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Eat Your Way Across Alabama

It’s Alabama Restaurant Week, with great dining deals through August 26. 
by Emily D. Wood

If you love good food but also love to keep your pocketbook full, you’ll want to take advantage of Alabama Restaurant Week. From August 17-26, restaurants around the state will offer 10 days of special meals at fixed prices from $5-$30. Participating restaurants will also be featured as part of the Year of Alabama Food promotion, which highlights restaurants, famous dishes, farmers markets, recipes and food trail destinations around the state.

“We are excited that more than 200 restaurants have signed up for the inaugural ‘Alabama Restaurant Week,’ says Edith Parten with the Alabama Tourism Department. “Menu options range from award-winning cuisine prepared by the state’s celebrity chefs to Southern comfort food and BBQ, so there’s something for everyone.”

Popular Restaurant Week eateries include LuLu’s at Homeport Marina, Cobalt, Cosmo’s and King Neptune’s in Gulf Shores; Commerce Kitchen, Grille 29, Clementine’s and Ruth’s Chris in Huntsville; Roux, Michael’s Table and Central in Montgomery; Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia; Wintzell’s Oyster House, True Midtown Kitchen and Joe Cain Cafe in Mobile; The Overall Comany in Auburn/Opelika; and Dreamland BBQ and Baumhowers in multiple locations across Alabama.

Menus are posted online, so diners can anticipate the tasty deals being offered at each establishment. For example, Dreamland BBQ locations will be participating with a dinner meal (pictured above) that feeds 3-4 people for $30 and includes a slab of ribs, half pound of sausage, any two 8-ounce side items and a pint of banana pudding. Any other time, this meal would cost about $42. (Also noteworthy is LuLu’s Fried Green Tomato BLT for $5.)

Deep South highly recommends taking advantage of the opportunity to dine at Roux or Central in Montgomery, where we enjoyed two of the best meals of the year earlier this month. At Roux, Chef Wesley True, who diners will recognize from Mobile’s True Midtown Kitchen, compares his cooking to “an android replica of William Faulkner” as he re-envisions Southern classics like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and bread pudding.

Here’s Roux’s Restaurant Week special for $30:

3 courses:

1st Course – Farm Salad with Maddox Farms Alabama watermellon & heirloom tomatoes, cucumber olive slaw, honey yogurt OR Miller Farms Meatball with Alabama goat cheese & tomato gravy

2nd Course – Chicken & Waffle with crispy fried free-range chicken, sweet chili glaze, fresh jalapeno corn waffle & creamed Alabama collard greens OR Alabama Gulf Shrimp & Grits (pictured above) with andouille, sweet peppers, cream & Oakview Farms grits

3rd Course – Annie’s Home-made Pie or Classic Bread Pudding with cream cheese icing, soco caramel, Alabama pecans & golden raisins

Central (pictured on the right) is also reinventing classic Southern comfort food – in an 1890s warehouse space in downtown Montgomery. Their Restaurant Week lunch special includes Pimiento Cheese & Pretzels, a California Club sandwich and German Chocolate Cake for $15. For dinner, start with local figs and Alabama goat cheese, then move on to wood-fired grouper with gnocchi, ratatouille and tomato herb coulis. For dessert, it’s Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, all for only $30.

Alabama Restaurant Week highlights locally owned and operated restaurants and gives diners an opportunity to try something new at an awesome price. According to Tourism Director Lee Sentell, the state will be hosting the promotion for the next three years and wants to make sure all restaurants in Alabama are aware of this opportunity.

This year’s week coincides with Birmingham Restaurant Week, a 3-year-old event that served as a model for the state event. Birmingham’s version is also a great time to try or revisit city staples like Bottega, Chez Fon Fon, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Jim N Nick’s, Highlands Bar & Grill or newer eateries like Ocean and Slice.

Other Southern cities are also jumping on the foodie bandwagon this time of year. Check out these other promotions and events, depending on where you’re located:

  •  Coolinary New Orleans, similar to the Alabama Restaurant Week, takes place the whole month of August in The Big Easy.
  • The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival is happening September 14-16 in the historic district of Jekyll Island and includes a shrimp and grits cooking competition, cooking demos, cookbook signings and more.
  • The 23rd Annual World Chicken Festival takes place September 27-30 in Laurel County Kentucky to commemorate the first location of Kentucky Fried Chicken

Intern Emily D. Wood is a recent graduate of Troy University’s English department on the Dothan Campus. Find out more about her in our Contributors section.

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  • ann beck / August 23, 2012

    The activities mentioned in the article above-are these events annual or just put together for this year only? I love the south and would not live anywhere else. I read your article and for me it’s kind of late because of other plans.

    Thank you