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McCutchen's Magnolia House: Hidden Gem in Scottsboro

Scottsboro, Alabama is located at the crossroads of Alabama Highways 72E and 35. When you're in a hurry (for example, if you have grandchildren waiting in Rome, GA), it's often easy to just make a quick stop for gas or food at one of the chains on Highway 72. But, if you have a little more time to spare, there are some hidden gems to find and enjoy. McCutchen's Magnolia House at 303 East Willow Street is one of those gems.

The house was built in 1890 in what was considered to be the perfect spot. Those who lived there were close enough to walk into town or far enough out to have all the joys of farm life -- a barn, a garden, an orchard. The original owner, Mr. J.D. Snodgrass, was elected mayor of Scottsboro the same year the house was constructed. He ended up serving as mayor for 42 years! His son Prentiss Snodgrass lived in the home until his death in 1967, at which time his sister, Mary Snodgrass McCutchen became the owner. She lived in the house until 1975, then the house remained vacant until 1977 when it was renovated to be a restaurant. It is easy to imagine the whispers of long ago stories when you enter and as you're seated inside.

Magnolia House is best known for the hot bar offered at lunchtime. The line can get a little long, but at least you walk away from the hot bar with your food ready to eat. Generally, diners may choose from 3 or 4 meats and at least a dozen vegetables. When I was there, my group decided to order from the menu. Our burgers were outstanding!

The structure itself could use some TLC (which I suspect would be rather costly), but for now, Scottsboro folks appear content to come in for a noontime meal in a vintage setting. It's open from 11:00 to 2:00 seven days a week, so you might want to try it if you're in Scottsboro during those hours.

Other hidden gems we've found are Payne's Sandwich Shop & Soda Fountain (over 150 years old and reminiscent of the 1940s and 50s) on the courthouse square and 50 Taters (menu similar to Cracker Barrel), only a block or two off of Highway 72. Unclaimed Baggage is likely the most popular business in town, and the Scottsboro Boys Museum tells the sad story of an event that brought Scottsboro to the nation's attention in 1931. Take note that it is only open from 10:00 to 4:00 on the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of each month.

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