The Shoals area is known for music, Helen Keller, the Rosenbaum house, and Southern hospitality. And food. From breakfast to dinner, check out these seven unique local restaurants that you're going to want to dig into.
1. Big Bad Breakfast
Big Bad Breakfast is located in the heart of downtown historic Florence. The concept for the restaurant was developed by Chef John Currence, a New Orleans native and winner of the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef South.
The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, with the entire menu available as long as it is open. They make everything they can from scratch - the biscuits, jellies, bacon, sausage, etc. They have their own Big Bad Breakfast blend of coffee via Royal Cup and their own smoked meats from the Fatback Pig Project in Eva, Alabama.
Creole Omelet - Made with shrimp, andouille, onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and topped with tomato gravy and green onions.
2. Wildwood Tavern
Stepping into Wildwood Tavern is like taking a step into a modern-day saloon, Florence style. Their motto is "Keep Florence Funky." Once inside, be sure to take notice of the artwork where faces have been transformed into hot dogs.
Speaking of hot dogs, Wildwood Tavern is known for their fancy dogs. From the Korean BBQ Dog made with bulgogi Korean bbq sauce and house-made kimchi to the French Dip Dog with toasted mozzarella cheese with basil seasoning and a side of house au just, it's doubtful that you will find the likes of such anywhere else.
3. Yumm Thai Sushi and Beyond
From sushi to Thai, Yumm is the place to go. The inside of the restaurant is modern and upscale, but not pretentious. Menu items include calamari, oysters, spring rolls, lettuce wraps, crab, and filet mignon. The sushi menu is pretty extensive with items such as California rolls, dragon rolls, bubba gump, and white monkey rolls.
For those seeking something light to eat, Yumm serves soups (Thai Chicken Coconut, Lemongrass Shrimp, and Wonton) as well as a side salad. Cocktails are also available.
A landmark institution in downtown Florence, Trowbridge's has been in operation for 100 years. Paul Trowbridge opened the Trowbridge Creamery in 1918 and developed the recipe for orange pineapple ice cream. Later, menu additions included hot dogs and homemade chili.
Trowbridges is still a family operation serving ice cream and sandwiches.
5. Champy's Famous Fried Chicken
Champy's World Famous Fried Chicken looks like one of those joints that you would see near the beach. There is inside dining, but out on the patio is where you want to be.
Champy's is known for their fried chicken which is made from a 40-year-old family recipe. The chicken is not cooked until it is ordered, so it is always fresh and delicious. Everything is fresh and homemade at Champy's, including all of the sides and desserts.
Odette has set the stakes high for casual fine dining. There is an emphasis at Odette on items made in-house, from the bread and house‑cured meats to the roasted red pepper‑thyme ketchup, made from locally‑ and sustainably‑sourced ingredients.
Quality-focused wines, craft beer, classic libations, and cocktails pair well with Chef Josh Quick's menu. Dinner items include Tamarind Curry Catfish, Lemon-Thyme Grilled Chicken Breast, Molasses Bacon-Wrapped Rabbit, Cottonwood Farm Pork Chop, and a Spring Vegetable Plate.
7. Superhero Chefs
Superhero Chefs is an urban eclectic American restaurant with dishes unlike no other. From their amazing Bang Bang Cauliflower to their Juggernaut red waffle sandwich with fried chicken, egg, pepper-Jack cheese and candy'd bacon, you are sure to find something truly unique and delicious.
Chef Darnell Ferguson is not one to shy away from a little competition in the kitchen. He has gone head-to-head against Alex Guarnaschelli and came out the winner. He was also the winner of Giana De Laurentiis' 2018 Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge. And if that was not enough, he even appeared on Beat Bobby Flay (Season 13, episode 8 - Feathered and Fried).
It's easy to find something unique and delicious in the Shoals. For more ideas of where to eat, be sure to check out VisitFlorenceAL.com. And if you are looking for a really awesome place to stay, don't miss my post about The GunRunner Boutique Hotel in Florence.
I was a guest of Florence, Alabama. All thoughts, opinions, and grammatical errors are my own. Credit for the delicious food goes to the great chefs/cooks in the Shoals.