A few weeks ago, we embarked on a fun but ambitious project: Find the best restaurant in every county in Alabama. That’s 67 counties, from Autauga to Winston and all the others in between. (We did say it was ambitious!) Our thought was, in each county, we would find the best restaurant to go with your family or your spouse or a group of friends to celebrate a big occasion, or just to get out and enjoy a great meal. In some counties, that might be a fancy, white-tablecloth restaurant, and in others, it may be something much more casual, like a barbecue joint or a meat-and-three. Continue reading to see what we found. And when you get to the end, we’ll tell you more about how we came up with our list.
Graphic by Ramsey Archibald/rarchibald@alcom; photos by Tamika Moorefirstname.lastname@example.org and courtesy of SpringHouse, Cotton Row Restaurant, Acre and Chuck's Fish
Autauga: Uncle Mick's Cajun Cuisine, Prattville
Mickey Thompson opened Uncle Mick’s in downtown Prattville in 2009, and the cafeteria-style serving line features such classic Cajun dishes as crawfish etouffee, seafood gumbo, red beans and sausage, and alligator and sausage sauce piquante.
Address: 136 West Main St., Prattville. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Uncle Mick's Cajun Cuisine
Baldwin: Fisher's Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach
Bill Briand, a New Orleans native and two-time James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for best chef in the South, celebrates his Louisiana roots and his new Lower Alabama home at this casual but upscale Orange Beach restaurant that has become a favorite for locals and tourists alike. (Actually, Fisher’s is two restaurants in one space -- with the more laid-back Fisher’s Dockside down below and the more elegant Fisher’s Upstairs above.) The Fisher’s Upstairs dinner menu includes roasted Bon Secour oysters, braised pork cheeks, seared jumbo scallops and braised Mississippi rabbit with pappardelle pasta.
Address: 27075 Marina Road, Orange Beach. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Fisher's Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina
Barbour: River City Grill, Eufaula
A casual lunch and dinner spot in historic downtown Eufaula, River City Grill offers a selection of chicken, steak, seafood and pasta dishes, including chicken Madeira, grilled ribeye and New Orleans redfish.
Address: 209 East Broad St., Eufaula. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of River City Grill
Bibb: Sawmeal Restaurant, Brent
The Sawmeal Restaurant has been keeping hungry people happy for as long as we can remember. The daily buffet features a smorgasbord of meats, vegetables and desserts, and there’s an all-you-can-eat Saturday night seafood special with crab legs, shrimp, oysters and catfish.
Address: 6880 Alabama Highway 5, Brent. For more information, go here.
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Blount: Charlie B's Restaurant: Oneonta
Charlie B’s Restaurant -- also known as Charlie B’s, “the Lunch Place” -- offers a rotating selection of meats and veggies that includes beef tips and rice, fried chicken livers, pork chops, turnip greens, stewed tomatoes, macaroni and cheese and hash brown casserole.
Address: 300 Sixth St. South, Oneonta. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Charlie B's Restaurant
Bullock: The Hilltop Grill, Union Springs
A Bullock County tradition since 1949, The Hilltop Grill -- or “The Hill,” as it is more commonly known to regulars -- is best known for its barbecue, but the menu also includes hamburgers, sandwiches and salads.
Address: 18627 U.S. Highway 82, Union Springs. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Hilltop Grill
Butler: Bates House of Turkey, Greenville
A favorite stop of beach-bound travelers headed south on I-65 -- as well as those headed north on their way home -- Bates House of Turkey has been around since 1970, when that stretch of the interstate between Montgomery and Mobile was finished. The menu features all turkey all the time, including a smoked turkey sandwich on a sesame-seed bun and an old-fashioned roasted turkey dinner with cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce. So don’t go expecting to get a burger.
Address: 1001 Fort Dale Road, Greenville. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Bates House of Turkey
Calhoun: Classic On Noble, Anniston
After running a successful catering business called Classic Catering, the husband-and-wife culinary team of David and Cathy Mashburn opened their Classic On Noble restaurant in downtown Anniston’s 123-year-old Levy and Clark building. The dinner menu features jumbo lump Maryland crab cakes, grilled Alaskan salmon and Classic On Noble’s signature shrimp and grits.
Address: 1024 Noble St., Anniston. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Classic On Noble
Chambers: Milano's Grille, Valley
Greek immigrant John Couscos opened his first restaurant in Athens, Tenn., in 1976, and the restaurant business eventually led him and his wife, Pam, to the small, Eastern Alabama town of Valley, where they opened Milano’s Grille. The Italian- and Greek-inspired menu features Greek-style chicken, a gyro platter, house-made lasagna and veal parmesan, as well as house specialties such as fettuccine alfredo, Cajun chicken pasta and shrimp scampi.
Address: 373 Fob James Drive, Valley. For more information, go here.
Photo courtesy of Milano's Grille
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