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10 Places to Eat, Play, & Stay in Auburn-Opelika

Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau
11/30/2017

Acre
Often hailed as one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the state, it’s also one of the warmest and most inviting dining establishments. Chef David Bancroft’s Acre features modern Southern cuisine that is truly inspired.

Because of their dedication to using seasonal ingredients, Acre‘s menu is constantly changing. So depending on the time of year, guests can dine on Southern favorites like The Original Brisket Burger and “chicken fried” chicken for lunch, or elevated supper options including a one-pound “black angus” ribeye with crispy pommes frites, parmesan, rosemary, and fermented black bean truffle aioli or Culver Farms duck breast with Stone Hollow goat cheese risotto, herb salad, ancho chili honey, and ginger croutons.

To make a reservation, plan your special event, or peruse the full menu, visit AcreAuburn.com.

Chewacla State Park
This 696-acre state park is a nature lover's dream! The park features a 26-acre lake ideal for swimming, fishing, or paddling in a kayak or canoe. Guests will also enjoy the modern campground, picnic areas with tables, grills, cabins, and plenty of mountain biking and hiking trails.

Wildlife, waterfalls, flora, fauna, and the joy of the great outdoors will keep nature enthusiasts entertained, while the miles of trails will delight both fitness enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy a simple stroll in the mild weather of the Auburn-Opelika area.

Mrs. Story’s
Small and unassuming, Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar is an iconic must-try eatery in Opelika. Located on Pepperell Parkway, this 1951 mainstay serves mouthwatering chili dogs and milkshakes that are reminiscent of days gone by. Mention Mrs. Story’s to the locals, and you’ll be treated to tales from their childhood of foot-long chili dogs, fried peach pies, and famous milkshakes. Both the destination and the cuisine are bucket list-worthy.


The Depot
Featuring fresh, Gulf Coast cuisine, The Depot is an American seafood brasserie located at the historic Auburn train depot. The only thing that rivals the décor at The Depot is the ever-changing menu. The daily catch and oyster selection change nightly, but you can look forward to a vast assortment of fresh oysters served chilled on ice with green tomato cocktail, horseradish mignonette, and lemon wedges.

Other dinner and lunch offerings include pink peppercorn scallops, blackened Gulf amberjack, 36-day aged Alabama angus hanger steak, main lobster roll, and authentic Baja fish tacos. Executive chef Scott Simpson’s brunch menu doesn’t disappoint either with wood-oven fired quiches, sharable small plates, and plenty of steak, eggs, crab cakes, and sweet dishes to please your palate.

Happy hour, which features specialty cocktails and a bar bites menu, is available from Tuesday through Thursday from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Look out for announcements about The Depot’s monthly wine dinners on Facebook. For reservations, visit AllAboardAuburn.com/Reservations.

Heritage House
We can’t get enough of this boutique bed and breakfast. Restored in 1912, this Southern neoclassical mansion sits on one acre in downtown Opelika. With 5 en-suite rooms, the Heritage House can accommodate up to 12 guests. A full traditional breakfast is served each morning in the home’s dining room with gourmet menu items like homemade brioche praline French toast, Southern three-pepper hash with red onion, and creamy grits with spring onion and New Zealand white cheddar.

Guests of this B&B enjoy luxurious comforts, exquisitely decorated accommodations (including an art collection around the house), as well as an 1800 square-foot wraparound porch, balconies for second-floor rooms, and proximity to shops, restaurants, and galleries.

The Heritage House is also available as a full-service venue for events like wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and cocktail receptions. To check availability, make a reservation, or book your event, visit HH1912.com.

John Emerald Distillery
The state of Alabama was one of the first states in the union to partake in prohibition (5 years before the rest of the country joined in), and now, John Emerald Distillery is the first distillery in the state in 100 years. This small-batch craft distillery is the largest in the state and is ever growing, now featuring its products in restaurants and liquor stores in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and soon adding New York to the list!

If you know anything about Alabama, you know we don't do things like anyone else, and this Alabama Whiskey is no exception. John's Alabama Single Malt is smoked with peach and pecan wood and is ideal for sipping. Also available are Elizabeth Vodka, Hugh Wesley's Gin, Spurgeon's Barrel Aged Rum, and Gene's Spiced Rum. Tours of John Emerald Distillery are available weekly Thursdays through Saturdays.

Marriott Grand National Spa
In 2018, the Marriot Grand National officially became known as a Marriot Resort, making it one of only 54 Marriott Resorts worldwide and 17 in the United States. The 20,000-square-foot spa facility has three floors that each offer an array of services. The retail outlet features a spa product line, ladies’ and men’s quiet rooms, infrared sauna facility, and eight treatment rooms, including two couple’s treatment rooms.

On the second floor, guests can use the facility’s salon for styling, manicures, and pedicures. There is also a bridal lounge for brides-to-be to enjoy luxurious relaxation before their walk down the aisle.

Guests who want to work out can use the facility’s 2,000-square-foot fitness center which features saunas and a 450-square-foot movement studio with instructor-led classes.

To make a reservation or get more information, visit Marriot.com.

The patio at Ariccia Trattoria (A·T)
There’s nothing like dining al fresco in the South. Our springs and falls are glorious, which is why the patio at Ariccia Trattoria is a must-stop spot for dining while you’re in Auburn-Opelika. Located at The Hotel at Auburn University, A·T is a dining experience that categorizes itself somewhere between casual and special occasion. The sophisticated menu and atmosphere create a memorable experience. During spring, summer, and fall seasons, guests delight in the garden-like feel of the patio. Hedges surround the space, and the trickling water from the fountain and charm of the pergola overhead add to the ambiance.

For breakfast, Ariccia Trattoria offers an extensive buffet featuring chef prepared omelets and a bountiful display of traditional American and southern items. For lunch, a casual menu is served with main course salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. A·T also offers daily chalkboard lunch specials like Mrs. Annie's Fried Chicken Fridays.

The Sunday Brunch Buffet is a weekly affair to remember for locals, out-of-town visitors, and hotel guests. Specialty breakfast & lunch buffets sit alongside both an omelet & carving station. Bloody Marys, mimosas, and specialty cocktails are offered for $5 to enhance the Sunday Brunch experience.

For more information on dining at Ariccia Trattoria or The Hotel at Auburn University, visit AUHCC.com.

Whippoorwill Vineyards
Situated on the outskirts of Auburn is Whippoorwill Vineyards, a family-owned and operated winery featuring wines from muscadines and scuppernongs. The only winery in Southeastern Alabama, Whippoorwill Vineyards is named for the birds who call in the evenings near the farm. The winery and vineyards are available for tours, and tastings are offered as well. From light and fruity to full-bodied and robust, the wines are varied. Choose from dry wines, semi-dry wines, semi-sweet wines, or sweet wines.

Guests can visit the vineyard on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. when tastings and tours are free. To visit Whippoorwill Vineyards outside of normal business hours or with a party of 10 or more, call 334-401-2711 or visit WhippoorwillVineyards.com.

Café One Twenty Three
Situated in the heart of historic downtown Opelika, Café 123 dishes up fine Southern cuisine with a classic French influence, a match made in culinary heaven! Dinner (which is available Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. until close) features starters like pork confit gritcake, mussels mariniere, and crab stuffed avocado salad. For entrees, executive chef Eron Bass serves decadent dishes like brown sugar-rubbed rack of lamb with bacon fat potatoes, fresh arugula, and a balsamic glaze or the Beef Tenderloin Napoleon, a petite filet with fried green tomatoes, béarnaise sauce, jumbo blue crab, chive smashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus.
Brunch is available on Sundays at 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Be sure to follow Café 123 on Facebook for updates on specials like the fresh catch of the day or events like the beer dinner they hosted with Good People Brewing last summer! Reservations must be made by phone (334-737-0069); to see a full menu, visit CafeOneTwentyThree.com.


Find out more about what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Auburn-Opelika at AOTourism.com/blog.

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