The Four place to eat before you die

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2005

Feeling a little ill? Got a touch of the flu? Maybe a bug? A touch of the croup, cough, stuffy head, achy nose? Well, Sonny Jim, forget rushing off to the doctor. Get yourself down to one of these four local eateries and have one last bite of culinary delight before shoving off this mortal coil once and for all.

Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but the good folks at the Alabama Bureau of Travel and Tourism wanted to make sure visitors and locals get a heapin’ helpin’ of southern vittles. So they created a brochure entitled “100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die,” which lists favorite menu items from restaurants across the state.

Dishes from four Selma restaurants – Major Grumbles, St. James Hotel, Tally-Ho, and Our House – are listed among the state’s must-eats.

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The marinated chicken breast sandwich at Major Grumbles, the New York Strip at Tally-Ho, pecan-crusted catfish at the St. James Hotel and tomato pie at Our House were selected as the best dishes to eat in town.

The stage agency compiled the list after months of extensive research that included suggestions from locals, according to ABTT Director Lee Sentell.

“Locals know about these great restaurants and the best things to eat there, but travelers usually rely on recommendations,” Sentell said. “Our office has taken the initiative to make those recommendations.”

Bernice Swindle Gill, owner of Our House, said she was flattered to have her dish included in the brochure.

“I came up with the recipe by accident,” Gill said. “I used the wrong kind of cheese, but it turned out pretty good.”

Other dishes listed on the brochure from this area include black bottom pie at the GainsRidge Dinner Club in Camden and the smoke turkey and hoop cheese sandwiches at The Grill in Thomasville.

The brochure is part of the state travel agency’s theme of “The Year of Alabama Food.”

“This is a neat way to promote Alabama’s food,” said Lori Cothran, executive vice president of tourism for the Selma and Dallas County Centre for Commerce.

Cothran said there are plans to host state-wide recipe contests this summer.

“The details are still in the works, but we will probably have a local tasting or judging contest, and the winner could go on to a district or state contest,” Cothran said. “I want to make sure we have a lot of local people to participate.”

Each recipe in the contest has to include tomatoes, Cothran said.

Sentell said the brochure is available at the state tourism office in Montgomery and the eight welcome centers across the state.

People can also receive a copy of the brochure by calling the state tourism office at 1-800-ALABAMA (252-2262) or visit the list online at