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Augusta's Sports Grill: Good food in Cullman, AL

We wanted to celebrate. Our Auburn Tigers had just beaten the Kentucky Wildcats in basketball. We were also in the mood to try a new place without having to get all dressed up or drive in Huntsville traffic. We found a great spot.

Augusta's Sports Grill, 609 Graham St. SW in Cullman, is a jeans, ballcaps, sneakers, and t-shirts or sweatshirts kind of place that is wildly popular with the locals and a lucky find for visitors. We arrived at 5:00 p.m. and were told there would be a 30-minute wait. It would have been cold in the car, so we stayed inside enjoying the flatscreen TVs displaying the most popular football and basketball games of the day. I counted 14 TVs in the main dining room, and I'm sure there were more in the side dining room. Steve focused his attention on the games, while I people-watched. As with EVERY restaurant these days, the servers were scurrying around trying to meet the needs of many tables, but they were doing it efficiently and with smiles on their faces. The hostess is actually the owner Debbie Veres. She's so tiny you wouldn't think she ever sits down long enough to eat. I liked the way she polled a particular section to see if the temperature of the room was to their liking and adjusted it accordingly. That's pretty rare.

Before I knew who Debbie was, I asked if she was "Augusta." She said that Augusta had been her grandmother, and the restaurant was her way of honoring and remembering the woman who had had such an impact on her life. She said that her grandparents were farmers and that her grandmother Augusta "could make boiled potatoes and green beans taste good or bread and jelly -- because the jelly was homemade." Debbie shared that Augusta was patient and let her follow her everywhere. She said, "She would have loved seeing all these folks around tables enjoying being with each other."

When I asked our server what she liked about working at Augusta's, she said she liked being busy and the quality of the food was always consistent. Debbie's son Josh has the giant task of managing the kitchen.

I ordered the 8-oz. sirloin with a baked potato and green beans. My steak was cooked exactly as I ordered it, and the green beans definitely did not come out of a can. Great flavor.

Steve ordered the shrimp skewer with a sweet potato and sauteed mushrooms. He was delighted to find a DOZEN shrimp on his plate.

We saw burgers and fish plates going by that looked very appealing, so there are plenty of reasons for us to return to sample more dishes. The 95 health rating was also a welcome sight.

Take note that Augusta's is closed on Sundays and Mondays, open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and only open for lunch on Friday and Saturday.

I believe you will enjoy Augusta's Sports Grill. We certainly did. It has been open for 7 1/2 years, and I predict continued success.

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