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Taste the food of Alabama USA – 20 dishes you’ll want to try!

The Food of Alabama USA

Believe me, in Alabama you won’t go hungry! On my road trip through the state I tasted my way through a whole range of Alabama food, from the meltingly tender BBQ pork of northern Alabama, to the seafood, shrimp and oysters of the Gulf Coast. Wherever I went the Southern flavours made my mouth water; the piquant white BBQ sauce, peach chutney, the spicy Cajun flavours and the cheesy grits.

This is a state where they’ll fry it if they can! Fried green tomatoes, succulent fried chicken, even fried pickles, it’s soul food par excellence! In Alabama meat is king and seafood is queen, the portions are huge and if you order a salad it comes with at least ten toppings. It’s all washed down with endless refills of sweet iced tea. Let’s take a journey to taste the food of Alabama and discover some of the dishes you’ll want to try on the way.

Food of Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Taste the food of Alabama

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Table of Contents

1. Southern Breakfast to start the day in Alabama

Every place has their traditional cooked breakfast, a hearty meal to set you up for the day, with Alabama being no exception. If you’re from the UK you’ll be familiar with our “English Breakfast” fry up but there are some variations that make the Southern Breakfast a bit different.

Bacon and eggs – In Alabama the bacon is served well cooked and crispy rather than the soft floppy bacon we have at home in the UK. My breakfast bacon was so frazzled that you could just snap it in two rather than cut with a knife. You can choose how you like your eggs cooked, but generally they will come fried rather than poached (the fried thing is a bit of a theme).

Biscuit and gravy – It’s biscuit, but not as we know it in the UK! Not the hard, flat biscuit we would dunk in a mug of tea, but closer to a savoury scone with a texture somewhere between cake and bread. The biscuit is served with gravy, the brown, meaty sauce that you’d expect, but if you don’t really fancy it, then just ask for the gravy to be served on the side or slather your biscuit with butter instead.

Grits – This porridge made with coarsely ground cornmeal, is definitely the dish of the south, although I can’t say that I was converted! Like polenta, which it resembles, it doesn’t have much taste in itself, but becomes a lot more appealing when you add lots of butter and salt or ask for ‘cheesy grits’ with cheese melted in for flavour.

Green fried tomatoes – Often served as a side dish at breakfast or as an accompaniment for BBQ, it’s large slices of green tomatoes that have been dipped in batter and deep fried. Apparently tomato pie is also a specialty of Alabama.

The drink of choice at breakfast is either iced tea or hot coffee (usually served with those plastic cartons of UHT milk so beloved of airlines) both of which will be regularly topped up throughout your meal at no extra charge.

Southern Breakfast at Blue Plate cafe in Huntsville Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Southern Breakfast at Blue Plate Cafe in Huntsville Alabama

Where I tried the Southern Breakfast in Alabama:

Huntsville| The Blue Plate Cafe | This traditional diner is THE place to go in Huntsville if you want the full Southern Breakfast experience, of bacon, eggs, cheesy grits, biscuit and gravy washed down by bottomless coffee. It’s the food your mother or grandmother might have cooked if you grew up in Alabama and attracts all the locals who relish their childhood favourite foods of fried chicken, collard greens and a slice of pie. 

Montgomery | Cahawba House | The small frontage gives way to an airy diner, which is the perfect place to try Southern specialties for breakfast, brunch or lunch. You can build your own breakfast here with any combo you like, but I tried the Southern biscuit with pimento cheese biscuit, fried green tomato and crispy bacon.

Read more from this trip: 50 things to do in Alabama on a Road Trip USA

Southern Breakfast in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Southern Breakfast in Montgomery Alabama

2. Iced tea – cool and refreshing in Alabama’s summer heat

Although the coffee is hot, the tea is definitely chilled in Alabama, with Iced Tea, also known as Sweet Tea being served at practically every restaurant as a soft drink.

It’s a light tea that has been brewed and then cooled, served from large jugs that are either unsweetened or sweetened. The sweet tea was a bit too much sugar for my taste, but you can also ask for ‘half and half’, which is a mix of the two types making for a slightly less sweet version.

There’s generally a wedge of lemon on the side of the glass, which you can squeeze in, leave as garnish or ask your server to leave out entirely. On a hot day the iced tea was refreshing and cooling, and with temperatures over 30 degrees during the summer, I was grateful for the free refills to stay hydrated.

You may also enjoy: 11 cool things to do in Mobile, Alabama – on my Deep South road trip USA

Ice tea at Wintzell's Oyster Bar in Mobile Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Ice tea at Wintzell’s Oyster Bar in Mobile Alabama
Ice tea at Central in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Ice tea at Central in Montgomery Alabama
Huntsville Marriott Hotel Alabama USA Photo Heatheronhertravels

Our Recommended Hotel in Huntsville, Alabama: Stay at the Huntsville Marriott with a view of the Space & Rocket Center

3. BBQ in Alabama – Pulled pork and ribs

There are plenty of BBQ dishes in the southern states of the USA, each with their own subtle variations. But perhaps it’s worth explaining the BBQ concept, which is a far cry from burnt sausages on a rainy summer day in England.

Here BBQ is a way of cooking large cuts of marinated pork and other meats slowly, over a wood fire that never goes out. The result is succulent and smoky meat that is served with a side dishes like potato salad and coleslaw. In Alabama a white BBQ sauce is often served with the meat, like a mayonnaise with vinegar and mustard, rather than the more typical sticky tomato based BBQ sauce.

While I’m not normally a huge meat eater, I enjoyed smoky, tender pulled pork in a few different dishes while I was in Alabama. The BBQ experience is definitely one you should try as you travel through the Deep South.

Where I tried BBQ in Alabama;

MontgomeryDreamland BBQ – Dreamland is a small chain of BBQ restaurants that started in Tuscaloosa Alabama. Now there are branches throughout the state, so it’s a great place to experience BBQ Alabama style. I squeezed in at the bar on a Sunday lunchtime in Montgomery, among the families tucking into their smoked pork ribs, which Dreamland is best known for.

My choice was a lighter dish of Smokehouse Cobb salad, which still came with a generous portion of mouthwatering shredded BBQ pork on top| 12 West Jefferson Street, Montgomery

Smokehouse cobb salad with Pulled Pork at Dreamland in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Smokehouse cobb salad with Pulled Pork at Dreamland in Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery – At Central I enjoyed casual but upscale dining, using local ingredients and Southern flavours. It’s located in a large, airy, old brick warehouse and I tried their modern twist on BBQ flavours with the starter of smoked and fried pork belly with a tangy peach chutney | 129 Coosa Street, Montgomery

Pork belly with peach chutney at Central in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Pork belly with peach chutney at Central in Montgomery Alabama

BirminghamSaw’s Soul Kitchen – In the Avondale neighbourhood of Birmingham, Saw’s Soul Kitchen has just a few tables and a loyal clientele who constantly pop in for takeaways.

This soul food restaurant is a great place to try the famous BBQ meats and other Southern dishes, like their signature Pork & Greens. The dish of pulled pork on a base of grits and sweet-sour collard greens, topped with onion rings was mouthwateringly good!

You can also find the full on BBQ experience at Saw’s BBQ in the Southside neighbourhood of Birmingham and at Saw’s Juke Joint where the BBQ is often paired with live music. Check out this Birmingham Food Tour to explore more of Birmingham’s vibrant food scene.

Read more from this trip: 50 things to do in Alabama on a Road Trip USA

Pulled pork and Greens at Saws' Soul Food in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Pulled pork and Greens at Saw’s Soul Food in Birmingham Alabama

4. Fried Chicken in Alabama

Fried chicken is another Southern favourite in the soul food repertoire of Alabama. Pieces of chicken on the bone are tenderised by soaking overnight in brine or buttermilk, then shallow or deep fried in a flour coating that sometimes has a bit of spice added. The result should be succulent meat on the inside and crispy coating on the outside, making this the perfect comfort food.

Leaving in the bone helps to keep the chicken juicy, but if you prefer boneless chicken, look out for “chicken tenders” which are chicken breasts or goujons fried in a crispy coating. Even if you don’t eat a lot of fried food, you’ll need to treat yourself to some Southern fried chicken for the full Alabama food experience.

Gunrunner Boutique Hotel Florence Alabama

Our Recommended Hotel in Florence / Muscle Shoals: Stay at the Gunrunner Boutique Hotel with cool suites inspired by icons of the music scene.

Champy’s Chicken is a diner style restaurant with several branches in Tennessee and Alabama, where I stopped at their roadside restaurant in Muscle Shoals to try the fried chicken. There’s a certain 50s air in the melamine tabletops and checked PVC tablecloths, with a jukebox and neon signs, car and college memorabilia around the walls.

This is where you can really get into the Southern style of cuisine with a basket of succulent fried chicken cooked to order, and sides of slaw, baked beans or French fries and a choice of sauces | 120 Second Street, Muscle Shoals 

Fried Chicken in Muscle Shoals Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Fried Chicken in Muscle Shoals Alabama

5. Try the Salads in Alabama – where more is more!

If you are feeling a bit weighted down by all the talk of BBQ and fried chicken in Alabama, you might think that a fresh green salad would be the answer, a balance to all the fried food. But don’t expect the lightly dressed bowls of fresh salad leaves that you might expect in Europe. In Alabama the salads are more than a delicious side dish and anything goes into the mix – definitely a “more is more” approach!

Crisp cos lettuce is popular and a typical example was my Steakhouse wedge salad at Central in Montgomery, where the Cos was hollowed out and then topped with bacon, candied pecan, sliced vegetables and a generous topping of creamy blue cheese dressing. Luckily this hearty salad paired well with the smoked pork starter with peach chutney that I also ordered, and I certainly didn’t leave hungry!

You may also enjoy: Discover the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama USA – in the footsteps of Martin Luther King

Steakhouse wedge salad at Central in Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Steakhouse wedge salad at Central in Alabama

Another popular summer salad that I saw on several menus at the more upscale restaurants was the fruity combination of strawberry salad. For dinner at Odette in Florence, I paired a charcuterie board with a strawberry salad of cress leaves, whipped feta cheese, almonds, pesto and a fermented strawberry dressing. It was delicious but in Alabama the approach to salads is lots of toppings and punchy flavours, rather than the European approach of a few simple ingredients.

Strawberry salad at Odette in Florence Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Strawberry salad at Odette in Florence Alabama

6. Peaches in Clanton – peach capital of Alabama

It was slightly unexpected to find peaches everywhere in Alabama, but it made perfect sense when I stopped in Clanton, as I drove south from Birmingham to Selma on the Route 65 Interstate. Clanton in Chilton County is the peach capital of Alabama and the fruit are at their best in the summer months, especially in June, when holiday-makers break their journey to pick up a punnet of juicy fresh peaches.

I spotted the Peach Water Tower (yes it looks like a giant peach) and turned off at Exit 212 to have a closer look, parking at the Headley’s Big Peach Farm shop where there were plenty of juicy peaches on sale. I also treated myself to one of their peachy ice lollies from the freezer counter which came in a few different flavours.

Peach tower in Clanton Alabama
Peach tower in Clanton Alabama

A little further down Route 65 at Exit 215 is Peach Park, a well known farm shop and restaurant complex selling everything peachy. It’s grown from the original roadside stall and now offers a whole range of food and gifts, selling peach ice cream, peach cobbler and lots of other peach products.

Close by is another similar operation Durbin Farms Market where you can stock up on peach chutneys and preserves. Even if you don’t get a chance to stop in Clanton, look out for peach chutneys, jams and homely peach pies and cobblers on the menus in Alabama.

Read more from this trip: 50 things to do in Alabama on a Road Trip USA

Peaches in Clanton Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Peaches in Clanton Alabama

7. Cobbler & Pie – homely deserts in Alabama

In the diners and Mom and Pop restaurants of Alabama you’ll find a range of sweet pies to complete your meal, just like any good Southern Momma would make at home for her family. As I’ve mentioned, there’s a big thing for peaches, which are canned or preserved to last year round and are often made into pies and cobblers.

The pies are made with a sweet pastry on the bottom to line the dish and depending on the filling there may be pastry on the top as well. Equally popular, the cobbler is a layer of cooked fruit topped with a thicker mixture that’s somewhere between cake and pastry and is sprinkled with a generous layer of sugar to caramelise in the oven.

I enjoyed an old fashioned peach cobbler with cream at Central in Montgomery and you’ll typically order a slice of pie for desert such as apple, chocolate, key lime or pecan from menus in Alabama.

Peach cobbler in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Peach cobbler at Central in Montgomery Alabama
Fitzgerald Museum Montgomery

Our recommended apartment in Montgomery: Stay at the Fitzgerald Museum who have 2 apartments inspired by Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, who lived here.

8. Pecan pie and ice cream in Alabama

While we’ve mentioned Pecan pie as being a popular dessert, there are lots of other pecan treats, since these nuts are widely grown and pecans are the state nut of Alabama. The branching pecan trees bears nuts with a hard shell, that are harvested in the autumn with a crop that tends to be bigger every other year. As I continued along Interstate 65, I stopped just south of Montgomery at Priesters Pecans in Fort Deposit, a restaurant and farm shop that’s dedicated to everything made with Pecan nuts.

Priesters Pecan pies in Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Priesters Pecan pies at Fort Deposit in Alabama

It’s clearly a popular stop, as the farm shop was full of people stocking up on the big bags of pecan nuts, pecan candies and pecan pies. I queued for some Pecan ice-cream, one of the many flavours on offer, although the server had difficulty understanding me when I asked for the Peee-can flavour, until she exclaimed “Oh, you mean Pe-caaan!”

There are rocking chairs on the verandah outside the shop where you can sit and enjoy your ice cream or pie, before heading off on the Route 65 interstate again. | 80 Bishop Bottom Rd, Fort Deposit | Turn off Route 65 at exit 142

Pecan ice cream in Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Pecan ice cream at Priesters Pecans in Alabama

9. Banana Pudding in Alabama

Let’s stay on the subject of desserts and sweet treats with the banana pudding that’s another staple of Alabama’s soul food menus. It’s much like the English trifle, with layers of custard, whipped cream, vanilla wafers (which are a flat spongy cake) and of course sliced banana. Sometimes the banana pudding is topped with meringue which is browned under the grill.

In the interests of research I ordered banana pudding at Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Birmingham, and got a creamy mess of banana, sponge cake and cream in a styrofoam cup. Not the most pretty to look at although undeniably creamy and I could feel the weight of the calories just by looking at it!

Banana pudding at Saw's soul food in Birmingham, Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Banana pudding at Saw’s soul food in Birmingham, Alabama

10. Cooling Lemonade in Alabama

If you find that the ubiquitous iced tea is not to your taste, then a refreshing alternative is home made lemonade which is found in most restaurants. It’s tangy and cooling and many restaurants add their own twist – I tried lemonade with thyme at Dauphin’s in Mobile and lemonade with a touch of vanilla at Bottega in Birmingham – both delicious. This is a drink that you can sip demurely and be quite the Southern Belle, especially if you are going easy on the alcohol as I was on my Alabama road trip. If you’d like to explore more of Mobile’s food scene, check out this Mobile Food Tour

Lemonade in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Lemonade in Birmingham Alabama

11. Grapico – a Southern thing for 100 years

I was intrigued to come across Grapico at the Alabama Peanut Company so thought I’d add it to my list, as it’s local and I hadn’t come across any drinks quite like it before. I liked the nostalgic label – apparently it’s a Southern thing since 1916 and is made with REAL SUGAR – fancy that! Think cola with a grape taste and no caffeine – perhaps it could be your go-to fizzy drink to fuel your road trip through Alabama?

Grapico in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Grapico in Birmingham Alabama
Hampton Inn and Suites Tutwiler Birmingham Alabama

Our recommended hotel in Birmingham: Stay at the historic Hampton Inn and Suites Tutwiler Hotel, the Grande Dame of Southern Hotels

12. Sno-cone – internal air conditioning in Alabama’s summer heat

The Alabama equivalent of the UK’s Mr Whippy ice cream van, seems to be the Sno-cone van selling crushed ice, flavoured with different fruity syrups. I’m normally wary of synthetic fruit flavours but with the temperatures topping 30 degrees, the cooling effects of the sno-cone were undeniable. After eating a few spoons of the ice cold fruity mixture, it was as if someone had turned on the air conditioning from the inside.

You may also enjoy: A foodie guide to Victoria, Canada

Sno-cone at Shymeer Ice in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Sno-cone at Shymeer Ice in Birmingham Alabama
Sno-cone at Shymeer ice in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Sno-cone at Shymeer ice in Birmingham Alabama

I found a lovely chap at Shymeer Ice selling the sno-cones in Birmingham from the van beside the Railroad Park – his teenage daughter kindly took a photo of me enjoying their Sno-cone. I enjoyed another sno-cone in Gulf Shores when I went cycling (in that crazy heat!) through the Gulf State Park and came across the van at the visitor centre – a most welcome relief after my sweaty cycle ride.

Sno-cone in Gulf Shore Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Sno-cone in Gulf Shore Alabama

13. Boiled Peanuts in Alabama

Hearing that boiled peanuts that are a popular snack in Alabama, I stopped at the Alabama Peanut company in Birmingham to try them out. You might buy a cup of peanuts if you are going to the beach or a sports game, and even though they are boiled and served in their shells there’s a clever way that the flavour of Cajun spice or Dill Pickle permeates through to the peanuts inside. If you’d like to discover more of Birmingham’s food scene, we recommend that you take this Birmingham Food Tour

The Alabama Peanut Company is in a large, airy shop on pretty, cobbled Morris Avenue, where they also roast and boil the peanuts. You can sit and eat a few at the tables inside or browse some of their merchandise of t-shirts and baseball caps with the “Southern and Salty” slogan.

You may also enjoy: Discover the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama USA – in the footsteps of Martin Luther King

Boiled peanuts in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Boiled peanuts in Birmingham Alabama

14. Beignets in Alabama

As I drove south through Alabama, I noticed that the Creole flavours and dishes became more prevalent in the cuisine, with French influence dating back to the 17th and 18th century, when the Gulf coast was under French colonial rule. Beignets are well known as a specialty of New Orleans, but I also observed them appearing on breakfast menus in Alabama as I drove south.

They are a small pillows of dough, deep fried and served golden brown dusted with icing sugar. I tried these for breakfast one morning at Cahawba House in Montgomery but you can find them in bakeries all over the state, best served freshly made and piping hot.

Beignets in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Beignets in Montgomery Alabama
Hampton Inns & Suites Mobile Alabama

Our recommended hotel in Mobile: Stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Mobile, in the heart of the Downtown area near Dauphin Street.

15. Gumbo in Alabama

Continuing with the Creole influence and flavours, look out for Gumbo on the menus in Alabama, especially as you drive south to Mobile and Gulf Shores. There’s even a Gumbo Trail in Gulf Shores that will take you around some of the best spots for Gumbo on the Gulf Coast.

Gumbo is a thick soup or stew that’s a staple of Creole cuisine, normally combining meat with seafood and vegetables such as peppers, celery and tomato, topped with some cooked rice, making this a substantial one pot meal.

For a more refined version I tried the famous Gumbo Z’herb, at Dauphin’s restaurant in Mobile, which has amazing views over Mobile Bay and offers Creole influenced cuisine, with plenty of seafood, such as crab, shrimp and fresh fish from the Gulf. To discover more of Mobile’s food scene we recommend you try this Mobile Food Tour.

The Gumbo Z’herb is a twist on the more traditional dish, with local Conecuh sausage and other meats as well as collard greens in a smoky clear stock, and it made a delicious light lunch.

Read more from this trip: 50 things to do in Alabama on a Road Trip USA

Gumbo Z'herb at Dauphin's in Mobile Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Gumbo Z’herb at Dauphin’s in Mobile Alabama

16. Shrimp from the Gulf Coast of Alabama

Alabama’s Gulf Coast line provides a plentiful supply of shrimp (as you’ll know if you’ve watched the film Forrest Gump). As one of the state’s most iconic foods you’ll find shrimp on menus throughout Alabama, but especially as you reach the coast where seafood is the main event!

I tried shrimp in many guises while I was in Alabama, and one popular dish I saw on menus was Cajun shrimp which is coated in cornmeal and fried to make a crunchy crust, then mixed with a spicy Cajun sauce. I tried variations of this as Voodoo Shrimp at Connors and Firecracker Shrimp at Grille 29, both in Huntsville.

Cajan shrimp in Huntsville Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Cajan shrimp in Huntsville Alabama

I also loved the Shrimp tacos at The Gulf in Orange Beach, with reclaimed metal shipping containers and a huge seating area overlooking the water, filled with friends and family on holiday enjoying the many delicious food options.

Shrimp tacos at The Gulf in Orange Beach Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Shrimp tacos at The Gulf in Orange Beach Alabama
Hotel Indigo Orange Beach Alabama

Our recommended hotel in Gulf Shores / Orange Beach: Stay at the Hotel Indigo Orange Beach, a stylish boutique hotel close to the beach.

17. Surf & turf dishes in Alabama

I found a strong surf and turf theme going on in many restaurants that mixed the best produce of Alabama, serving both steak and seafood. Examples of this were restaurants such as Connor’s where I ate in Huntsville Alabama, and it also has branches in other parts of the Southern USA, or Grille 29 with restaurants in Huntsville and Birmingham.

A typical surf and turf dish was the delicious starter I tried at Grille 29 of scallops topped with bacon jam on a bed of cheesy grits, which was sooo tasty and a meal in itself, although I paired this with the Firecracker shrimp for a seafood feast!

Scallops at Grille 29 in Huntsville Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Scallops at Grille 29 in Huntsville Alabama

18. Oysters from the Gulf Coast in Alabama

Oysters are another Alabama delicacy from the Gulf of Mexico, where they are farmed and fished in Mobile Bay and other parts of the coastal waters of Alabama. Originally it was wild oysters that you’d find served up in the oyster shacks around the bay, but now most of the oysters are farmed and with strict controls over quality this also means that you can safely eat them all year round.

I tried the oysters at Wintzell’s Oyster House which is a Mobile institution and although there are a number of Wintzell’s locations in Alabama, the one where I ate in Mobile on Dauphin Street is the original restaurant. At Wintzell’s they serve oysters by the dozen and half dozen, fried, stewed or nude, and I tried the Oysters Rockefeller, cooked with spinach and butter sauce. For a flavour of the south and local insights, we recommend you take this Mobile Food Tour.

Oysters at Wintzell's Oyster House Photo Heatheronhertravels
Oysters at Wintzell’s Oyster House in Mobile Alabama

Unlike in Europe where the oysters seem to be mainly served raw, it’s common to serve the oysters cooked, like the delicious fried oysters on flatbread with arugula salad, bacon and mozzarella that I tried at Foodcraft in Gulf Shores, with a view of the beach at The Lodge Hotel.

Oyster Flatbread at Foodcraft in Gulf Shores Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Oyster Flatbread at Foodcraft in Gulf Shores Alabama

19. West Indies Salad on the Gulf Coast of Alabama

Another Gulf Coast specialty that I was looking out for was West Indies Salad, which I also tried at Wintzell’s Oyster House in Mobile. It’s a dish of crab meat simply dressed with oil, vinegar and some finely chopped onion, that was invented at Bayley’s Seafood Restaurant on Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay. Mine was served with a slice of melon and some salad leaves that added a bit of sweetness to offset the sharpness of the vinegar dressing.

West Indies salad in Mobile Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
West Indies salad in Mobile Alabama

20. Moon-Pie – the carnival favour of Mobile, Alabama

If you visit Mobile you’ll quickly become aware that Carnival is a big event, so look out for the Moon Pie confections that are the favourite food at Carnival time. You’ll find a Moon-Pie store at 107 St Francis St in Mobile, selling gifts and souvenirs, as well as the Moonpie sweet biscuit sandwiched with marshmallow and coated in chocolate.

The Moon Pie comes in lots of different flavours and originated at the Chattanooga Bakery in Tennessee, but in Mobile its thrown from the carnival floats to an eager crowd and is the carnival favour that everyone hopes to catch. For more of the sweet taste of Mobile, check out this Food Tour in Mobile.

Moon-pie in Mobile Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Moon-pie in Mobile Alabama
Paul Theroux Deep South

Recommended reading for your Alabama road trip: Read Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux to soak up the atmosphere of the Deep South

Where to eat in Alabama

I ate in so many great restaurants in Alabama, most of which I’ve already mentioned, but just so you can find them easily I’ve listed them again below by location. Also take a look at my map below to find all the places mentioned.

Read more from this trip: 50 things to do in Alabama on a Road Trip USA

Restaurants in Huntsville, Alabama

The Blue Plate Cafe – The place to go in Huntsville if you want the full Southern Breakfast experience, of bacon, eggs, cheesy grits, biscuit and gravy or lunchtime favourites of fried chicken, collard greens and a slice of pie. 

Blue Plate Cafe in Huntsville Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Blue Plate Cafe in Huntsville Alabama

Pane e Vino – An Italian inspired restaurant with outdoor terrace at the Huntsville Museum of art in Big Spring Park. It’s owned by leading local chef Jame Boyce and offers relaxed dining with pizza, salads and pasta dishes. 

Connors Steak & Seafood – In the Bridge Street Town Centre neighbourhood, serving steak and seafood with bags of Southern flair. 

Restaurants in Muscle Shoals and Florence, Alabama

Champy's Chicken Muscle Shoals Alabama
Champy’s Chicken Muscle Shoals Alabama

Champy’s Fried Chicken – A roadside diner in Muscle Shoals that’s part of a small Southern chain, with checked PVC tablecloths, jukebox and neon signs, specialising in succulent fried chicken cooked to order. 

Odette – Refined but relaxed, all seasonal and sustainable with a nod to Southern flavours and the go-to restaurant for foodies in downtown Florence. Go for brunch, lunch or dinner. 

Restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama

We love food tours as a way to dip into the local food culture, so recommend you take one like this Birmingham Food Tour

Pizitz Food Hall – A great food hall in the downtown area where you can eat world cuisines from over 12 different food stalls, an ideal stop for lunch or early evening cocktails.

Saw’s Soul Kitchen – A small and unassuming diner in the hipster Avondale neighbourhood, where you can try the famous BBQ meats and other Southern soul food dishes, like their signature Pork & Greens. The takeaway service is also popular.

Alabama Peanut Company – Get your taste of boiled peanuts flavoured with Cajun spice or Dill Pickle, in their large, airy shop where they also roast and boil the peanuts.

Essential in Birmingham, Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Essential in Birmingham, Alabama

The Essential – A fun little neighbourhood restaurant, with a menu full of well priced light dishes with a Southern take on world cuisine.

Bottega – Run by leading local Chef Frank Stitt, with a rather special atmosphere and dining experience that’s inspired by the wine bars of Italy, set in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building.

Bottega in Birmingham, Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Bottega in Birmingham, Alabama

Peaches in Clanton, Alabama

Look for the giant peach water tower as your signal to stop at Clanton, just off the Route 65 Interstate, for farm shops and restaurants that feature the local peaches – peach ice cream, preserves and peach cobbler at Peach Park and Durbin Farms Market.

Restaurants in Montgomery, Alabama

Cahawba House – An airy diner, which is the perfect place in Montgomery to try Southern specialties for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

Dreamland BBQ – The place to get your fix of Southern BBQ, with 10 locations across the south, their smoked pork ribs being a specialty.

Central – A great place for a special dinner with casual but upscale dining, using local ingredients and Southern flavours, located in a large, airy brick warehouse in the Alley complex.

Central in Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Central in Montgomery Alabama

Pecans in Fort Deposit, Alabama

Priesters Pecans – A popular stop just off the Route 65 Interstate with a huge farm shop and cafe serving pecan nuts, pecan candies, pecan pies and pecan ice cream.

Restaurants in Mobile, Alabama

Taking a food tour is a great way to get restaurant recommendations and enjoy local flavours – so check out this food tour in Mobile.

Wintzells Oyster Bar Mobile Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Wintzell’s Oyster Bar Mobile

Dauphin’s – Great views over Mobile from the 34th floor of the Trustmark building, specialising in Gulf seafood and Cajun flavours.

Wintzell’s Oyster House – A Mobile institution with a menu full of crab, shrimp and above all the oysters which are served “fried, stewed or nude”. They also have a branch in Montgomery and other parts of southern Alabama.

Restaurants in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Woodside Restaurant in Gulf Shores Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Woodside Restaurant in Gulf Shores Alabama

Woodside Restaurant – A relaxed cafe on the edge of the Gulf State Park and the ideal place to stop for breakfast or brunch if you are cycling around the park.

Foodcraft – The more casual of the two restaurants in The Lodge with a deck overlooking the beach and a lunchtime menu that includes lots of light dishes like soup, sandwiches and salads.

The Gulf – I loved the buzzing beach club feel of The Gulf, with a huge outdoor seating area overlooking the water and inexpensive casual dining.

Cobalt – a relaxed but upscale restaurant with a large outdoor patio overlooking the water at Perdido Bay, with a great selection of Gulf seafood.

The Gulf in Gulf Shores Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
The Gulf in Gulf Shores Alabama

Map of Alabama

You can use my map of Alabama to easily find all the restaurants and other places I visited on my Alabama Road trip.

Hotels in Alabama

Read about the places I stayed on my Alabama Road Trip

Hotels in Huntsville – Huntsville Marriott at Space and Rocket Center

Huntsville Marriott Hotel Alabama USA Photo Heatheronhertravels
Huntsville Marriott Hotel Alabama USA

My spacious room at the modern Huntsville Marriott hotel, had a view towards the adjoining Rocket Center, so I woke up with a view of the Saturn 1 and Saturn V! The room had recently been updated in contemporary style, with a large walk in bathroom and a picture of some far off galaxy above the bed. The hotel is located a little outside the downtown area, a short walk to the Rocket Center and a great base to use for visiting Huntsville.

Huntsville Marriott at Space and Rocket Center | 5 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama | Check availability and prices for other hotels in Huntsville

Hotels in Florence / Muscle Shoals – Gunrunner Boutique Hotel

The Gunrunner Florence Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
The Gunrunner Florence Alabama

I loved staying at the Gunrunner Boutique Hotel, with 10 quirky and individually designed suites that are themed on local places and personalities. Each of the suites leads directly off this common area, so you feel a bit as if you are in some rockstar’s home with guitars and memorabilia scattered around.

My Sam Phillips suite was enormous, with a retro sitting area, a bar to mix a drink for any visiting music stars and en suite bathroom with claw foot bath and separate shower. Entrance to the hotel and rooms is via key code so you come and go as if it was your home, and there’s a roof terrace which is a fun place to relax with a drink in the evening.

Gunrunner Boutique Hotel  | 310 E Tennessee Street, Florence, Alabama | Check prices for other hotels in Florence

Hotels in Birmingham – Hampton Inn and Suites Tutwiler Hotel

Tutwiler Hotel in Birmingham Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels.com
Tutwiler Hotel in Birmingham Alabama

For the two nights I spent in Birmingham, I was in the grand and historic Hampton Inn and Suites Tutwiler Hotel, which is very centrally located in the Downtown area. The Tutwiler Hotel opened in 1915 and was known as the Grande Dame of Southern Hotels, hosting the great and the good of Birmingham in a hotel that reflected the city’s prosperity at that time. The style here is classic, and I had a very elegant suite on one of the upper floors with classic wooden furniture and windows opening to the balcony.

Hampton Inn and Suites – Tutwiler Hotel | Address: 2021 Park Place, Birmingham | Check prices and availability for other hotels in Birmingham, Alabama.

Apartments in Montgomery – the Fitzgerald Museum Apartments

Fitzgerald Museum Zelda Apartment Montgomery Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Fitzgerald Museum Zelda Apartment Montgomery Alabama

It was fun to visit the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery and even more fun to stay in one of the two apartments upstairs. I stayed in the Zelda Suite, with a portrait of Zelda hanging over the mantelpiece, reproductions of her beautiful paintings and her framed letters to Scott.

The apartment is spacious and comfortable, and is decorated in the style of the 1930s when the couple lived there. There are two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and kitchen, all with a delightfully retro feel, as if you are visiting the home of your rather stylish grandmother.

The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum | Book the Zelda Fitzgerald Suite | Address: 919 Felder Avenue, Montgomery

Hotels in Mobile – Hampton Inn Mobile Downtown

Hampton Inn Mobile Downtown Photo Heatheronhertravels
Hampton Inn Mobile Downtown

While in Mobile I stayed in the Hampton Inn in the heart of the Downtown area, just around the corner from Dauphin Street where there’s lots going on. The busy hotel was full of guests on holiday, families coming and going and enjoying the small outdoor pool area behind the hotel. I enjoyed my stay in the extremely spacious suite with classic decor, two double beds and a large living area. There’s a car park for the use of guests behind the hotel, which is useful considering that the hotel is in the heart of the city.

Hampton Inn Mobile Downtown | Address: 62 S Royal Street, Mobile | Check price and availability for more hotels in Mobile, Alabama.

Hotels in Gulf Shores / Orange Beach – Hotel Indigo Orange Beach

Indigo Hotel Gulf Shores Alabama Photo Heatheronhertravels
Indigo Hotel Gulf Shores Alabama

For the couple of nights I was in Gulf Shores I stayed at the delightful Hotel Indigo, set just across the road from the beach, with a hotel shuttle to drop you off at the beach pavilion. This is a stylish boutique hotel with mostly larger suite style rooms, with relaxed contemporary decor that echoes the colours of the ocean.

I loved having the extra space of a large sitting area and fridge, with the feel of being in my own apartment but with all the amenities of a hotel. The hotel is dog friendly and many guests rent bikes to cycle from here along the Backcountry trail that starts just behind the hotel.

Hotel Indigo Orange Beach | 22843 Perdido Beach Boulevard, Orange Beach | Check prices and availability for other hotels in Gulf Shores.

More information for Visiting Alabama

Plan your visit to Alabama on the Alabama Tourism website and follow on Social Media

Twitter @TweetHomeAla | Instagram @AlabamaTravel | Facebook AlabamaTravel

Book your trip with America as you like it who offer bespoke self guided tours of Alabama and the USA. America As You Like It can recreate my trip with a 9 night holiday from just £1,270 per person (based on 2 people sharing room only) including return international flights on American Airlines, car hire and hotel stays.

This price is based on 2 nights Marriott Huntsville, 1 night GunRunner Hotel Florence, 2 nights Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham Downtown Tutwiler, 1 night Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery Downtown, 1 night Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Historic District Mobile and 2 nights Hotel Indigo Orange Beach. For more information contact 020 8742 8299, sales@americaasyoulikeit.com or visit www.americaasyoulikeit.com

You can also find information to plan your trip on the regional tourism board websites;

Huntsville Tourism website | Visit Florence Al website | Birmingham tourism website |Selma and Dallas County Chamber tourism website | Montgomery tourism website | Mobile tourism website | Gulf Shores and Orange Beach tourism website

Hotels in Alabama: You can check prices and book for range of hotels in Alabama here.

Getting to Alabama: It’s easy to fly direct from the UK to the USA via nearby airports such as Atlanta or New Orleans. Alternatively, you can connect via numerous US airport hubs and then flying on to regional airports such as Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery or Pensacola.

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The Food of Alabama USA

My trip to Alabama was sponsored* by Alabama Tourism who provided the food and other experiences mentioned.

* More info on my policies page

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Rocking Trips
    September 25, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Nice Information you have shared about Food. Plan Your Tour and taste different cuisine of different country.

  • Reply
    jane
    September 27, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Mmmm looks delicios

  • Reply
    MRS B A C WELLER
    October 1, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    I visited Decatur from.the UK I have craved real Southern Biscuits since Wonderful delicious.amazing.I loved them.with.breakfast.eggs.and.especially.with.pumpkin.butter Heaven

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 7, 2019 at 5:52 am

      @Mrs Weller all that Southern soul food can get addictive!

  • Reply
    john
    October 19, 2019 at 11:25 am

    thank you so much I visited Decatur from.the UK I have craved real Southern Biscuits since Wonderful delicious.amazing.I loved them.now is online

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