Irondale Cafe, Irondale, Alabama
In 1932, Bess Fortenberry, author and actress Fannie Flagg’s great-aunt, took over a hot dog stand and renamed it Irondale Cafe. The restaurant has served fried green tomatoes for years, but they became much more popular after Fannie’s novel-turned-movie Fried Green Tomatoes premiered and people discovered that Irondale Cafe was the inspiration for the Whistle Stop Cafe from the book. Current owner Jim Dolan purchased the restaurant in 2000 and has continued serving classic Southern food, including 400 to 500 pounds of green tomatoes a week. The cafeteria-style cafe’s recipe is simple, but the perfectly crisp and tart tomatoes are legendary.
Jestine’s Kitchen, Charleston, South Carolina
Jestine’s Kitchen is full of Southern flair and plenty of soul. It’s named after Jestine Matthews, who was born in 1885 in the Lowcountry and lived to age 112. The comforting, delicious food she cooked for generations inspired the restaurant’s menu, and the fried green tomato is right at home among the classic Southern offerings. Beloved by customers, Jestine’s green tomatoes are thinly sliced, dipped in an egg wash, tossed in a simple breading before frying, and served with a house-made Sweet Pepper Relish. They can be ordered as a starter, on a salad, or on the BLFGT [bacon, lettuce, fried green tomato sandwich].
Photos courtesy of James Patterson, Jeff West, Carmen Rockett, and Morgan Myers.
This content was originally published in the July/August 2017 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. © 2017 Hoffman Media
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