5 must-try Alabama comfort food dishes

5 must-try Alabama comfort food dishes
These comfort foods at Alabama eateries are ones you need to try. (Bob Carlton, Mike Kittrell, Haley Laurence)

In Alabama, food is all about comfort. From barbecue to fried chicken to fried green tomatoes, our state knows how to show love through cuisine.

Luckily for us, whenever times are tough and we need a pick-me-up, there are plenty of restaurants that serve amazing comfort food. In fact, there’s so much comfort food in Alabama, it was hard to narrow the list down to 25, much less five dishes. But we did it anyway.

Here are five great comfort food dishes. It’s got a little bit of everything, from dessert to sandwiches to our beloved meat-and-threes. Enjoy!


The Famous Cheesesteak at T-Bone’s Authentic Philly Style Cheesesteaks and Hoagies

1017 20th St. S., Birmingham

When people think of comfort food in the South, a Philly cheesesteak isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. But if you’ve tried T-Bone’s Authentic Philly Style Cheesesteaks and Hoagies, you know it’s the ultimate comfort food.

RELATED: T-Bone’s brings a bit of Philly to Birmingham’s Southside

Owner Anthony Crawford decided to bring to Birmingham the cheesesteaks he loved while growing up in Philly nearly two decades ago. T-Bone’s has had a home in multiple locations since and has amassed loyal customers from all over the area. And after one bite, you’ll know why people drive from all over to get a sandwich or two.

There are plenty of options at T-Bone’s, but you can’t go wrong with the Famous Cheesesteak, which has steak, onions and melted American white cheese, all topped on hoagie rolls he orders from Amoroso’s Baking Co. in Philadelphia. It’s wonderfully messy and even more delicious.

T Bone’s serves up authentic Philly cheesesteaks to a T from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.


A meat-and-three plate at City Café

408 Main Avenue, Northport

The Tuscaloosa-Northport area keeps changing as the University of Alabama continues to grow, but one thing stays constant: City Café.

The classic meat-and-three has been an institution in the area since it opened in 1931, and pretty much everyone, from students to locals to tourists, loves it. It was a favorite of Bear Bryant back in the day and was featured in Todd Blackledge’s “Todd’s Taste of the Town” segments on ESPN.

RELATED: City Cafe makes list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama

City Café has an excellent breakfast, but if you’re in the mood for comfort food, get a meat-and-three plate for lunch. Try the beef tips and rice. Or the hamburger steak. And the fried green tomatoes. Honestly, try whatever you want. We guarantee it’s delicious.

Meat and three from City Cafe among 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.


Mac and cheese at Bottega

2240 Highland Ave., Birmingham

Bottega’s Café Mac and Cheese is a great take on a comfort food favorite. (Bob Carlton)

We try to avoid listing multiple places in one city on these lists, because we love to pass the love around all over the state.

But if you’ve had the mac and cheese at Bottega, we think you understand.

There aren’t many bad homemade mac and cheeses in this world. Most mac and cheeses are tasty. Some are mouthwatering. But then there’s Bottega’s Café Mac and Cheese, which is just otherworldly.

Penne pasta is blended with Grana Padano and cheddar cheeses and a bechamel sauce then cooked in a wood-fired oven, and man oh man. Just look at it. It’s comfort food at its finest.


Ribs at Cooter Brown’s Rib Shack

8464 AL-204, Jacksonville

Everything about Cooter Brown’s Rib Shack is fun.

First, obviously, is the name. Then there’s the sign outside the building that says things like “Best ribs I ever ate,” and it’s signed by “some guy in Memphis.” And then there’s the atmosphere itself, which is fun and eclectic – exactly what you expect from a barbecue joint/bar.

RELATED: Cooter Brown’s ribs make list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama

And let’s get to that barbecue. The pulled pork is magnificent, but you have to try the ribs – they’re in the name for a reason. They’re known for their dry ribs (that have sauce on the side), but also offer wet wings if that’s your thing. While you’re there, try the hillbilly eggrolls for an appetizer. They’re filled with pulled pork, homemade coleslaw and a secret ingredient. And they’re delicious.

Cooter Brown’s ribs make list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.


Anything at Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe

2511 Old Shell Road, Mobile

We can’t have a comfort food list without something sweet on it. You can find the ultimate sweet treat at the family-owned Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe, which has been a Mobile staple since 1947.

RELATED: Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe is an Alabama Maker scooping into its sweet heritage

With dozens of ice cream flavors, there’s plenty to choose from. You can try classics like cookies and cream or strawberry, or unique treats like Creole praline. Be on the lookout for their seasonal flavors as well. During Mardi Gras season, they usually offer King Cake ice cream.

Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe is an Alabama Maker scooping out the goodness from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

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