Eating out is a luxury for some and a necessity for others. Some people don't know how to cook, so they eat most meals out. Others are too busy to cook. Everyone enjoys the social aspect of meeting friends at a favorite restaurant to share a meal. Here's my impressions of some current and historic (closed) restaurants in Huntsville.
The Melting Pot is located at 340 Bridge Street Town Centre, Suite 202 in the only building in Bridge Street with a second floor. There's an elevator, so it's easily accessible to everyone. A tour of the restaurant reveals that it has sharp, clean modern design. This is the first restaurant I've seen where booths and rooms are easily rearranged to fit the customers. Walls can be removed or added to adapt the seating to the situation.
Cotton Row Restaurant 100 South Side Square (256) 382-9500. This little gem of a restaurant is in downtown Huntsville, right across from the Court House. It's an American bistro. The atmosphere is very comfortable and cozy. Attention is paid to every little detail. Everything is beautifully served with elegantly designed contemporary china. The white tablecloths and the lighted candles add to the elegance. In warm weather, diners have a choice of eating inside or out on the patio. The restaurant still retains character and charm from the past, with its interior brick walls and historic wine cellar.
Watercress restaurant has two locations: downtown Huntsville at 515 Fountain Row and in Bridge Street across from Monaco Pictures. Watercress is named after a historical fact about our area. New Market and Madison County were known as the "Watercress Capital of the World" in the 1940's. The food at Watercress is fine dining with an affordable menu featuring Southern food with a French influence.
Wintzell's Oyster House, 500 Sanderson St., came to Huntsville in December 2009. This Gulf Coast Seafood goldmine is tucked in behind the Hampton Inn off University Drive (where Green Hills Grill used to be). Wintzell's has filled a void in fresh seafood in Huntsville. Dating back to 1938, there are 10 locations of Wintzell's scattered throughout Alabama & Mississippi.
5. Pauli's Bar & Grill7143-C University Drive/72 W, Madison (256) 722-2080. Pauli's Bar & Grill in Madison is the perfect dining choice for the discriminating food connoisseur looking for something different and sophisticated in their eating experience. Pauli's provides a romantic setting for any special occasion and a menu as diversified as any you'll find in the Huntsville area.
Emma's Tea Room is a wonderful dining experience for ladies. Any one who knows me, knows that I'm passionate about tea parties and tea rooms. One of my hopes and dreams has been for a tea room in Huntsville. In March 2006, Rebekah Klein, a retired English teacher, answered my prayers and opened Emma's Tea Room (named after her 7 year old daughter) at 401 Pratt Avenue in Huntsville.
February 2007, Restaurant Partners, Inc. opened its second location of their popular Grille 29 restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama. The first Grille 29 is located in Tampa, Florida. This fine dining, non-smoking restaurant is a unique eating place for Huntsville. It features towering windows, an elevated bar area complete with a 400 gallon salt water fish tank, and a private banquet area and serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Mezza Luna is a wonderful Mediterranean-Italian restaurant in Huntsville in the Jones Valley Shopping Center, next to Another Beaten Egg. Chef and co-owner, Jason Schauer, mixes his Southern roots with Italian cooking to make a unique menu at slick restaurant.
101 Main St, Madison AL; Phone: 256-461-8096. I ended up eating at Main Street Cafe twice within a few weeks of each other. I found the place totally delightful. There is a big crowd from NASA there during the lunch hours, so it's best to come early or late to allow them room or, if you're in a hurry, tell the waitress and she can expedite matters.
One of the things I absolutely love about this place (besides the food) is its decor and ambiance. I'd rather eat in a beautiful place with mediocre food any day than a scruffy place with fantastic food (at least that's what I tell people!).
619 Meridian Street (behind Sherwin Williams Paint Store), Huntsville AL; Phone: 539-8001. The Furniture Factory Bar & Grill opened in early October 2001. It is a unique eating place, with sturdy Mexican and wrought-iron furniture for sell.