This Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start to summer. This season is a great time to plan day trips or weekend getaways within the Yellowhammer State. Take time to explore Alabama this summer.

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A great way is to experience Alabama is through its cuisine. I’m often asked how I find these new places to check out. My secret, I ask the locals where to eat. Trust me; they tell you the truth on where to go and where NOT to go. I feel that in trying new restaurants in different Alabama cities gives you an appreciation for other cuisines and cultures.

You are going to want to bookmark this story. Here is my hit list (part 1) of restaurants to visit outside of Tuscaloosa. If you have a restaurant that you would recommend to me, click here to email me. I would love to try something new as well.

You can have a bite of Montgomery history at Chris’ Hot Dogs that was established in 1917. They serve up great hot dogs at a great price. Whatever you do, be sure to order the Chris’ Famous Hotdog, which has “mustard, onions, kraut, and Chris’ famous chili sauce.” They also have killer hamburgers, chicken fingers, and a chicken salad plate. Click here to find out more about Chris’ Hot Dogs.

If you are ever in Selma, Alabama, you need to make a plan to stop at Hancock’s Bar-B-Que. It’s something about that sauce that you will lick your plate. I like getting the rib combo with baked beans and bbq cabbage. Next time I’m down that way, I’m going to try the Conecuh Slaw Dog. I just might have to find an excuse to take a drive to Selma this weekend; the camp stew is calling my name. To find out more about Hancock’s Bar-B-Que, click here.

If you have never had German fare, you are missing out. At Hildegard's German Cuisine in Huntsville, Alabama, they offer a great selection of German meals. I love the Geschnetzeltes (Hunter’s Stroganoff), which is “tender pork, mushrooms, and onions in cream gravy with smoked paprika.” If you are new to German food, I suggest starting with authentic German sausages and then branch out from there. Click here to get more info on Hildegard's German Cuisine.

I couldn’t keep my parents out of Niki’s West Steak and Seafood in Birmingham. It was the combination of friendly folks and good grub. It is set up cafeteria-style, and I get overwhelmed with all the choices, “eyes bigger than my stomach” syndrome. Beef Tips, Greek Chicken, Liver & Onions, you name it, it’s good.  To find out the daily specials at Niki’s West click here.

Two words for you, “Dutch Baby” from the Original Pancake House, is AMAZING. It tastes like angels on Earth make these heavenly creations. Before you get on me, I know they are located all across the United States, but there is only one in Alabama, and that’s in Birmingham. Their omelets can feed a small army, pancakes slap, and the bacon waffle will make you reevaluate life. Everything is good. It is most def my go-to for breakfast. Click here for more 411 on the Original Pancake House.

Need a little bit of a New Orleans fix? Well, head over to The Po Boy Factory in Huntsville, Alabama. Believe me, you are going to want to try everything on the menu. The Oyster Po Boy is my go-to sandwich. The Etouffee is top-notch. The bread pudding with whiskey sauce tastes like you are sitting on Bourbon Street. Click here for more details on The Po Boy Factory.

If you can’t tell, I like oysters. Therefore the Wintzell’s Oyster House is on my list. If you are ever in Montgomery, be sure to stop by. They offer more than oysters like a blackened Mahi dinner that is delicious. I’m there 100% for the Bienville oysters and Alabama Blue Crab claws. And before you ask, I will not share my oysters. Click here to check out the menu at Wintzell’s Oyster House.

There are so many other cities in Alabama to cover. So, there will be a part 2 and maybe even part 3 to this hit list of Alabama restaurants to try.

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