When I recently spent several days in Auburn and Opelika with the sole purpose of research and exploration, I checked out many places that I had long heard about but had never had a chance to visit personally. Some ended up making the cut to go into my book, while others merely added to my overall knowledge and "sense" of the area.
Breakfast at The Flying Biscuit
The Flying Biscuit, located in Opelika's sprawling Tiger Town shopping/dining district, is a chain that is new to Alabama. There are 16 locations in Georgia, some in North and South Carolina, 1 in Texas, 2 in Florida, but this one, which opened in late 2022, is the second to come to Alabama. It opens at 7:00 a.m. seven days a week. The menu is heavy on breakfast items which can be ordered until closing time in the early afternoon, but it also offers lunch entrees of burgers, sandwiches, and a couple of other full plates. I decided to try the Flying Biscuit Breakfast, but there are MANY options for a future visit -- waffles, French toast, scrambles, and such. I liked the way the interior was decorated with bursts of color and a wall mural dotted with distinctly Auburn icons.
Lunch at Chuck's Bar-B-Q
I wanted to try Chuck's Bar-B-Q at 905 Short Avenue in Opelika for the specific reason that the original owner Chuck Ferrell had hired our son Matt to work for him there when Matt was at Auburn. They met at church. The job was good for Matt. Maybe that's where he learned to love smoking meats, but even more so, the environment was good for Matt. Even though Chuck sold the business to Jody Escoe in 2008, the integrity is still strong and evident. Bible verses line the walls and adorn the t-shirts worn by staff members. Chuck's is closed on Sunday and Monday but serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The sandwich combo of a chipped or chopped pork sandwich, a side, and a drink is only $6.29, so it's budget-friendly. The lunch line snakes around the dining room. Customers wait their turn to order at the counter, then wait a few more minutes for their name to be called. Many people I observed were getting orders to go, but there are plenty of tables inside if you want to eat on the spot.
Chicken, ribs, wraps, salads, stuffed potatoes, stew, and plates make up the small but targeted menu. I confess I don't know exactly what people eat at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. :)
Supper at Sheila C's Burger Barn
When someone tells me they had the "best burger of their life" at Sheila C's Burger Barn, you can be sure I want to taste it for myself. I have to agree with the assessment. The burgers at Sheila C's are literally dripping with fresh, homemade flavor. They are cooked after the order is taken, so there's nothing mass-produced about them. The standard way they are served is with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard, ketchup, mayo, and pickles -- which easily explains the juiciness -- but you can, of course, tell them what to leave off and what to add, such as cheese.
Sheila C's also offers hot dogs, chicken fingers, BLTs, ham and cheese sandwiches, and desserts such as pecan pie, milkshakes, and root beer floats. The prices are very reasonable.
I was there near closing time, so there were very few others in the dining room, although a steady stream picked up food via the drive-through window.
Sheila C's Burger Barn is located at 622 Shug Jordan Parkway in Auburn and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
**As an update, the manuscript for "100 Things To Do In Auburn, Alabama Before You Die" was submitted last week. WHEW!! It is expected to be released in August. Fingers crossed.