By Stacey Patton Wallace
In all my 58 years, I have lived in small towns. For the first 27 years of my life, I lived in Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals). From ages 27 to 52, I resided in LaGrange, Georgia.
Then, in November 2015, my husband Mike and I moved to Auburn. While we live in Auburn, we worship in Opelika at Central Baptist. When we moved to Lee County, we immediately learned about the rivalry between the two cities. It’s much like the rivalry between Alexander City and Dadeville in Tallapoosa County. However, since I graduated from Benjamin Russell High School, and Mike graduated from West Point High School, we don’t have a dog in the fight. We LOVE both Auburn and Opelika. Again, Lee County is the best place to live while you wait to go to Heaven. I feel kind of sorry for the other 66 counties in Alabama.
Mike and I support all schools and teams in Auburn, Opelika and Lee County. In fact, back in 2016, we bought long-sleeved t-shirts when Beauregard High School won the state 5A Championship. Also, we bought red and black t-shirts that said, “We are Opelika,” when Opelika High School played in the state 6A Championship that same year.
Because I was so excited for Opelika, I wore the shirt one Friday where I taught at Long Cane Middle School in LaGrange. Our then girls’ P.E. coach was horrified when she saw my shirt. She said, “Mrs. Wallace, how could you wear that?” You see, our LCMS Cougars play Opelika Middle School in football and basketball every year. However, I pointed out to my friend and colleague that my t-shirt was for the high school; she could live with that.
Anyway, Mike and I loved growing up and living in small towns. You couldn’t pay us to move to a big city such as Atlanta. The traffic alone would give me heart palpitations. However, as a small-town girl, I have learned an important lesson about new restaurants. Don’t go to them when they first open because they’re way too crowded. I forgot this lesson a few months ago and went to a restaurant during its first week of being open. Big mistake. The line to order eventually went to the door. Also, when we ordered before 6 p.m., they had already run out of my entrée. Therefore, lesson relearned.
With that in mind, Mike and I chose to dine at the Juicy Seafood in Auburn almost two months after it opened. This proved to be a good decision.
Malik, our waiter at the Juicy Seafood, was an absolute delight. He was so sweet, well mannered and patient. Mike and I have met so many wonderful young people in our county.
They are a credit to their parents and grandparents. Also, this really warms our retired teacher hearts.
We both ordered a cup of their New England clam chowder; it was delicious. Mike said, “This isn’t from a can. It’s very close to what we actually had in New England.” There you go.
Our entrée was pre
sented to us in a unique fashion: It was in a big bag, having been cooked in it. We had ordered what I would call a low country boil: shrimp, scallops, little red potatoes and corn on the cob.
Mike, who is braver than I, picked up the bag of food, which had a lot of juice (hence, the name), and carefully poured it in a pan. We also were given plastic bibs, gloves and a bucket for discarding our trash.
We laughed as we tied on the bibs, but let me say that they were a great idea because our food was really juicy. Also, as I’ve said before, I am a dripper. My parents taught me to use good table manners, but dripping on my blouse remains a problem for me and brings forth a lot of laughter from my husband. However, I personally think that all restaurants should hand out tie-on bibs. It would save hours of stain removal in my house.
Our meal was delicious. I loved the seasoning for our dinner. For the first time in my life, I didn’t request tartar or cocktail sauce. They simply weren’t needed; our seafood was great without them.
For dessert, Mike and I shared a piece of cheesecake drizzled with chocolate. It was excellent. Other desserts included: coconut, red velvet, molten chocolate cakes and xango.
The Juicy Seafood also offers a large variety of appetizers including: hushpuppies, fried cheesesticks, onion rings, fried calamari, raw or steamed oysters, chicken wings and Juicy Special wings.
The restaurant’s fried entrees include: shrimp, tilapia, catfish, oysters and chicken tenders. In addition, diners may order a seafood combo from the following: blue crab (seasonal), shrimp (no head), snow-crab legs, crawfish, shrimp (heads on), clams, green or black mussels, scallops, baby octopus and sausage. Sides include: corn on the cob, potatoes, Cajun fries, sweet potato fries, French fries, steamed rice, sausage and boiled egg.
The Juicy Seafood is located at 1463 Opelika Road in Auburn. The restaurant is open on Sunday from noon until 9 p.m.; on Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.; on Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.
The Juicy Seafood 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 email@example.com