The semi-small town of Florence, Alabama, might not have been noticed were it not for sharing a name with a popular Italian city. While the name implies a subset of Italy, the town is really quite the contrary – although it's not full towards the brim with Italian restaurants, it does escape from traditional southern cuisine.
The small city, which sits near to the border of Tennessee as well as on the shores of the Tennessee River, is one that's entirely worthy of visiting. Its restaurants, however, only make this offer even more appealing. When traditional, expected southern food goes out your window, Florence's best restaurants are whipping up an international flavor trip.
Italian In Florence: The Pie Factory
The Pie Factory is definitely hailed as one of Florence's top restaurants, serving up New York-style pizza south from the Mason-Dixon line. Since its opening in 2013, it has become a local favorite and one that has quickly gained momentum with those visiting from on vacation. The restaurant itself features a casual vibe with a gourmet menu, that is pretty with regards to what it's possible to do here with a pizza crust… that also is actually made daily in-house.
Those visiting have options that range from truly southern, like a pork BBQ pizza, to local specialties like the Muscle Shoals Sound, featuring hot sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and parmesan. Intriguing offerings, such as The Sink (literally, everything but the kitchen sink!) feature tomato sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, capicola, prosciutto, onions, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers, asiago cheese, feta, and mozzarella cheese. Those who are rather less ambitious might enjoy The Babe (a meat-lovers) or Granny's Garden Fresh (veggie lovers). The Pie Factory also provides build-your-own pizza options, along with pizza bases of ranch, olive oil, and BBQ sauce. Not feeling pizza? Consider a salad, soup, wings, or perhaps a calzone!
- Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11 AM – 10 PM, Friday & Saturday 11 AM – 11 PM
- Address: 106 N Court St, Florence, AL 35630 (with a lot more locations in Muscle Shoals and Jasper, Alabama)
Southern Food Resulted in In Florence: Odette
Odette has turned into a community staple in Florence and while much of the menu remains in keeping with Alabama's southern roots (looking at you, catfish), every dish is modern and updated. The cuisine only at that bistro is classed as New American with a southern flair, also it certainly delivers that on all fronts. Based on Culture Trip, Odette's owner, Celeste Pillow, continues to be driven to produce a diverse menu that personifies farm-focused, urban-style dining to match chef Josh Quick's bold and vibrant dishes.
If fancy food with a modern twist is exactly what the first is seeking in Florence, then Odette is by far the best restaurant to try some of the state's most prominent dishes. The restaurant utilizes local purveyors, including:
- Bluewater Creek Farm
- Two Brook's Farm
- Simmon's Catfish
- Oakview Farms Granary
- Pillow Farm
- Sonlit Farm
- Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese
As for the menu, Odette is open for Saturday brunch and dinner, and both menus are serving up innovative and inventive southern-style dishes. Southern staples, for example pimento cheese, are jazzed track of a complimentary bacon jam. A little plate of smoked gulf shrimp is served alongside a tasty remoulade, fresh citrus, herbs, endive, along with a rich and tangy bacon vinaigrette. Fried Gulf oysters, grilled lamb meatballs, and crispy potato gnocchi are all mouthwatering additions for individuals who want small examples of each through the small plates menu section. For those seeking a complete dinner, obviously, the cornmeal-dusted Simmons Farm catfish is beautifully done, while other local options such as the Bluewater Creek farm cheeseburger or seared Gulf grouper sound just like delicious. International twists have not been forgotten when creating this type of menu, either, as the Malaysian fried chicken will certainly be a hit.
- Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 5 PM – 9:30 PM | Friday 5 PM – 11 PM | Saturday 11 AM – 3 PM &
- | Friday5 PM – 11 PM, closed Sunday & Monday
- Address: 120 N Court St, Florence, AL 35630
Sushi & More In Florence: Yumm Thai Sushi And Beyond
Not only is Yumm Thai yet another staple in Florence, but it's also located in one of the city's most historic buildings, the Rogers Department Store. As the building has been in existence since 1894, Yumm Thai isn't nearly the old. The inside space from the restaurant features high ceilings with sophisticated, minimal Asian touches such as bamboo against white walls and furniture, giving the entire space a heightened and relaxed feel.
The menu at Yumm Thai features authentic Thai dishes that range from mild to (very) spicy, with a price tag that's far more affordable than many in the region. The upscale vibe from the venue creates a unique experience, as a whole, which is what brings a lot of customers back again and again. On Yumm Thai's menu, guests will find starters, greens, soups, rice & noodles, curries, Yumm Signature dishes, options in the sushi bar, lunch, and desserts. With starters that trigger the mouthwatering with items like potstickers, crispy shrimp rolls, firecracker shrimp, tuna poke, and Thai wings, it's easy to whet one's appetite in preparation for that main course. Traditional Thai curries, including elevated dishes for example Thai duck curry, are a great summary of the flavors of Thailand; while Yumm Signatures include wok-tossed seafood with a chili red curry sauce, drunken crab, the Korean stack with grilled marinated beef, and wasabi-crusted filet mignon.
- Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 AM – 2 PM & 5 PM – 9 PM | Friday & Saturday 11 AM – 2 PM & 5 PM – 10 PM
- Address: 117 N Court St, Florence, AL 35630