Chef Matthew Burmeister prepares contemporary southern cuisine, wooing palates with artfully plated Montana beef tenderloin with saut?ed asparagus and buttermilk mashed potatoes, shrimp served with parmesan grits and sweet corn, and homemade bread pudding souffles. Add a decadent touch to dessert with chef's speciality vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate whiskey sauce. Buttermilk Hill Restaurant and Bar inhabits a century-old Victorian frame house replete with turn-of-the-century decor and an outdoor marble patio, ideal for dining amid soft breezes or taunting nearby birds with food they will never taste. Indoors, patrons cozy up to a fireplace in a wood-floored, high-ceilinged space that draws out the cuisine's down-home allure.
The first Golden Rule Bar-B-Q and Grill?a roadside joint frequented by locals and travelers alike?served its first heaping plate of lovingly smoked barbecue in 1891. The restaurant has since adapted with the times, acquiring a car-repair garage, neon signs, and a hovercar dock, in addition to nearly a dozen saucy outposts across Alabama and Mississippi. Now the various locations serve slow-cooked, hickory-smoked meats served with a variety of secret-recipe sauces and sides such as collards or mac 'n' cheese. Guests can also forgo the sauce and order surf 'n' turf dishes such as a hand-cut charbroiled steak or a creole grilled fresh catfish fillet.
Since 1950, the family-owned Whataburger chain has served up its iconic burgers and fresh, made-to-order meals with a commitment to excellent customer service. In addition to lunch and dinner, the North Central Alabama-area restaurants' 24/7 hours and fully fledged breakfast menu have made them popular destinations for early morning and late-night dining.
Besides the classic Whataburger, the modern menu includes options such as the jalapeno and cheese Whataburger, the Whatachick'n sandwich, and the Whataburger Jr., which is a regular Whataburger that doesn't know how to tie a tie. The breakfast selections remain rooted in hearty tradition, with crispy chicken strips covered with honey butter and served atop biscuits. Additionally, signature Taquitos are warm tortillas stuffed with ingredients such as scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, guacamole, and grilled vegetables.
Richey's BBQ, a 35-year-old Southern staple, crafts downhome fare to order, piling ribs, steaks, pork, and fish atop plates mounded with savory sides. Instead of baiting a pork-chop trap with dollops of applesauce, guests can ensnare their choice of meat within formidably sized sandwiches, including the texas-toast pork sandwich ($4.99) and smoked-sausage sandwich ($5.99). Four bones ($10.99) or a half slab ($13.99) of Richey's ribs arrive in plain or basted versions to goad jaws into gnawing frenzies, and forks pilot their eager tines through such sides as fresh-cut fries, green beans, and daily vegetable specials. Flanked by a ration of tartar sauce, a pond-raised catfish ($9.99) shimmies into the fryer or creole seasonings before it charms patrons by reading aloud from Walden. Diners on the move can also pull up to Richey's BBQ's drive-thru to procure an enviable dashboard feast.
Busy Bee Burger serves sustainable succulence in juicy burgers made from organically raised Meyer Angus beef. Ingredients are locally sourced from a farm in Indian Springs before being mounded into single ($2.79) or double burgers ($3.89), slid onto fresh-baked buns, and adorned with sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sweet onions and special sauce.
Christine Boatwright of Shelby Living Magazine wrote a piece detailing the operations of self-taught baker and Wooden Spoon Bakery owner Leslie Arnold and how she specializes in surprising scone flavors?pear and fresh ginger, apricot white chocolate, and salted caramel, to name a few?but also loves one special, more familiar flavor. Her red-velvet cake, a hand-me-down recipe from her husband?s grandmother, is a popular classic: a light chocolate cake colored a vibrant red and sprinkled with icing and walnuts. As she told the magazine, ?I?m proud to say it?s the only recipe I have not tinkered with because it?s perfect the way it is.? Still, Arnold keeps a constantly rotating menu of flavors and offerings at Wooden Spoon Bakery, baking bacon-cheese biscuits, strawberry coffee cake, and blueberry-and-cream muffins one week and specialty brownie cakes the next.