her services to fundraising efforts for local schools and charities.
The chefs at Mama's American Table take their motto of Something for Everyone to heart, preparing meals ranging from burgers and sandwiches to pasta, pizzas, and chicken enchiladas. Signature dishes include the Big Mama sandwich, a toasted ciabatta roll piled with thinly sliced ham and swiss cheese, and Big Mama's signature salad, with grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, strawberries, gorgonzola, and croutons. The staff also mans a full bar featuring a selection of 20 different beers on tap, about the same number of beers it takes to fill up The Incredible Hulk's beer stein. Mama's American Table does not disappoint dessert-hungry diners, either—warm plates of old-fashioned bread pudding topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream round out the food roster.
Gleaning her baking skills from her mother and grandmother, Gigi's Cupcakes' eponymous owner opened her first cupcake hub in 2008, drawing upon her entrepreneurial spirit and gift for crafting beautifully topped cupcakes. The franchised cupcakery now has 50 locations, each of which churns out 12 daily-rotating flavors that are made fresh every morning. The shop's selection of more than 40 flavors includes Canadian Maple, Southern Comfort, and Champagne—a bubbly-flavored base topped with an edible pearl. Patrons can pick out sweet treats from the daily selection or preorder them at least one day in advance online, by phone, or via singing telegram.
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.
In 1971, Glenn Watson opened Stanlieo’s Sub Villa to bring Boston-style subs down South, topping them with cubed onions, pickles, and tomatoes, as well as salt and pepper, oregano, and oil. More than four decades later, the Watson family is still running the casual eatery, but today, they pile their freshly baked buns high at two locations. Fried pickles, mushrooms, and green tomatoes accompany steak subs out of the kitchen, and sandwich-smiths load up vegetarian subs with one of four vegetarian soy meats, as opposed to the Hormel meats they use for their regular subs and sculptures of Teddy Roosevelt. For those up to the challenge, the staff stuffs their famous Kitchen Sink sub with genoa and cotta salami, ham, turkey, roast beef, capicola, and pepperoni, as well as swiss, american, and provolone cheese in order to burst belts.