Tuesday, June 08, 2010


The fare we enjoy during our annual Alabama Golf Outings ranges, as such things tend to do, from the ridiculous to the sublime.

We’ve had tough, gristle-packed steaks at chain restaurants... and, sometimes at the same place on the same evening, others that were “like buttah.”

We’ve traveled to the nasty parts of town for barbecue... because that’s where the best barbecue places are supposed to be. But sometimes it turns out to be more miscue than barbecue.

This year we hit a place called the Golden Rule in Pell City, a wide spot in the road somewhere roughly midway between Opelika and Huntsville. Bartimus Magnificus, a native of Birmingham, gave it the thumbs-up - he had known the place back when it was a one-location operation in Irondale. And, for once, Bart picked a winner. It was no Goode Company, but then again, we weren’t in Texas... and the collard greens were superb.

The next night, instead of the usual eat-a-steak-at-the-faux-Australian-chain-restaurant routine, we got adventurous. Big Marty had done some Internet research and had found a joint called the Po Boy Factory. N’Awlins-style food in northeastern Alabama? We were skeptical, but figured what the hell.

Surprise! This place was the Real Thing, a little chunk of Louisiana in a completely unexpected place. And the food was terrific.

A mess o’ mudbugs, AKA crawfish.

In addition to the expected assortment of po boy and muffuletta sandwiches, the PBF offered piles of boiled shrimp and crawfish, excellent gumbo and jambalaya, and blackened mahi mahi for those who wished something a little less traif. For dessert? Bread pudding with whiskey sauce, along with an assortment of pies... for those who still had the Gut-Room to indulge.

The thing that made the Po Boy Factory stand out, even more than the food, was the friendly, down-home attitude of the staff. It’s a family operation, and it showed.

Po Boy Factory
Big Marty, Bartimus Maximus, Marie Thigpen (owner of the Po Boy Factory), and Houston Steve.

Beat the crap out of that faux-Ozzie steak place, to say the least.

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