Decatur, Alabama is a picturesque city with a close-knit small town feel nestled on the Tennessee River. It is home to a charming community of restaurants that offer hungry diners everything from modern American cuisine, classic Italian plates, specialty hot dogs and Creole seafood. Read on for our guide to 10 of Decatur’s best dining destinations.
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
A Decatur dining mainstay since its humble beginnings as a backyard barbecue pit established by its namesake back in 1925, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q today comprises of two Decatur branches and a further restaurant in North Carolina. All the usual barbecue fare you would expect is available, like pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked ribs alongside specialty dishes like the hickory-smoked Bar-B-Q chicken served with the restaurant’s signature tangy, peppery white sauce and homemade pies in flavours like coconut cream or pecan. Guests looking to replicate the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q experience at home can also purchase a range of sauces, rubs and cookbooks.
Casual American dining at its finest, Downtown Dawg boasts the honor of being the city’s only hot dog joint, and serves a range of specialty, traditional and build-your-own hot dogs. Diners start by choosing their dog, available in beef, turkey, Polish sausage or even a soy option for vegetarians, and bun (plain, wheat or poppy seed). Next, they choose from options such as the shroom n’ Swiss dawg topped with mayonnaise, sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese or the New York dawg with sauerkraut, onions and Dijon mustard, or customise their own with toppings that include sweet relish, mozzarella and habanero ketchup.
Simp McGhee’s, nestled on historic Bank Street with its boutiques, galleries and antique stores, is just a short walk from the scenic Tennessee River and pays tribute to its namesake and local legend, a gallivanting riverboat captain. Located in a historic building full of old-fashioned charm, Simp McGhee’s fist opened in 1986 and over its years in operation has gained a reputation as a must try Decatur dining destination for its Cajun and Creole-style seafood, steaks and chops. Try a starter of Cajun seafood gumbo followed by fresh fish from Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain topped with bay shrimp, crab, mushrooms and green onions on brown rice, or for a meaty entrée opt for the Bourbon Street pork chop.
The Brick Deli And Tavern
Child friendly during the day and an energetic live music spot at night, The Brick Deli & Tavern is a laidback and locally owned restaurant that specialises in casual American-style fare accompanied by an extensive list of craft draft beers and unusual bottled beer. Its welcoming pub-style interior makes an ideal space in which to feast on its menu of hearty sandwiches, salads and hot dogs, like the Smokey Joe sandwich (sourdough bread stuffed with smoked turkey, bacon, smoked cheddar and Swiss cheese, salad and thousand island dressing). Older guests can stay late and relax to the sounds of local bands with a beer or two.
Open until 2:30 pm from Tuesday to Friday, Timbuck2 Deli is a charming little eatery, conveniently based in downtown Decatur, ideal for a spot of light lunch. Its vibrant, cosy interior with street-facing windows make it the perfect place to relax with a cup of coffee or tea or refreshing beer while its extensive menu of hot and cold sandwiches, wraps and salads include varieties like the Timbuck2 Sloppy Q – pulled pork simmered in the deli’s signature BBQ sauce topped with creamy coleslaw in a white or wheat hoagie bun – and dessert options include ice cream float or white chocolate bread pudding.
Las Vias Mexican Grill
Voted the Best Mexican Restaurant by readers of the Decatur Daily newspaper, Las Vias Mexican Grill is definitely worth a visit for any diner who likes fiery flavor and south of the border-style. The restaurant includes a vibrant interior full of warm colours and a charming covered patio illuminated by strings of paper lanterns, and boasts a menu featuring the finest Mexican cuisine in northern Alabama. Try one of Las Vias’ most popular dishes, shrimp fajitas, for lunch or go for its dinner menu with an entrée of meat lover’s favourite carne asada, steak served with rice, beans, tomatoes, onions and sliced avocado.
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