Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe


Of course, you all remember that movie, Fried Green Tomatoes?! Until I moved to Birmingham, I had no idea that the original Whistlestop Cafe was right here in this city and is now called the Irondale Cafe. My friend, Sandi, at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking filled me in on that when I met her in blogland and we became friends and I found out her hubby’s family were one the original owners of the Whistlestop and owned it when Fannie Flagg wrote the book, which then became the movie that so many of us enjoyed. Click here for the story of the original Whistlestop and how Sandi’s inlaws came to own it. It’s fascinating! Being from Georgia, I thought that the Whistlestop originated down in Juliette, GA since that town gained fame after the movie came out and that is in fact where the movie was filmed, but the truth is, this cafe is the one and only original version. So, on a recent Friday, my friend, Debbie and I stopped by on our way to The Lovelady Center (which is not far away) and had lunch at the Irondale Cafe. I had heard about the place ever since I moved here and it was a lot of fun to experience it in person. I have a feeling it hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years and you can imagine the movie taking place right here in this little quaint area of Birmingham, called Irondale.


Complete with it’s own train stop right beside the railroad tracks, it’s a throw back to simpler times. Kind of like Mayberry.


So I sat on the bench for a photo op.


And we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at the cafe, where the wall of photos greets you coming in the front door.


Movie posters are everywhere.


Framed and placed in a prominent spot.


And you go through the line cafeteria style ordering up meat, fresh veggies and dessert. This is a typical meat and 3 and the food is very tasty, just like yo’ Mama would make.


Love the green walls in here, it’s a cute place.


And here’s what Debbie and I had that day, fried catfish for me, smothered steak for her and we split dessert and fried green tomatoes. Hard to keep that girlish figure eating like this, but it sure is good. I figure that’s one of the reasons I go to the gym.


Then, while you’re still in Irondale, you must check out this home decor store called Stray Cats. They use old salvaged wood to build things with and they have some very unique home items. IMG_3795

They make a lot of these vintage beadboard hook boards that I think are just adorable. I’m trying to figure out where I can put one of these.


Lots of old salvage pieces, doors, iron things, mirrors. IMG_3797

You can see here a large bookcase made out of old shutters and wood molding. IMG_3796

And this is a long piece that someone had them custom build for a flat screen TV to sit on. I thought this one was really pretty.


More vintage beadboard lines the back of this large bookcase storage piece. If you get a chance, go by and take a look. They are on Hwy. 78 right in Irondale in a small shopping center. The guy that runs the place is really nice too. Check it out and if you go by tell him you read it on my blog. I told him I’d love to get the word out for him since it’s such a unique shop.

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Kristen said...

Yumm I would love to take a trip to those shops!

I loved that movie and still laugh when I see people taking someone elses parking space...I keep waiting to see someone smash someone elses car

kathi said...

Hi Rhoda,
Love this post! I've been there done that and had a great time too!
Stray Cats is a fun place but a bit
pricey for me. Have you checked out the Mission Possible store on Montclair? There's also a little
antique store up on Crestwood toward the post office that has some great stuff. Keep us posted on the March gathering at the Fairgrounds. Count me in!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Just the sort of wonderful places J and I love to explore on our little trips.

I love repurposed pieces. The shop is wonderful. The little cabinet in our hearth room and the shelf in our laundry are made from salvaged pieces.

The food looks delicious! Fun day!

Terri and Bob said...

Rhoda, I will have to make this trip even if I have to do it alone. I loved the book and the movie!

Ok, I have to ask, what does the sign say on the bottom picture on the black bookshelf? My mind is giving me fits about it! :-)

Rachelle said...

I so want to go to the Cafe...I just love that move...and what fun shops!!!!! Looks like a fun day!

Lisa ~ A Cottage to Me said...

Looks like a neat shop and a fun place to eat! Love those green walls too. I too want to know what that sign says? I can only guess!

Leigh said...

Love the Irondale Cafe!
I didnt know about the shop. Will have to check it out! Thanks!

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Rhoda!
How fun! As a matter of fact, I ate some truly delicious fried green tomatoes last night for supper! My hubby's boss was in from Arkansas, and we were going to take him out to eat in our small town. The restaurant we had planned to take him to had closed! I quickly remembered that a new one had opened up on the other side of town--which only took 5 minutes to get there! We gave it a try and were very pleased!! It was quite delicious! It's called Stella's Bistro, and Stella can make some really tasty southern cuisine!(I was praying the entire meal!!!!)But he was impressed, and we ended the meal with a fancy banana pudding!

One of my close friends has family in place to visit! I'll give you a shout out if I am road tripping any time! We like to go junkin'!


Mom on the Run said...

Cute, I didn't know where the original one was, but now the cafe across from the RR tracks in Kennesaw is called the Whistlestop Cafe. (If you get back here, I hear Trackside Grill across the street is really good, too!)

There should just be one in every little Southern railroad town, don't you think?!

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

Thanks Rhoda, I had no idea! Really thought it was somewhere in South Georgia. I will definitely have to visit both places next time we head to our family's house in B'ham! Can't wait. You know I'll be calling you for directions. How far is Ironside from B'ham anyway? It's my in-laws so I don't know my way like my husband does. Thanks for the pictures, we may have to make a special trip, the family will think we are actually going to see them...shhhhhh.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Looks like a fun day, Rhoda! And I didn't know that about the Whistlestop Cafe! Thanks for sharing.


Sheila :-)

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I have eaten at the cafe in Juliette but had no idea about the original. Love that beadboard cabinet.

Reynie said...

Love the salvage store you went into to. I love how people can recycle old pieces of wood to make new and cool pieces. I always think I'm going to do that myself one day.

marty39 said...

The lunch looked delicious and the little antique shop had so many cute things. Sounds like you and your friend had a fabulous day. Hugs, Marty

Anonymous said...

When we go down to B'ham, we keep forgetting about this place... We may just have to make a trip just for lunch! We've been known to do that. LOL!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Now I've got to stop back by there to see just what that little sign says on the shelf. I think I would have noticed if it was really something profane, as it appears to be! Don't think it was!

KK said...

Two wonderful finds; a great place to eat and to shop. I'll have to make sure my Father-In-Law knows about this. He is in B'ham and at 99, still LOVES eating out!
I enjoy your blog so very much.
Would love to go to the place in Atlanta one day too, what awesome things they have!
Try to stay warm. I just talked to my sister in Col, MS and she said it was 27 there this AM...brrrrrrr.
Blessings always,

Anonymous said...
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Inspired Kara said...

My stomach is GROWLING!!!

Robin @ My Blessed Nest said...

Hi Rhoda, ahhh, my hometown...isn't it great? I need to go to the Cafe again soon! And Stray Cats is one of my favorite shops...did you get to talk to Barney? He's a hoot and an awesome salesman, too! I bought an island there years ago but had to leave it in our former was so cute! I have also bought some great gifts there as well as an iron gate. I love the variety they have!

Robin @ My Blessed Nest said...

Just noticed all of the questioning about the sign in the photo...I think the word in question is "Duck" although I'm not sure! Even so, a little too close to profane for me!!

PamperingBeki said...

I LOVE fried green tomatoes!

Funny enough, I remember eating them as a kid in California! Now I'm in the midwest and I don't know of any place that serves them.

I love that green color on their walls too.

Frantic Home Cook said...

Oh, Rhoda. I want your life. Sigh. But I can travel vicariously through your pics! Visiting your blog is always like a mini-vaca.

Faye said...

So cool to actually visit and eat at the Whistle Stop. I adore that movie and put in the DVD player often to watch again and again. I love Kathy Bates' humor! Anyway, it's been a trip to go along with you to the Cafe :)

Joanna said...

Oh Rhoda...Thank you for posting these pictures. This was just a couple of miles from where I lived when we lived in Irondale. I have so many fond memories of walking from my house to the library which is located right across those tracks. Thank you again for sharing!

Anonymous said...

What a great post, loved this story and I loved the movie too.

I tried to blow up your pics but can't I love to get in real close and peek in those little shops !!!

I can't imagine the sign said anything bad and besides we're all grown ups here right ???

Fun post Rhoda,
Kathy :)

Sherri @ Tea Parties and Toads said...

Hi Rhoda,
I,like Joanna,(who is my best friend in real life)grew up only 3 blocks from the Irondale Cafe and still go to Irondale every week to visit my mother.

You may not have noticed but there is a large old house close to the cafe.One of my friends used to live there and it was the basis for the Threadgoode home in the book.I remember her family also knew Fannie Flagg;wish I did:)

Lazy Mom Leslie said...

You always go to the neatest places! You and your friends have so much fun. If you're ever in TX you'll have to look me up!

Alex and Jill said...

I want to go shopping with you!! :)

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Rhoda~ I'm glad you enjoyed the meal. It sure looked good enough to eat. Just like sunday dinner at Mom's!
I have to stop in at the Stray Cats... I've seen it often enough, but I've never been in.

YaYa's Funhouse said...

I love the pictures!! I love fried green tomatoes too.......mmmmm.....come on over to my blog and get your awards.

Susie from Bienvenue said...

I loved that movie!!! I ate my first fried green tomato about 11 years ago... can I say heaven! Didnt think I would like them but who knew! I love em"
As always thanks for taking us along on your little Rhoda field trips. Always an adventure with you. By the way did you get a look at Eddies new farm house? Sweet~

Sandy said...

Our family just watched that movie! Hey, is Sandi going to Bliss? Would be so fun to meet her. Sounds like a great time and great food :)

Lisa said...

Delish!! Sounds wonderful and what a great movie.

Carrie said...

Thanks Rhoda for sharing this post!! Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my all time favorite movies. And the food in your picture looks to die for!! Ok, now I am HUNGRY!! LOL!!

Hugs!! Carrie♥

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Loved that movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. Looks like you have a super day.

. . . gotta ask though, what does that sign say in the last picture? It looks like "Shut the
_ _ _ _ Up." Now, I'm very curious. I can't image someone putting out a sign like that in a place of business.



Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

I need to find this place next time I'm in Birmingham!

I love that is a classic in my opinion.

Thanks for the virtual shopping trip. I never get tired of those!

Blushing hostess said...

One of my favorite books - still. Thank you for this post! Be well, The Hostess

sarah ~ abeachcottage said...

I love that movie and I've always wanted fried green toms and always wanted to go there...

great post Rhoda


Helen said...

Oh - how I loved the movie and how I love this charming place! I saw a piece of stained glass I would love to have and few other pieces as well ... wish I lived closer!

imjacobsmom said...

You had a fun afternoon! Looks like a wonderful lunch and a fun shop to boot. I've always had a thing for beadboard. ~ Robyn


You always make me wish I was a Southern Belle!


A Hint of Home said...

Looks like a fun place to come visit. I love your new napkins with the monograms.

Desiree said...

Hi Rhoda,
I'm making your Hot Artichoke Dip" for a Super Bowl party we are having. My next door neighbor is moved from B'ham several years and knows this recipie well...she told me I need to double it because everyone LOVES it sooooooo much!
Thanks for sharing the recipie!
PS - You also inspired me to paint a thrifting find...some cute stools. They were a horrid teal color but had "rush" seats! I found them at Goodwill for $12 each! I painted them black and they came out BEAUTIFUL. I don't have a blog (Yet?!?!) but maybe I'll post a photo on RMS! (I'm desid on RMS)

Montee said...

I love fried green tomatoes, the movie and the real thing. I may have to try to make it to Irondale this summer. One time a few friends got together and I said something about fried green tomatoes. My friend who was hosting, said she had some green tomatoes in her garden and wanted me to fry some up. These people had never had any. One lady just thought it was a book and movie. She did not realize that we really eat green tomatoes. The same lady was over at my house once and could not believe people really drink out of Mason Jars. She was excited to drink out of one of mine. Anyway, the fried green tomatoes were a hit! I am so glad I brought a little culture to Bulverde, TX.

Prepster said...

What a great little shop! I love the beadboard!

I've given you a blog award, you may already have received it, but when you get the chance stop by and view it!

Nadine said...

What an interesting story behind the movie. Your lunch looked so very yummy.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

OK, girls for all of you who wanted to know what the sign says, I went back by there today (and bought'll see it on Monday!). The sign says: Shut the Duck up. I'd say that's a definite play on words, don't know what it means exactly, but Barney said he wouldn't have anything in there that was was obscene.

So, there you have it!

Desiree said...

That is exactly what I thought it said!
Thanks for visiting my home on RMS too! I'll try to post the stools this weekend and leave you a note on your blog.
Desiree aka desid

SarahWhite said...

Yo Rho! :)

I lived in Irondale for a year about 18 years ago and loved it. I never ate there, but spent alot of time at the library in that area.

I've heard of Stray Cats, but never been...I'll have to check it out next time I'm out that way. I've been going to the Mission Possible Thrift Store lately when I'm in a thrift store mood. While you are out that should head up Crestwood Blvd. going towards downtown and check out some of the cute neighborhoods on both sides. Avondale is up past those on the left and I believe several of the Cottage Living girls live/lived over there. I also lived in Crestwood and there used to be several antique stores on the right at the stop light. Lots of changes going on over there, but still such a charming area.

I always enjoy your's like a personal tour of Bham for me! Thanks for your sweet words...sorry I'm so behind!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I agree that is a strange saying !!!

Perhaps someone lived near a duck pond and had enough of the quacking and went a little quackers themselves LOL

Kathy :)

sparkled*life said...

Yes that is me oozzing with total envy! What a wonderful trip that must have been from beautiful sites, furniture to eating at the cafe! That looks like so much fun!

Jennifer said...

love the Irondale Cafe and Stray Cats!

Paige said...

Thanks for sharing! I have added these two places to my "Lazy Days" list of places to visit. I can't wait to check both of these places out.

Meeshin' Around said...

Hi there - I found your blog - through another blog - through another blog...BUT today I went to Stray Cats - and LOVED it! I have been looking for a "Z" for our home - and they actually had one. I told the man, Barney (i think) that I found his store through your blog and he thought that was great. Thanks for sharing these neat places!