Birmingham has its citywide Restaurant Week. Ditto Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Hoover, and several other municipalities across the Yellowhammer State. Now is the chance to celebrate all the food establishments across the state that make Alabama such a sweet (and savory) home.
Alabama Restaurant Week honors local eateries in big cities, small towns, and even at some crossroads. The “week” is August 18-27 this year because seven days is too weak to get the job done.
Unlike its city-specific counterparts, Alabama Restaurant Week is not built around participating eateries offering multi-course prix-fixe menus. Some restaurants may choose to come up with special meals for the event, but that’s not the point, says Brooklyn Lundy, public relations manager at the Alabama Tourism Department, which organizes the annual promotion.
Alabama Restaurant Week is more about people showing support for their favorite places, and hopefully discovering something new along the way. Beyond dining in, taking out, or ordering delivery, there are other ways to back your favorite local entrepreneurs, the tourism department says.
Buying gift cards, merchandise, and other themed swag; and talking up your favorite local spot or new discovery to friends and family are crucial boosts for an industry still struggling for survival. Tip generously, too.
A list of participating establishments is on the tourism department’s Sweet Home Alabama website. Check the restaurant’s social media for any specials.
If nothing else, the event is a chance to see how many meals you can try from the tourism department’s “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama” list, a popular compendium of classic local favorites.
Periodically updated, the overall list has grown way beyond 100 dishes. Sadly, however, a few places on the list have closed since the last update, like Jimbo’s BBQ in Guin (banana pudding and barbecue sandwich), Taylor’s Restaurant in Russellville (strawberry cake), and The Prop and Gavel in Monroeville (barrister burger).
Here are 20 of those “dishes to eat,” divided by region. Dessert, naturally, is included on our menu.
- Chipotle-Braised Pork Sandwich from Urban Cookhouse (multiple locations).
- Pimento Cheese on Sun-Dried Tomato Bread from Savage’s Bakery in Homewood.
- Shrimp and Catfish at The Ark in Riverside.
- Soul Food at Larkin Restaurant and Deli in York.
- Chocolate peanut butter torte from Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood.