Best Meat and Threes in Alabama

Special Reports

NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) — Every day, hundreds of people come here to City Cafe in downtown Northport to eat breakfast and lunch.

The business offers a wide variety of tasty Southern food. City Cafe, which first opened in 1931 is known in Tuscaloosa County for its meat-and-three lunches. It’s something different every time, but whatever it is, you can bet its going to taste good.

“Each day, we have something different on the menu, like Monday we have Meatloaf Day,” City Cafe co-owner Geanie Brown said. “Tuesday is Chicken and Dumpling Day. Wednesday barbecue pork. Every day, there is something different. We will have your staple items like beans and peas and your potatoes and mac and cheese. Those are on there every day, but usually, we rotate some things throughout.”

Patsy Stewart and her husband, Richard, have been eating lunch here since 1968. Their favorite day of the week for eating is Tuesday, or Chicken and Dumplins Day.

“You always want to come on Tuesdays because not only is it Chicken and Dumplings Day, but it’s Fried Green Tomato Day,” Stewart said. “Tuesdays is Fried Green Tomato Day and he has to come every Tuesday so he can get his fried green tomatoes.”

Brown said she has bragging rights at City Cafe. In 2017, the restaurant was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s magazine “O” for serving some of the best food in the South.

“I think our food is consistently the same and our food is prepared the same every day so our food tastes the same,” Brown said. “When people come back, they want their food to taste the same and look the same and prepared the same.”

An hour down the road, those who love good soul food and country cooking can get a similar experience at Niki’s West on Finley Avenue in Birmingham. The restaurant has been in business 63 years serving up some of the best tasty meat and three vegetables in Central Alabama.

“The food is good and the service is great, they get you in and out of here,” longtime customer Bernard Price said. “My favorite food here is the meatloaf and rice and gravy so the food is always good, man.”

Teddy Hontzas, co-owner at Niki’s West said that new customers are always blown away by all the choices at the restaurant.

“When new people come to the restaurant, I think they are blown away by all the choices we have,” Niki’s co-owner Teddy Hontzas said. “We have ten entrees, 40 vegetables, we have 15-20 salads and homemade breads and pies,” Hontzas said.

Whatever your flavor, most Alabamians can agree the area has some of the best food anywhere.


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