Discover the Soul of the Shoals

Discover the Soul of the Shoals
Claunch Cafe

Staggs Grocery, another old-school stop, is the place to find delicious, no-frills food that has made the small-town joint a staple in the community. It has been at the same location in East Florence since 1937 when it started as a grocery store, and later turned its focus to food service. The good old-fashioned burgers are always a hit, and the biscuits with chocolate gravy, served only on Fridays, are a hot commodity.

Claunch Cafe in Tuscumbia is a cash- or check-only meat-and-three with food so Southern guests feel like they’re eating at their grandmother’s house. The daily menu is made up of rotating iconic dishes such as fried chicken, butter peas, casseroles, meat loaf, and mashed potatoes, and their Pecan Chicken Salad plate is also featured on the list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama. Anything you order from this charming family cafe will taste like the kind of home-cooked meal made with love you’d expect to find in the South.

Odette (Photo courtesy of Florence/Lauderdale Tourism)

Swampers Bar and Grille, located in the Marriott Shoals Hotel in Florence, hasn’t been in business as long as some of the area’s landmark eateries, but it celebrates the rich heritage of Alabama and its storied past. With nightly live music and walls lined with photos and information on the area’s deep musical roots, Swampers is enjoyed by hotel guests and locals alike.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the impressive breakfast buffet includes everything from fresh waffles and omelets to pastries and other morning-meal basics. Executive Chef Garien Shelby says the goal for the menu is to bring creative flair to traditional Southern dishes using fresh and local ingredients as much as possible. “It’s taking a twist on some of the classics,” he says. Named after the Swampers, the famous studio musicians who formed The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section in the area in the 1960s, this lively establishment gives guests a true taste of the Shoals.