Restaurants come and go, but the really great ones stick around for several decades. Some are even still around after a century has passed. Many older restaurants are located throughout Alabama, and the 11 restaurants listed below have truly withstood the test of time.
1. The Bright Star Restaurant, 304 19th St N, Bessemer, AL 35020
Ever since 1907, The Bright Star Restaurant has been serving its customers delicious cuisine, including specialty Greek-style snapper and steak, signature seafood gumbo, luncheon specials, famous pies, etc. The Bright Star is Alabama's oldest family-owned restaurant and it's been consistently rated among the top three restaurants within the Birmingham area.
2. Payne's Sandwich Shop & Soda Fountain, 101 E Laurel St, Scottsboro, AL 35768
In 1869, Payne's Sandwich Shop & Soda Fountain originally opened. In the beginning, it was only a pharmacy. During the 1930s, both a soda fountain and lunch counter were added. The moment you walk through the door at Payne's, it's like stepping back in time. The sodas are made exactly as they were 100 years ago - with hand dipped ice cream and real flavored soda water.
3. Wintzell's Oyster House, 605 Dauphin St, Mobile, AL 36602
Founded in 1938, Wintzell's Oyster House is of course best known for their oysters, whether they're fried, stewed or nude. This restaurant continues to serve only the freshest Gulf seafood.
4. Trowbridge's, 316 N Court St, Florence, AL 35630
Trowbridge's opened in 1918 and is Florence's oldest business still operating in its original location. This old fashioned sandwich shop is best known for its famous orange pineapple ice cream.
5. Irondale Cafe, 1906 1st Ave N, Irondale, AL 35210
In 1928, Irondale Cafe was first opened as a hot dog stand by Emmett Montgomery. Soon after, Maggie Prentice added hamburgers, barbecue and sandwiches to the menu. In 1932, Miss Bess Fortenberry purchased the business and renamed it "Irondale Cafe." Irondale Cafe was the inspiration for Fannie Flagg's story of love, loss and life in the South. Fannie's book is titled "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café," which was later turned into the award-winning film we're all familiar with today. Nearly 100 pounds of green tomatoes are fried each day at Irondale Cafe.
6. Toomer's Drugs, 100 N College St, Auburn, AL 36830
Toomer’s Drugs opened in 1896 and has become important to Auburn fans worldwide. Their menu features a variety of delicious food choices, but nothing beats their "World Famous" freshly-squeezed lemonade.
7. C.F. Penn Hamburgers, 121 Moulton St E, Decatur, AL 35601
C.F. Penn Hamburgers has been serving up slug burgers since 1927, and it's one of the most recognizable hamburger places in North Alabama. In its first 35 to 40 years, C.F. Penn Hamburgers only served hamburgers, cold drinks and milk. They later added hot dogs, chicken fingers and french fries to their menu.
8. Chris' Hot Dogs, 138 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104
Ever since 1917, Chris' Hot Dogs has been serving up their famous dogs with their signature chili sauce. From the 1940s to the late 1960s, this famous hot dog establishment was the hottest late-night spot in downtown Montgomery. It stayed open 24 hours a day and served hot dogs and liquor to pretty much everyone in Montgomery, including the one and only Hank Williams.
9. Big Spring Cafe, 2906 Governors Dr SW, Huntsville, AL 35805
Big Spring Cafe opened in 1928 and is Huntsville's oldest restaurant. As a matter of fact, it's often noted as a city landmark. Their delicious burgers can't be beat!
10. Julwin's Restaurant, 411 Fairhope Ave, Fairhope, AL 36532
Julwin's Restaurant, Baldwin County's oldest restaurant, features an award-winning breakfast and lunch. If you stop by for breakfast, we recommend their Spinach Omelette. If you stop by for lunch, we recommend their Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. Be sure to try them out the next time you're in the Fairhope area.
11. Lloyd's Restaurant, 5301 US-280, Birmingham, AL 35242
Lloyd's Restaurant, founded in 1937, is one of Birmingham's oldest and most popular restaurants. If what you're looking for is a Southern-cooked meal at a price you can feel good about, look no further than Lloyd's Restaurant. This Birmingham restaurant knows the true meaning of Southern-style cooking.
Have you eaten at any of these older Alabama restaurants? What other restaurants would you add to the list?