Summertime is a perfect time for exploring your surroundings. Whether you have been here for four days or 40 years, there is always something new to discover. If you are like me, food is always on the top of my priority list and our area has some of the best food that you will find (we might be biased). We have so many, that it was hard to put them all in one post. Get ready for your mouth to water as we break down some of Auburn and Opelika's Best Bites in Part 1 of this exploration of cuisine.
The Hound, a family owned restaurant, brings the outdoors to life in downtown Auburn and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Owners Matthew Poirier and Jana (Caruthers) Poirier successfully and tastefully combined the feel of a hunting lodge with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. From the entry doors, to the barnwood, bar, tables and chandeliers, all were Alabama reclaimed, milled, designed and hand crafted by the Caruthers-Poirier clan. Moving on from their awesome decor, their menu is second to none and is sure to excite your taste buds. Menu items include meatloaf, craft beer braised chicken, 1/2 lb. bacon BLT, wild-game sausage, their Big Fat 16 oz Steak, thick cut bone-in Berkshire chop, home-spun vanilla bean ice cream, and bread pudding with a bourbon caramel sauce, and that is just the beginning. Don't miss this Auburn classic next time you are visiting or just need a night out. For more information, please visit www.thehound-auburn.com. Reservations are accepted for parties of 10 or more.
Personal Favorite:Appetizer: Mama Sue's Pepper Jelly, homemade jalapeno pepper jelly with house cream cheese and crackers.
Entree: Veggie Lasagna, wine stewed mushrooms, onion, spinach, feta, mozzarella, and house made basil tomato sauce.
Dessert: Bread Pudding, with caramel, bourbon sauce... speaks for itself.
Drink of choice: With 28 beers on tap, good luck choosing just one.
Located at 124 Tichenor Avenue in Auburn, AL.
Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m.- 12 a.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m
Saturday: 11 a.m.- 2 a.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Ma Fia's Ristorante & Pizzeria
"Eat well, laugh often, love much." Ma Fia's Ristorante & Pizzaria wants you to take this Italian saying to heart. Ma Fia's prepares handmade Italian dishes prepared in a relaxing, Italian setting. Their specialties include a variety of fresh fish, seafood, meats and pizzas cooked in their one of a kind pizza oven. Their dough is made from scratch daily and rests for 48 hours to ensure a one of a kind taste. With San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy, their sauce will make you want to say, "Buon appetito!"Their menu also features unique Italian specialties such as Seafood Limoncello, Linguini a la Vodka, Wild Mushroom Ravioli, and classics such as Meat Lasagna, Fettucini Alfredo and Shrimp Scampi. Offering just the right mix of flavor and hospitality, I am sure you will feel as though you are dining on the streets Venice. For more information, please visit www.mafiasitalian.com.
Appetizer: Grilled Scallops, grilled crostini, proscuitto, blueberry gastrique.
Entree: Wild Mushroom Ravioli, prosciutto, gorgonzola, red onion and basil.
Pizza of Choice: Margherita, san marzano tomato sauce, roma tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basic and olive oil.
Dessert: Cheese Cake Flan, cream cheese pastry with sugar tuile.
Drink of choice: They have a wide variety of both red and white wines, but I prefer a Chardonnay with my Wild Mushroom Ravioli.
Located at 811 South Railroad Avenue in Opelika, AL.
Sunday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Hamilton's on Magnolia
If you wish to dine and bask in the beautiful Auburn scenery, then Hamilton's on Magnolia is the place for you! Located one block from Toomer's corner, Hamilton's offers an intimate and casual neighborhood atmosphere and is perfect for all kinds of occasions. Whether it is a business meeting, or a party or family event, they are ready to accommodate you. Appetizers, salads and sandwiches are available throughout the day, but the chefs also prepare entrees daily and are as creatively presented as they are prepared. The menu consists of beef, pork, fish and chicken and is sure to satisfy any palate. The patio is a always a great option to relax and re-fuel after a busy day of shopping and exploring downtown Auburn. With live music on Mondays and daily drink specials, Hamilton's has quickly become a hometown favorite, and we can't wait for you to experience why! For more information, please visit www.hamiltonsonmagnolia.com.
Personal Favorite:Appetizer: Hummus, garbanzo beans, roasted garlic and tahini blended together and served with pita, banana peppers, green olives and pickled red onions.
Entree: Shrimp & Grits, Hamilton's specialty with sauteed with Capps' sausage and bell peppers, tossed in a crystal cream sauce served over cheese grits.
Dessert: Irish Creme Brule, rich custard, Bailey's Irish Creme, vanilla sugar, whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Drink of Choice: Hocus Pocus, muddles strawberries, Hypnotiq, Malibu Rum and Pineapple Juice
Located at 174 East Magnolia Avenue in Auburn, AL.
Monday-Tuesday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Located in an authentic 50s soda fountain, Cafe 123 is a fine dining restaurant serving southern and continental cuisine with a hip, vintage atmosphere. Take it from me, you DO NOT want to miss out on this one of a kind dining experience. The menu features hand-cut ribeyes and filets, sushi-grade tuna, and a selection of Chef's specials and fresh cataches. Some local favorites include Beer-Battered Asparagus with Lemon Aioli, classic tableside Ceasar for two and Chef Eron Bass' Beef Tenderloin Napoleon. Wine dinners and other special events will keep you coming back again and again. For more information, please visit www.cafeonetwentythree.com. Reservations are recommended.
Personal Favorite:Appetizer: Fried Green Tomatoes, thick sliced green tomatoes fried to golden, accompanied with a horseradish and parmesan sauce.
Entree: Barbeque Bourbon Salmon, farm-raised Chilean salmon, seared with a barbeque bourbon glaze, served over Oakview Farms creamy stone-ground grits and sauteed spinach, finished with creme fraiche and scallions.
Dessert: Their dessert menu is always changing, but everything I have ever had has been fabulous.
Drink of Choice: Cafe 123 has an exceptional wine list. There is something for everyone!
Located at 123 South Eighth Street in Opelika, AL.
Tuesday-Saturday: 6-9 p.m.
Those are just a few of our amazing dining options in the Auburn/Opelika area. Stay tuned for Part 2 in a few weeks! For more information, please visit www.aotourism.com!
This week in Auburn/Opelika:June 22-23: Camp War Eagle at Auburn University
June 22-26: Summer Ecology Camp, Explorers at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center
June 23: Opelika Mainstreet Farmers Market from 3-6 p.m.
June 23: Summer Swing Concert series at the Municipal Park in Opelika
June 25: The Market at Ag Heritage Park from 3-6 p.m.
June 25-26: Camp War Eagle at Auburn University
June 27: A Day in Clay at the Dean Road Ceramics Studio
For additional information on all events in the Auburn/Opelika area, please visit www.aotourism.com!