7 Things Not to Miss in Huntsville
History Lesson: The Final Frontier and an Artists’ Mill
Space and Rocket Center
According to most history books, Alabama is not known for being particularly progressive, but what many people don’t realize is that America would not have gone to space if it weren’t for the scientists and researchers in Huntsville. Explore technology used to put man on the moon as you check out moon rocks, eat astronaut food, and experience life at an International Space Station. With several permanent and rotating exhibits, there is always something for the inquisitive Earthling.
Harmony Park Drive-Thru Safari
About 20-miles southeast of the city, Harmony Park Drive-Thru Safari is a privately owned zoo that hosts everything from zebras to bison to peacocks. You can feed the animals right from the safety of your car, but be warned: they can get a little overly friendly. The owners are accommodating, and there are some areas where you can get out to explore smaller animals scurrying around. Be sure to call ahead and make sure they are open, as it is a seasonal venue, and the hours can be sporadic.
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment
Lowe Mill is quite easily one of the coolest places in Alabama, if not America. Converted from an old cotton mill, it's officially the largest independent center for the arts in the country. With space for over 120 working artists, restaurants, and small businesses, they also have live performance venues and regularly put on theatre and musical productions. It’s an eclectic blend of media and people that you really have to experience for yourself.
Betty Mae's Restaurant
Located at 1222 Grace St NW, Huntsville, Alabama here is where you'll find soul food with Fast & friendly service. Their fried okra and some of the best collard greens along with their cornbread and famous Red velvet cake is absolutely amazing!!
website: Betty Mae's Restaurant
Another Huntsville favorite for good ole fashion southern cooking. Some of the local favorites are the beer batther Fish & Chips, Stuff 'N Waffles and
Website: Metro Diner
Soul food of Huntsville and one of the top favorites in the valley welcome to Sac's Kitchen. Located at 6008 Ste B Mastin Lake Road Huntsville, this cafe not only provides AMAZING SOUTHERN SOUL-FOOD, but also is an advocate for the homeless community. From their famous Fried Green Tomatoes to their Fried Chicken and soul food desserts, you'll love this place if you love southern cuisine!
website: Sac's Kitchen
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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- A personalized license tag on the late-model muscle car reads "BTY MAE." The vehicle is parked at the top of a long driveway leading up to the soul-food lunch-joint Betty Mae's Restaurant.
Betty Mae's is housed in a yellow cinderblock building on a street that's otherwise mostly residential, which is poetic since this 5-year-old restaurant's food tastes like it was made in a mother's kitchen. Even the sign atop Betty Mae's is emblazoned with the subtitle "Home Cooked Meals."
Parking on the street and striding up the driveway, you pass through a rust-colored wooden fence before arriving at the eatery's entrance. Inside, you wait in line in front of the counter, where a friendly gal in a pink Betty Mae's tee took our order, which is brought to your booth or table in an adjacent dining room when it's a go.
The Betty Mae's lunch is simple. You pick one meat, two vegetables, one drink, one dessert and your choice of cornbread muffin or roll for $7.99 Monday through Friday and $9.99 Sunday. Options are listed in orange marker on a whiteboard to the left of the counter and open kitchen. On a recent Monday, there were seven meats, 14 veggies and five desserts to choose from.
I opted for the fried chicken, mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes and red velvet cake. The mac-and-cheese was special, doing that soft-warm-savory thing all excellent versions of this classic down-home side do. The cheese was more yellow than orange, and occasional large flecks of ground pepper lent subtle individuality to the dish, without distracting from the fact that this mac-and-cheese was made by someone who grew up cooking Southern food and not a hotshot expatriate chef looking to "get authentic."
The mashed potatoes were yummy and homey. But to be honest, I wanted to allocate as much starch-space as possible towards the mac-and-cheese, so only took a couple bites of the spuds. The fried chicken's breading was seasoned with delicate amounts of salt and pepper and the meat was fried enough to have corner crispiness without being car-crash crunchy. If the chicken would have been a breast instead of three wings, this option would be a windfall. As is, there wasn't quite enough meat for me.
Red velvet cake can sometimes be boring in the taste department, but Betty Mae's was ultra-moist and topped with delicious white frosting.
We also placed an order for chicken-fried-steak, collard greens, fried green tomatoes and peach cobbler. The collard greens tasted fresh – like they'd recently been yanked out of a garden. Fried green tomatoes could have benefitted from a little more breeding and a pinch more seasoning. Betty Mae's chicken-fried steak may not be pretty, but it was rich, heavy and great – similar to how vocalists such as Cee Lo Green and Ann Wilson may not be sex-symbols but sing like angels.
The peach cobbler? Mighty fine, with cinnamon notes and the right mix of gooey and crispy.
Another of our orders consisted of fried catfish, yams, turnip greens and sweet potato pie. The catfish was probably the Most Outstanding Meat we ordered - country-style, well-seasoned breading on two fillets. Not too much, not too little. The yams' sweetness was a bit loud, but this is a side known for sweetness. Turnip greens had a salty zip and were cooked to an enjoyable consistency. The sweet potato pie was cinnamon-y and flakey, if a little vertically challenged.
Everyone in our dining party opted for cornbread over rolls, and these flakey, not-too-heavy, home-style muffins did not disappoint.
Drink options include water, unsweet tea, sweet tea and, fantastically, Kool-Aid. The sweet tea was swimming with enough sugar to decompose elephant molars...In other words, exactly how we like it in The South. Betty Mae's yellow dining room walls are decorated with funny sayings, including "Unattended children will be given an espresso and free puppy." Forget the espresso, give the kids some of this Kool-Aid and they'll be amped like John Belushi.
Betty Mae's Restaurant
1222 Grace St. N.W.
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Recommendations: Fried catfish, mac-and-cheese, collard greens, peach cobbler.
Suggestions: Order the Kool-Aid. Where else can you?
Vegetarian-friendly: No. All veggies are seasoned with turkey.
Price range: $7.99 weekdays, $9.99 Sundays.
Occasionally, everyone has a taste for some good Sunday southern cooking. Nothing speaks more to the spirit than soul food. We know that we can’t make it every occasion or Sunday but don’t want to miss out on a happy stomach. A piece of home can make everyone’s day brighter. Here’s a couple of restaurants that’ll satisfy your cravings!
1. Betty Mae’s Restaurant
Betty Mae’s Restaurant is exactly like the sign says—home-cooked. Each meal tastes like every item was prepared from scratch. If you’re looking for that grandmother-like touch, here’s the spot. Betty Mae’s offers a daily special for each day of the week. Each meal comes with a meat of your choice, two sides, cornbread or roll, a dessert, and a drink. If you’re a fan of banana pudding, theirs definitely filled with love, very yummy. The service is speedy, and you don’t have to wait a long period of time. Betty Mae’s Restaurant offers to-go and dine-in services.
- Address: 2007 N Memorial Pkwy #L, Huntsville, AL 35810
- Contact: (256) 746-4159 | Facebook
2. Mizz JuJu’s Food & Beverage Distribution
Mizz JuJu’s Cafe is a Mississippi/ St. Louis, Missouri fusion food. Mizz JuJu’s offers a variety of food daily. Each day their menu features a new special. If you love trying new things and like switching your diet, here’s the spot. Each meal offers meat, two sides, a roll, a drink, and dessert. Mizz JuJu’s are known for their homemade butter-fold yeast rolls and tasty sides such as 4cheeze macaroni, Rotel checker fries, fried okra, and cheezy baked spaghetti. Mizz JuJu’s also have their special drinks, bubbas sweet tea, ocean water lemonade, and features happy hours with Hennessy pints. Orders are to go only, and you can text to place your order. Cash app is accepted.
- Address: 2022 Jordan Lane suite B, Huntsville, Al 35816
- Contact: (256) 970- 5339 | Instagram
3. Sac’s Kitchen
Sac’s Kitchen is a family-oriented business. The employees are very amiable and down to earth. Great service, and the food is fixed right in front of you. Sac’s Kitchen offers appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees. Each meal consists of 1 meat, 2 sides, and a bread of your choice. Sac’s is known for its tasty oxtails, hamburger steaks, and mac n cheese. Sac’s serve large portions for a reasonable price. Thursdays, Sac’s have a Caribbean night from 6 pm- 9 pm. They also offer online orders with GrubSouth.
- Address: 6008 Mastin Lake Rd NE B, Huntsville, AL 35810
- Contact: (256) 746-9030 | Website
4.S&V Down Home Cooking
S&V Down Home Cooking is the closest to homemade there is. The food is seasoned to perfection and almost tastes as if your great auntie made it. If it’s something you want and it’s not on their menu, they’ll consider requests! Yes, requests! Their specialty is their chicken and dressing; it’s a must-try!
- Address: 1407 Memorial Pkwy NW, Huntsville, Al 35801
- Contact: (256) 715-0786 | Website
5. Niyah’s SouthernDeli & BBQ
Niyah’s Southern Deli & BBQ is last but not least. They offer a variety of food cooked and prepared with love. The owner is very kindhearted and passionate about what he does. Not only lunch is served but breakfast too. Niyah’s Southern is known for its smoked cajun turkey legs and loaded dirty rice. Here your meal consists of 1 meat and 2 sides. Stop by Niyah’s and grab some of your favorites!
- Address: 11560 Memorial Pkwy SW, Huntsville, AL 35803
- Contact: (256) 881-6300 | Facebook
All of these restaurants are great places to eat if you’re in the Huntsville area. There’s nothing like having a home away from home when it comes to meeting your tastebuds’ needs! Please go check out these soul food places and tell us what you think! Be sure to let us know your favorite spots away from home!
What is your favorite soul food restaurant in Huntsville? Tag us @thebamabuzz and let us know!
Kennedi KippArticles: 5
In huntsville al soul food
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