There has been many articles written about Greenbrier Restaurant’s barbecue and catfish, both pro and con, I think a lot of the negative articles are written by folks who don’t appreciate a country style legacy restaurant. They’re used to to the fancy barbecue and seafood places that are full of glitz and glamour with stainless steel everywhere. As for myself I love to dine at the Mom and Pop legacy restaurants that have lots of ambiance and that stay true to their roots and character. Greenbrier is just such a establishment, having been originally built in 1952 when the main road from Huntsville to Decatur came by right in front of the building. Then to further add to it’s history is the fact that there was a cotton gin across the road where farmers would bring their cotton to be ginned and while waiting they would go across the street and have a meal.
The Greenbrier Restaurant was the heart and soul of the small community of Greenbrier and remained so for many years. Eventually Highway 20 was rerouted parallel to where I-565 is today. The Horton Family of Greenbrier have always owned the building and Jack Webb was the first operator of the Greenbrier Restaurant, and after Webb, the Berzett family operated it until they built Greenbrier Bar-B-Que which is located right off I-565. After the Berzett family left, the Evans family took over and operated still today.
The Saturday evening we visited business was brisk with several large groups dining and a couple more milling around outside waiting for tables. We were lucky and managed to get seated promptly at a table in one of the rooms. Before we even sat down there was a waitress who came by carrying several baskets of hushpuppies hot out of the deep fryer and sat one on our table. We both grabbed for a hot puppy and oh they were so good. These were big chunks of warm cornmeal comfort food, they were deep-fried till they had a creamy texture inside but were still cooked to just the right doneness. The hushpuppies are so good you could make a meal out of them by their self, along with the white sauce that’s on the table to dip them in.
Our waitress came to our table and took our drink and dinner order. We both ordered the large barbecue dinner ($10.00), the dinners came with slaw and choice of fries, baked potato or sweet potato., we both chose the fries. While we were waiting on our plates to be delivered to the table, we kept munching on the hushpuppies, and soon the basket was empty, for about 3 minutes. A waitress came by the table, picked up the empty basket and plopped down another fresh out of the deep-fryer basket full. And right as we were finishing our meal they brought another basket full which I took home with me in a to go box.
Then, our waitress appeared with our dinner plates and the serving platters were huge and deceiving of the amount of barbecue that was on the plate. If the meal had been plated on a standard size plate it would have had to been piled up to get it all on there. I estimated there was at least a 1/2 lb of barbecue on the plate along with a good size portion of fries and coleslaw.
First of all, the barbecue pork had just right amount of smoke in it, there was no room for doubt that the meat had had a long dance with a few sticks of hickory wood. It was moist, tender and still retained it juices. The fries, while of the frozen variety, were cooked to a golden brown and were as frozen fries go, quite good. The slaw was made with a vinegar base, along with a tad of sugar. The taste was actually rounded out very well with just the right amount of tartness to it.
The barbecue sauce is basically a vinegar sauce with spices in it and is what I would call Alabama Red Vinegar Sauce (click for recipe.) Unless you really like the thin vinegar style barbecue sauce I would suggest mixing it together with some ketchup to thicken it up. Personally, I love the thin vinegar style sauce and was delighted to see it offered on the table. It had just the right amount of tangy tartness to it that I like, although, it could have stood a little more of a kick to it.
Also on the table was the mandatory bottle of White Sauce, which should be required by law to be on every table in every BBQ joint in North Alabama. For a recipe and brief explanation of a good North Alabama White Sauce click here.
Even though this was not my first visit to the Greenbrier Restaurant, it had been several years since I had been there because I usually stop at Greenbrier Bar-B-Que, but I think now my habit will be modified. My friend, Bobby was with me and it was his first visit to the Greenbrier and I’m sure it won’t his last either. We both agreed that the meal was delicious and was an exceptional value.
The Brown Bag Review recommends that you take the drive to Greenbrier and visit the Greenbrier Restaurant and give their food a try. They specialize in big groups so take a bunch of friends, your Sunday School Class, or you favorite club members with you. The Greenbrier Restaurant is one of the few old time restaurants that are a destination event, not just a place to stop and feed your face. Tell the Evans boys that you read about them on the Brown Bag Review and they’ll give a free BIG SMILE!
|Suggestions||Barbecue or Catfish|
|Price Range||Most entrees $5 – $15|
|Soft Drink Brand||Coke|