Making the Grade: Highway 80 Barn Restaurant

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PHOTOS BY MIKE WALLACE

STACEY PATTON WALLACE

Recently, someone from the Highway 80 Barn Restaurant requested that I come out, eat and write a review on them. It made me feel good to be asked, and I felt even better after my meal.

  About a week ago, Mike and I met our friends Jack, William and Thomas at the Highway 80 Barn Restaurant, which is located at 25250 U.S. Hwy. 80 in Opelika.

As usual, we were about 10 minutes late. I’d like to say that my husband made us late, but God doesn’t want me to lie.

  Unfortunately, punctuality is not one of my strengths. However, for some reason, being on time is really important to Mike, and my lack of punctuality really gets on his nerves.

  When we married in 2005 and taught in LaGrange, Georgia, Mike told me that he HAD to be at school by 7:30 a.m. (eastern time). He was the teacher assigned to meet each school bus; he had to keep up with which ones were on time, late, etc., and report it to the front office. He told me that if I wasn’t ready on time, he would have to leave without me. A few times, he did just that.

  Now, I didn’t want to get my sweet husband in trouble at work, so I tried to stop being tardy. I’m happy to say that I have improved a good bit since 2005. Mike even said, “Now we’re only 10 minutes late instead of 20.”

  Therefore, when we arrived at the Highway 80 Barn Restaurant, our friends were already there eating appetizers. They had ordered cheese sticks and deep fried grit sticks and were kind enough to share.

  Now, I’ve often eaten cheese sticks, but I had never heard of frying grits. But again, this is Alabama, and everything tastes better fried. Oh, my two times. They were amazing! Also, we dipped them in syrup, which made them even better. Needless to say, no appetizers were left standing.

  I really loved the restaurant’s rustic setting; it felt so homey and comfortable. Old albums were hanging on the walls, along with cute signs. My favorites were: “$5 charge for whining” and “Grandchildren fill a place in your heart you didn’t know was even empty.” Underneath the sign, six grandchildren’s names and birth dates were listed.

  Misty, our waitress, was top notch: kind, helpful and patient. Mike ordered the popcorn shrimp with French fries and coleslaw. I chose on-the-bone fried chicken

(I may grow feathers and lay an egg any day now).  For my sides, I picked collard greens and mac ‘n cheese.

  Jack ordered an open-face meatloaf sandwich, which was on Texas toast and was topped with potatoes and gravy; his sides were coleslaw and collard greens. William chose the patty melt, a six-ounce burger with grilled onions and cheese, and French fries. Thomas ordered meatloaf with gravy, collard greens and mac ‘n cheese. Everything was really delicious.

  For dessert, Jack chose a luscious-looking pecan pie parfait. (Again, I love alliteration.) After his first bite, Jack said, “That was amazing!”

  I was tempted to tackle him in order to have some of that parfait; however, I didn’t because even though I’m “Pooh sized,” I’m very weak. I admitted this to Jack; he laughed and said he’d have fought me for it. After my next appointment with my diabetic doctor, I may have to have that delicious dessert.

  The Highway 80 Barn Restaurant offers a variety of appetizers besides the two tasty ones we enjoyed. Diners may also choose from: fried dill pickles, corn nuggets, fried jalapeno chips, fried oysters, onion rings, chicken wings and gator bites.

  In addition, the restaurant offers salads, sandwiches and burgers. Besides the ones previously mentioned, entrees, which come with two sides, include: hamburger steak, country fried steak, shepherd’s pie, ribeye, ribeye and shrimp, chicken tenders, pork chops, catfish, fillet of fish, frog legs, gator, clam strips, shrimp-n-grits (Barn style) and fried oysters. Veggie plates are also available.

  Besides that amazing pecan pie parfait dessert, diners may choose from: pecan pie, root beer float, brownie sundae, strawberry shortcake parfait, gooey butter cake and ice cream.

  Run and do not walk to Highway 80 Barn Restaurant, which is owned by Deletha Davis. The restaurant is open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; closed on Monday- Wednesday.

  The Highway 80 Barn Restaurant makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at www.retiredlangartsteacher2020.com

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