Sick and tired of national chains with bland food and sub-par service? We are too. That's why we've compiled a list of some of the best locally owned restaurants from all across North Alabama you need to check out. From BBQ joints to fine dining and everything in between, there's something here for everyone in the family. So next time you're looking for a bite to eat, we've got the spots worth checking out.
Swamp John’s – Red Bay
You may have stopped by their restaurant in Muscle Shoals or gotten a plate from a local fundraiser, but did you know their original location was in Red Bay. And while the outside might not look like much, trust us…the fried catfish and hushpuppys will keep you coming back for more.
Located at 5181 Hwy 24.
Taylor’s Restaurant – Russellville
Taylor’s offers some of the best southern cooking in North Alabama and is a must stop if you ever find yourself in Russellville. It’s your classic meat and three, and the desserts are out of this world delicious. Dorthy Taylor still gets up bright and early every morning to make all the desserts from scratch that the locals have grown to love.
Taylor’s is located at 808 Ronnie McDowell Ave.
George’s Steak Pit – Sheffield
This place is perfect for date night, anniversaries or any other special occasion. The secret to their success is their famous open pit, grilling fresh steaks over hickory logs to give you a perfect dining experience that will keep you coming back.
George’s is located at 1206 S Jackson Hwy.
Champy’s Fried Chicken – Muscle Shoals/Madison
Craving some award-winning fried chicken? Look no further than Champy’s, a true taste of the South with every plate and basket made fresh to order. And it’s not just the fried chicken that keeps people coming back, their hand-rolled hot tamales are a must have. And if you go on the weekends, you’re likely to experience some of the best live music the area has to offer.
Located in Muscle Shoals at 120 Second Street, and in Madison at 8020 Madison Blvd.
Stagg’s Grocery – Florence
Locals have been eating here for years with Staggs serving up some of the food around. And while it might not look like much on the outside, don’t let that fool you. This is some of the best eating the Shoals has to offer. With their famous chocolate gravy for breakfast and incredibly delicious burgers for lunch, you’ll want to get there early because this place gets packed fast.
Staggs is located at 1424 Huntsville Rd.
Southern Farm Table – Florence
Located on the outskirts of Florence in an old gas station, this southern-style buffet is well worth the drive and is one of the best kept secrets in North Alabama. The fresh vegetables, delicious fried chicken and catfish and some of the best homemade desserts will remind you of Grandma’s home cooking. Check them out of Facebook to see what they’re serving up every weekend.
Southern Farm Table is located at 4160 County Road 200.
Kreme Delite – Athens
You can’t talk about Athens without talking about this iconic ice cream stand. This place has been a staple in the community ever since it opened and has been serving up some of the best soft serve around for generations. And it isn’t just the ice cream. Did we mention they serve hot dogs too?
Kreme Delite is located at 401 W Washington St.
Village Pizza – Athens
Right in the heart of downtown Athens, this place has delicious pizza and wings and an outstanding selection of local beers on tap. Couple that with a great atmosphere, and you’ve got a great dining experience the entire family can enjoy. And after you’ve, you’re within walking distance to some of the best local shops in Athens.
Village Pizza is located at 222 W Market St.
Western Sirloin Steakhouse – Moulton
If you ever find yourself heading down Hwy 157, do yourself a favor and stop in here for a bite to eat. Their steaks, chicken and catfish and one of the freshest salad bars in the area has made this rustic, western style steakhouse a local favorite.
Western Sirloin Steakhouse is located at 11383 AL-157.
The Brick – Decatur
A regular spot for the locals of Decatur, the food here is just as good as the atmosphere with live entertainment most weekends. But it’s not just dinner and late-night drinks at The Brick, this place has become a lunch hotspot featuring some of the best sandwiches and soups in the Tennessee Valley.
The Brick is located at 112 Moulton St E.
Let’s Do Lunch – Decatur
The name pretty much says it all, right? This cozy little spot has been putting smiles on faces for over 30 years featuring a rotating menu of featured items everyday and a few local favorites such as chicken and tuna salad, pimento cheese and some of the best desserts around. And their cornbread salad was named one of the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama.”
Let’s Do Lunch is located at 435 Holly St NE.
Ol’ Heidelberg Cafe – Huntsville
Family owned and operated since 1972, Ol Heidelberg Café is one of the oldest restaurants in the Rocket City, serving up some the best and most authentic German food around. Never tried authentic German food? Don’t worry, the friendly staff will be more than happy to explain the different dishes to ensure that you leave full and happy.
Ol’ Heidelberg Cafe is located at 6125 University Dr NW.
1892 East – Huntsville
This farm to table restaurant is in the historic Five Points neighborhood, and they work with local area suppliers to bring you some of the best and freshest food around. Their menu changes seasonally, so be sure to check them out online before you go. But no matter what they’re serving up, you’re bound to leave with a delicious meal at an affordable price.
1892 East is located at 720 Pratt Ave NE.
Rock House Eatery – Guntersville
A well-known spot to the locals, this place is well worth the drive out to Marshall County to experience Southern gourmet dining at its finest. Everything is homemade and fresh, and whether you’re craving steaks or seafood, a juicy burger or delicious pizza, this place has something for everyone.
Rock House Eatery is located at 1201 Gunter Ave.
Speedy Gonzales Tacos – Boaz
You might not think of Boaz when you think of authentic Mexican food, but this hidden gem has been serving up some of the best tacos and tamales to the locals for years. You’d be hard pressed to find better Mexican food at this affordable of a price.
Speedy Gonzales Tacos is located at 2121 US-431.
Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain – Scottsboro
This is a true old-fashioned soda shop celebrating over 150 years of business and is worth the drive no matter where you’re coming from. Whether its their famous red slaw dog or the massive Dagwood sandwich, there’s nothing on the menu that isn’t delicious. And do we even have to say it…you gotta save room for seeing as their ice cream is some of the best in North Alabama.
Payne’s Sandwich Shop is located at 101 E Laurel St.
50 Taters – Scottsboro
Great food. Huge portions. What more do you want? You’ll often find the locals lined up at the door waiting for them to open as this place offers several menu options that has a little something for everyone. They’ve got burgers, BBQ and massive loaded potatoes and sandwiches. We promise you won’t leave hungry.
50 Taters is located at 1497 County Park Rd.
Vintage 1889 – Fort Payne
Located in the historic Big Mill, this place offers one of the most unique dining experiences in North Alabama. Stop by for lunch and grab a gourmet burger or sandwich or treat yourself to a night out and enjoy their hand-cut filet mignon. They also have an extensive selection of beer and mixed drinks that makes this place a must visit.
Vintage 1889 is located at 151 8th St NE.
Fontana’s Restaurant – Fort Payne
A quaint little restaurant with some amazing Italian and Greek style dishes you’ve gotta taste for yourself. Whether the lasagna and chicken parmesan are more your style or you go for the spanakopita and gyros, the amazing food and friendly staff will win you over instantly.
Fontana’s is located at 100 1st St W.
There you have it! From the Shoals to Sand Mountain, this is just a handful of the local spots worth checking out. Did your favorite spot not make the list? Let's us know.