The Georgia/Alabama Line

Yesterday we took a drive to see the Chattahoochee RiverWalk in downtown Columbus, but got lost and ended up in Alabama. Whoops! At least we can check off another state on our adventure.

We eventually found our way to downtown, but crossed the river once again (this time on purpose) to hit the CVS in Phenix. We were running a few errands that we didn’t have a chance to run in Atlanta, but finally got the pictures we needed printed and mailed off a couple of packages.

After about an hour of running around, we were able to drive through the downtown area. It was so quiet that it felt like we were there on a Sunday afternoon. There are a couple of massive buildings in the area for what I’m guessing are probably the largest companies in the city (TSYS and Aflac), but the majority of the downtown area is quaint and framed with old brick buildings that appear now to have many empty storefronts.

Fountain in the middle of downtown Columbus
Fountain in the middle of downtown Columbus

We parked at the end of Broadway near Country’s Barbecue, a restaurant one of our good friends recommended we try while in town. We could see a walking bridge and finally found an access point to the RiverWalk, so even though the air was filled with the delicious scents of Southern BBQ when we got out of the car, we decided to take a stroll up the path.

From the Georgia side facing Alabama
From the Georgia side facing Alabama

This time we stayed in Georgia and walked up the river. The cement trail was lined with trees and bushes all ready in full bloom. To our left we could see the surprisingly fast-moving Chattahoochee forming rapids as it dove and splashed over large rocks and downed trees (up near us the river tends to be a bit more on the lazy side). It’s easy to see why Columbus trumpets its whitewater course (which is reportedly the longest urban whitewater course in the world).

We strolled to the end of the northern path and then headed back towards Country’s (the BBQ was calling my name). The exterior had the nostalgic feel of an old diner meeting the five and dime (according to the website it used to be a Greyhound bus station). A 1930’s era bus flanks a drive-through that wraps around the building. When inside, you can actually sit in the bus which has been retrofitted with a countertop running along the windows that face out to the parking lot. The rest of the restaurant looks like a charming old diner, complete with a milkshake bar and jukebox spitting out free tunes.

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We sat at a booth towards the front of the restaurant and were greeted by a slightly over-eager teenage waitress who asked if we were ready to order as our butts were barely finished sliding into our seats. Matt and I looked at each other and laughed, then begged a few minutes to look over the menu (which is fairly extensive). She reappeared what felt like two minutes later with our waters and asked again if we were ready to order. We hadn’t even made it past the appetizers yet, but decided to go ahead and put in an order for Frito’s and a southwest dip and a cup of Brunswick Stew.

The stew that, according to the restaurant menu, is made from scratch over the course of two days came out FAST! The Frito’s and dip followed shortly behind. The stew was good–it reminded me a bit of a tomato soup spiked with bits of barbecued pork and corn. The dip wasn’t our favorite (it was a mayo-based dip seasoned with garlic, onion and chili), but it’s hard to go wrong with a plate of Frito’s sitting in front of you (yes, as much as I love a plate of well-crafted food, I could also devour a bag of Frito’s in about 10 minutes if I put my mind to it–don’t judge!).

Frito's and Southwest Dip
Frito’s and Southwest Dip
Brunswick Stew
Brunswick Stew

For the main course, I picked the Jimichanga (the Monday night special). It is a burrito filled with barbecue chicken, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and the restaurant’s “backfire” sauce. It is covered with more cheese and sour cream and sails on a bowl of chili. I got the salad as my side item. It came out first and was basically a bowl of iceberg lettuce sprinkled with a couple shreds of carrot and cabbage. We joked when it arrived that I’m probably the only one who’s ever ordered the side salad there and the kitchen crew was scrambling around asking, “do we even have salad here?”.

Jimichanga with adult chili
Jimichanga with adult chili

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Jimichanga. The chicken was tender and good, but I could have done without the backfire sauce (which tasted much like yellow stadium mustard to me), the hamburger slices of tomatoes and salad-sized lettuce. The chili was good, though a bit more on the mild side than I typically eat it.

Matt ordered the Conglomeration Platter, which included ribs, pork and beef along with two sides. Interested in the collard greens, Matt asked our server what it meant by “fresh” on the menu; were they served raw like a salad, sauteed or stewed? Our server was very confused as she explained that “fresh” means they are cleaned and cut up at the restaurant versus bought pre-cleaned and pre-cut as they often are at other places. I had to giggle at Matt after she left, teasing him that it was probably the first time she got that question being this far south.

Conglomeration Platter
Conglomeration Platter

Matt’s ribs were very tender and delicious. The pork and beef were a bit hard to tell apart at first (even our server didn’t know which was which), but the pork ended up being so tender you could cut it with a spoon (though it was a bit on the bland side). The beef was savory and the greens ended up being very good. The coleslaw was vinegar-based and the cornbread actually tasted of corn.

We were barely halfway through our meal when our server came over and asked if we wanted dessert. Matt and I had to laugh again at the timing, but at least our server was quick and friendly.

Overall, we appreciated the atmosphere and the meal was very reasonably priced (only $30 for two appetizers and two entrees), but I can’t say we’d ever eat there again. Still, it was worth the experience. I must say, having the opportunity to eat and write about food is awesome!

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3 thoughts on “The Georgia/Alabama Line

  1. LOL! Yep, you found Columbus, Georgia, my hometown. I, along with thousands of others left for Atlanta as soon as I could. But, I cannot think of a better place to have been raised in, and to have raise my children in. And, I’m still an Aflac employee living in Atlanta.

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  2. LOL! Yep, you found Columbus, Georgia, my hometown. Great Story!
    I, along with thousands of others left for Atlanta as soon as I could. But, I cannot think of a better place to have grown up in, and to have raised my children in. Ft. Benning made me feel safe. Phenix City, Alabama was a place to go to sneak out of town as a teenager.
    Country’s Bar-B-Que has never been “All That” they say it is. Next time try Chester’s or Thortons Bar-B-Que (same family from the hood).
    The Columbus River Walk used to be the main attraction several years ago, now it’s the Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning (that’s where you should have visited).
    Yes, TSYS and Aflac are the largest employers in the city along with Ft. Benning which all three makes Columbus a bearable city in which to reside.
    By the way, I’m still an Aflac employee but I live in Atlanta.
    Loved your story…

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    1. Thanks, P! Glad you liked the post. It may be a while before we make it back to Columbus, but will keep your recommendations in mind. 🙂 Atlanta is a great city to live and work in. If you like BBQ, an obvious spot to check out there is Fox Bros, but I also like the little gems of Community BBQ in Decatur and Heirloom off of Akers Mill. If you haven’t tried them, I recommend doing so. Thanks for reading!

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