Making the Grade: On the Road to Wetumpka, Alabama


By Stacey Patton Wallace

For the past several years, Mike and I have enjoyed watching shows on HGTV such as: Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, Good Bones, etc. Now, I am NOT at all interested in renovating ANYTHING. When we moved to Auburn, we bought a new, turn-key ready house. This girl doesn’t do “do-it-yourself”  projects. You don’t want to see me wielding a hammer, drill or saw. Mike once said that he never wanted to see me with anything electrical. Someone would get hurt, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

  However, shows on HGTV have taught me some DIY terms such as: “load bearing walls, ship lap and subway tile back splash.” Therefore, I have learned some new vocabulary; I’m just not interested in applying this knowledge. I don’t care HOW the renovation is done; Mike enjoys watching that part. I’m more interested in seeing the finished product and deciding whether I like it or not. In addition, I know NOTHING about interior decorating and have often wished that Mike and I could afford to fly Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper to Auburn to help us decorate our home. However, that’s not in our budget, and Joanna is too busy with raising five children and running the family business anyway.

  This past spring, Mike and I really enjoyed the HGTV series, Home Town Takeover. In the series, Ben and Erin Napier, who are from Laurel, Mississippi, joined with other HGTV stars and local people to renovate Wetumpka, Alabama. Since the shows have aired, Wetumpka has experienced a huge growth in tourism.

Growing up in Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals), the only part of Wetumpka I ever saw was going on Highways 22 and 9, on our way to shop in Montgomery. I had never seen downtown Wetumpka or the bridge over the Coosa River, which looked really pretty on Home Town Takeover.

  Since Mike and I were really impressed by the makeover Wetumpka received, we decided to travel there to Coaches Corner Sports Bar & Grill, a restaurant which had been one of the renovation projects. Coaches Corner is located at 203 Orline St. in Wetumpka.

  When we were seated, I admired the colorful football decorations. Although the restaurant displayed pennants for all 14 SEC teams, in the great state of Alabama, we know that only TWO teams really matter: my Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. While Coaches Corner had both Auburn and Alabama memorabilia, the décor definitely favored Alabama. There was even a life-size, wooden statute of the late Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant with the words “RT” in big letters beside him. As an Auburn graduate and season ticket holder, I had no problem with that. However, I’d have liked to see a similar statue of the late Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan, too. Just saying.

  But back to the restaurant. Katie, our waitress, was very sweet, helpful and patient. For an appetizer, Mike and I chose the mozzarella sticks. They were really delicious; we liked the generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese on them. Again, you can never have too much cheese.

  Mike was being good that day, so he ordered the grilled chicken chunks with honey BBQ sauce. They were big and meaty; he really enjoyed them. I, on the other hand, was NOT being good, so I selected the two chili cheese dogs with ten pounds of hot tots. Well, almost. At least I didn’t eat the bun of the second chili dog and some of the hot tots. That should count for something. Everything was very tasty.

  Besides the appetizer Mike and I enjoyed for lunch, Coaches Corner also offers: wings, fried pickle spears, fried mushrooms, onion rings, cheesy fries and queso cheesy fries.

  For lunch, some other selections included: hamburger or BBQ sliders, grilled chicken salad and a variety of hamburgers, sandwiches and wraps.

  At dinner (or supper as we call it), the restaurant offers a selection of additional appetizers, some of which included: corn nuggets, mini corn dogs, jalapeno bottle caps, fried pork skins and nachos grande. Also, Coaches Corner has many dinner (supper) entrees such as: ribeye steak, surf & turf, chopped steak, piled high chicken, fish & chips, shrimp dinner, Coaches fried seafood basket, fried oyster dinner and grouper bites dinner.

  I really loved the hometown feel of the place. Now, I don’t usually comment on a restaurant’s restroom, but I liked the uplifting messages painted on the walls along with silhouette drawings of women playing various sports. My favorite messages included: “Don’t look back. You are not going that way,” “Look in the mirror … That’s your competition” and “The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.”

  As Mike and I were leaving Coaches Corner, we struck up a conversation with Laura, Angie and Schella (That’s how you spell it.), three local residents, who were regulars at the restaurant.

All three ladies were retired nurses and Alabama fans (Two were Bama grads.). They were so funny and friendly, telling us about their town with obvious pride. We really enjoyed visiting with them. Again, meeting people is one of my favorite parts of traveling.

  Coaches Corner Sports Bar & Grill is open on Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m.; on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sunday and Monday.

  Coaches Corner Sports Bar & Grill in Wetumpka gets 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


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