The South has always been known for its down home cooking and when traveling to Decatur, visitors are encouraged to bring their appetites. Decatur Morgan County Tourism has compiled a list of the best Southern-style restaurants featuring soul food, comfort food and homemade meals.
“When heading to Decatur, you better bring your appetite,” said Decatur Morgan County Tourism President/CEO Danielle Gibson. “Many of us find comfort in the food our grandmothers served, and in Decatur there is no shortage of restaurants that specialize in delicious down home cooking and soul food. All of these places serve irresistibly homey eats closely resembling grandma’s cooking.”
Caddo Cafeteria (6091 County Road 434 in Trinity) serves all of the comfort food a heart desires including chicken and dressing, meatloaf, hamburger steak, chicken and dumplings, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, fried okra, pear salad, deviled eggs and a variety of homemade desserts. Its white cream corn is one of the most popular dishes and was named one of the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama by the state tourism office. To satisfy a range of appetites, they offer full or half portions. For more information, visit www.caddo-cafeteria.com.
Country Plate Café (4150 Highway 231, Suite 3 in Laceys Spring) serves only breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and breakfast only on Saturdays. Meals at this small town cafe are full of flavor and served with an extra dose of southern hospitality.
The Freight House, located in the historic L&N freight depot at 200 Railroad Street SW in downtown Hartselle, offers views of passing trains and an opportunity to learn about the role of the railroad industry in North Alabama. A large bowl of pinto beans and turnip greens with cornbread is a crowd favorite and is on the lunch express available Monday thru Friday. Their homemade cakes and homemade pies are available by the slice or whole. For more information, visit https://www.freighthousehartselle.com/.
Steakdown Street located in the heart of downtown Decatur (107 2nd Avenue NE) offers a country-style breakfast and a meat and three with the menu varying daily. Sunday’s menu includes prime rib with an unbelievable bacon jam. Menus are posted daily at https://www.facebook.com/steakdownstreet/?ref=page_internal.
At Libby’s Catfish and Diner (1401 Highway 67 S in Decatur), don’t be fooled by the name, there is more to enjoy than just catfish. Daily lunch specials feature a meat and three with a different southern-style entrée each day and a variety of homestyle vegetables such as fried green tomatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, pinto beans, fried squash and field peas to choose from.
Mister Henry’s Restaurant (701 Nance Ford Road Southwest, Suite A in Hartselle) offers hearty servings of meat and three with daily specials. Signature items include country style breakfasts, (the popular biscuits and chocolate gravy available Saturdays only), Poulet casserole, chicken and dressing and pepper steak. For more information, visit https://www.misterhenrys.net/.
The Old Cookstove Restaurant (89 Reeder Road in Danville) is a buffet-style eatery featuring traditional American comfort foods cooked just the way grandma did. Housed in a rustic home, the friendly hideaway is located in a quiet peaceful country setting with old hickory rockers on the front porch where guests can sit and relax before or after their meal. For more information, visit http://oldcookstove.com/wp/.
While outside of the Punkin Center General Store (2920 Iron Man Road in Danville) may look like a gas station, because it actually is, it’s the down home cooking that attracts people from around the region. Hearty breakfasts, slow-cooked ribs, made in-house pimento cheese, meatloaf and strawberry pretzel salad are just a few of the highlights.
At Nettie Bells Soul Food (141 Broad Street in Somerville), they pride themselves on using locally sourced vegetables from local farmers. The hand-battered fried chicken, seven cheese macaroni, greasy greens and homemade cakes from scratch top the menu. This hidden gem in the rural town of Somerville is only open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for lunch and early dinner.
For those looking for good soul food, Minnie Lee’s (2618 Highway 31 South in Decatur) checks off every box – flavorful, perfectly seasoned and non-greasy.
Dot’s Soul Food (18152 Alabama Highway 20 in Hillsboro) is a cafeteria-style eatery only open for lunch and just a short drive from Decatur. Stars at this friendly diner include turkey and dressing, fried chicken, fried corn, mac and cheese, speckled butter beans and warm banana pudding.
Due to social distancing rules and regulations, some places may be temporarily closed or have modified hours of operation. Please call before traveling to confirm hours of operation.
For more information on these and other unique eateries in Decatur and the surrounding area, visit https://www.decaturcvb.org/eat/.
Photo caption: Steakdown Street serves everyone’s favorite southern veggies with the menu varying daily.
Photo credit: Visit Decatur Alabama Ambassador Connie Pearson.