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“Very good food, maybe not the best value for money” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Irondale Cafe Incorporated

Irondale Cafe Incorporated
1906 1ST Ave N, Irondale, AL 35210-1102
(205) 956-5258
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Ranked #2 of 20 Restaurants in Irondale
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Birmingham. AL
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“Very good food, maybe not the best value for money”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2012

Yes, it's also known as the Whistle Stop Cafe, and it is famous for its fried green tomatoes, and justifiably so. But at its core, the Irondale Cafe, is not that terribly different from hundreds of other meat-and-three cafeteria-style restaurants in almost every town and city in the South, as well as the Midwest.

Having said that, the cafe has very good food. The fried chicken was delicious, flavorful with a crispy-but-not-thick coating. The catfish was excellent as well (at extra cost over the standard price). The veggies were at least good, and many were outstanding -- the mac-and-cheese was the best I've had at a restaurant in years, equaling that from the late, lamented Britling Cafeteria chain that was a local institution for many years, and whose mac-and-cheese recipe is still sought today.

My complaint stems from the portion size, especially for the money. For the lunch portion (a bit over $7), you get one piece of chicken and two veggies in small portions. Drinks and dessert are extra, which is normal, but frankly for about $10 with tax and without tip, it's not very filling.

The menu states, "All prices reflect a 3% cash discount," which is another way of saying they add 3% if you use a credit or debit card. I was under the impression that this practice was not allowed by credit-card companies. In any event, it's chintzy.

I can;t help but think you're paying more for the name and the fame here. It's good, but I'm not sure it's as good as it's price.

  • Visited March 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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83 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    41
    27
    11
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
iluvwi
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Such a fun place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012

Not only is this the home of THE fried green tomato, but it is such a friendly place to visit.  The food is standard meat and three southern, mostly fried.  And if you have kids, the restaurant sits across the street from the train tracks, which provides endless entertainment of passing trains.  

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SC
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Whistle Stop A Southern Delight”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

Delicious Southern style food served in a buffet line.Chicken, Southern veggies including fried green tomatoes and delicios cornbread reasonable price.

Visited July 2011
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Birmingham, AL
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“okay, but....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

doesn't live up to the hype that surrounded it after the Fried Green Tomatoes movie.

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Atlanta
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Southern Meat-and-Three at its best.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2012

Irondale Cafe is all it is cracked up to be. Very nice folks, great food and even a little down-home atmosphere. The fried green tomatoes are clearly the best I've ever eaten, but the fried chicken and other veggies were great, too. No, meat-and-three is no longer a $3.99 lunch, but I'll pay $8.00 or so to eat here rather than the same at the neighborhood Chick-Fil-A. If you have a chance to check it out, do it.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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