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).
Named the runner-up for best sandwich shop in the Tennessee Valley by CityVoter, Happy Tummy caters to eclectic eaters with a constantly evolving menu of distinctive gastronomic goodies. Inspire fellow diners with impassioned expositions on Central American–scombridae suffrage in between bites of Don't Cry for Me Argen-Tuna, a politically palatable amalgamation of tuna salad, apples, walnuts, celery, craisins, and mayonnaise on a croissant ($5). Alternately, the Popeye Loves Olive Oyl sandwich appeases taste buds and fans of spring-loaded oculars with creamed spinach, sautéed onions, mushrooms, artichokes, and swiss cheese ($5). The menu also boasts meat-free options such as the jerk tofu wrap, consisting of Jamaican jerk-spiced tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions ($5), or the jumbo veggie dog ($4).
Inside The Apollo Cafe's kitchen, chefs synthesize local produce and meats into lunch, brunch, and dinner menus of Southern-inspired comfort cuisine. Take a seat in the noontime sun to savor a battered and fried monte cristo sandwich ($7.95), pairing gouda, ham, and turkey with fruit compote to blur the boundary between sweet and savory and between waffles and Thanksgiving. Goat cheese and pears complement mixed greens and a house-made basil vinaigrette in The Apollo salad ($6.95). During dinner, cooks daub the honey-glazed pork chop ($12.95) with brandy cream sauce and surround it with brussels sprouts and smashed potatoes to keep feral steak knives at bay. Golden fried carrots, a creamy grit cake, and sautéed spinach accompany seared mahi mahi ($14.95) fillets on fantastic voyages to explore the inside of the human stomach.
Although ingredients from nearby growers and paintings from local artists send a clear message about Brix, the restaurant's scope is by no means limited to Alabama. Simply stepping into the garden room is like hopping over the Atlantic and jumping through the window of an Italian house. Exposed stone, a decorative balcony, and walls that seem to crumble with antiquity trick the mind into believing that the chicken scallopini's capers and tomatoes were plucked fresh from the Florentine countryside.
No matter what region inspires the chef's ever-rotating menu—Europe, the deep south, New England, anywhere in between—one thing each dish at Brix has in common is the ability to spark conversation. Whether discussing what Californian wines would pair best with the pork tenderloin, or complementing a shareable small plate with talk of long division, diners relish an atmosphere that entices all kinds. Fans of art admire the photographs and paintings in the foyer, fans of football cheer on local teams on the bar area's big-screen TVs, and fans of fresh air can rest amid the peace of the patio.
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.
801 Franklin celebrates local artisanal foods and elevated techniques—two factors which garnished the restaurant the award of 2010's Best Fine Dining restaurant in Valley Planet magazine. Small plates grace tables with miniature silverware meant for devouring braised beef short rib with creamy polenta, haricot verts, and port onion jam ($17) as well as the apple-braised pork tenderloin with squash bread pudding and sweet onion marmalade ($12). Entrees throw taste buds into the deep end of the flavor well with the Ashley Farms free-range chicken, which chefs pan sear and accessorize with parmesan risotto, haricot verts, and a mushroom- and bacon-laden cream sauce ($25). No matter which plate gets the nod, all servers courteously inquire about diners’ dietary concerns to ensure that the chefs keep meats, wheats, and cheeses on the simmering sidelines whenever necessary.