‘Heart of the South Restaurant’ to open in former home of longtime Opelika eatery

Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

By Morgan Bryce

Associate Editor

A new restaurant is opening in the former home of a longtime Opelika eatery.

Marilyn Butler, founder and owner of “Heart of the South Restaurant,” is expanding and relocating her business from its Cusseta location into the former home of Cock of the Walk, which closed permanently in February.

Since announcing their move last month on social media, Butler said she and her family have received waves of support and excitement from people in the Opelika-Auburn area.

“I love the people here. Everybody here has been so, so helpful,” Butler said. “From Opelika Power Services to city government officials, you can tell everybody is trying their best to get us in here and ready to go. That’s really important to me, and adds to my excitement for the future of the business here.”

Butler added that they will maintain the building’s rustic feel as they renovate and ready for their opening, but “spruce” up the property and menu, which is deeply rooted in Southern cuisine with a slight Cajun influence.

Opened in September 1999 in West Point, Georgia, “Heart of the South” started as a tearoom with five tables and 20 chairs.

Relying on word-of-mouth advertising and a “commitment to consistent quality and service,” Butler said her business has experienced tremendous growth, relocating three times during the last 18 years to accommodate customer demand.

With 8,500 square feet and 300 tables, Butler said her new location will be the perfect place to hold family outings, weddings, parties and more.

“We’ve already scheduled a wedding, two Christmas parties, class reunion and a birthday party, and we’re not even open (yet),” Butler said.

With a tentative opening date set for Mother’s Day weekend (May 12-13), Butler said new customers can expect an experience at her restaurant that will feature impeccable service, tasty dishes which incorporate locally sourced ingredients and a strong dose of Southern hospitality.

“This place is going to have a great atmosphere … people will be able to look out or sit near the lake and see turtles, geese, blue herons while they eat. I think people will be able to make a lot of great memories here,” Butler said.

For more information or updates on the restaurant’s opening, like and follow their Facebook page or call 334-756-0544.


  1. Seeing lots of new restaurants taking over old buildings and fixtures. I hope it is a win win for the former and new owners.


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