Dining in Alabama is more enticing than the chain restaurants that can be found all over the country. While there are plenty of these, you will find that southern regional food in Alabama is one of the state's many attractions. George Washington Carver taught for 47 years at Tuskegee University, teaching former slaves agricultural self-sufficiency. Along the way, he contributed greatly to peanut farming (fifty percent of the peanuts sold in the United States are grown in Alabama) and promoted the idea of rotating food crops like peanuts, legumes, and soybeans with sweet potatoes. His work laid the foundation for today's regional southern food in Alabama and is part of the history of food throughout the United States.
Sweet potato pie is a signature Alabama dish and will be served by just about
any family restaurant in Alabama you happen upon. It's this kind of southern
cooking that helps dining in Alabama contribute to the state's justified reputation
for southern hospitality. Other famous southern dishes served in many family
Alabama restaurants include fried green tomatoes (the movie of the same name
was filmed in Alabama), fried catfish, grits, peanut butter cookies (recipe
perfected by George Washington Carver), pecan pie (it's the official nut of
Alabama), fried frog's legs, and many more. In Decatur,
Big Bob Gibson's has been serving what it claims is the world's best barbecue
sauce for four generations. And world-class southern food in Alabama can be
found in Birmingham at Chef
Frank Stitt's famous Highlands Bar and Grill. More than 1,200 beekeepers produce
honey in the state, a key ingredient for corn bread, one of the south's traditional
In the southern part of the state, you'll find Alabama restaurants specializing in southern seafood, including shrimp, oysters, and fish like marlin, tarpon, and tuna for those who like to catch their dinner fishing in the deep sea waters off Gulf Shores and Mobile. This is bayou, Creole, and Cajun country just as much as New Orleans is (remember Bubba Gump Shrimp from the film, Forrest Gump), and you'll find almost any restaurant in Alabama near the south of the state will have menus that include spicy Cajun and Creole fare, including crawfish, gumbo, crab stew, crab cakes, and bread pudding with whiskey sauce.
There are a number of Alabama restaurants that are full of history, many dating to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These can be found in large cities as well as in smaller towns, and some of this kind of dining in Alabama will be done in historic antebellum mansions from the Old South. The Grand Hotel (now a Marriott and one of the resorts along the Gulf coast has been a Mobile Bay landmark since 1847. A downtown Mobile landmark since 1938, Wintzell's Oyster House is famous for its "Oysters—fried, stewed, or nude," and has continued to operate at its original location ever since 1938. In addition to the Irondale Café of fried green tomatoes fame, another restaurant in Alabama that has contributed to our national food folklore is Mobile's Dew Drop Inn that inspired the song "Cheeseburgers in Paradise." In addition to its famous cheeseburgers, you'll also find delicious Gulf Coast specialties like po'boy sandwiches, turnip greens, and shrimp.
While the cities and resorts offer fine hotels and restaurants serving gourmet cuisine, it's the regional southern food in Alabama that is of such appeal to most visitors.