Wherever You Go, There You Are

by Kris Robinette

To be honest, I thought my clever title was a Dr. Seuss quote.  Google says it was Confucius.  Same thing, right?

This blog is about “local.”  Local turf, local eats, local businesses, local fun.  All the things about your home turf that give it that certain “something” that says it belongs to you.  And more importantly, you belong to it.

I’m a Realtor, which means a lot of things.  It means my phone is usually in my hand, my back pocket or even (a risky new development) suction-cupped to my shower door.  I wish I was kidding.  I’m not.  It also means that I’m in my car.   A lot.  Which, believe it or not, delights me.  I love to soak up local flair, get lost on back roads and add to the GPS that lives in my head.  There’s always something to discover around the next bend.

Yes, I’d love to show you some real estate.  Call me.  After all, my phone is suction-cupped to the shower door.  But what I’d really love to show you is my turf.  All the fun, quirky places my car takes me that you might want to experience for yourself.

During a recent real estate closing, the seller slid the keys to her home across the table to my buyer and said, “You’re going to loooove living in Odenville because of all the food.”

Really?  That got my attention because, well, I love to eat.  And because this was news to me.  I got the insider scoop and a few names before we closed the deal.  (Turns out, it’s not the quantity of food in Odenville, but the quality.)

So let’s kick this first adventure off by “Eating Odenville!”


Heart of Dixie Grill – Odenville, Alabama

Just off of Highway 411 in the heart of Odenville, you’ll find a slightly-crooked post sign that reads “Heart of Dixie Grill.”  The sign matches the restaurant, which is a delightful little building that has likely weathered a few storms without much fanfare or complaint.

Inside, the customers are as laid-back as the gravel parking lot and the menu is dripping with Southern offerings.  From peanut butter pie, sweet tea and turnip greens to cornbread, it was hard to find anything on the menu that strayed from Southern roots.  The menu is large.  As in blackboard and markerboard large.  It’s going to take more than a few visits to work my way through it all.  But I’m not complaining.

Carnivore that I am, I ordered the hamburger steak with gravy and onions, mashed potatoes and turnip greens.  Everything was Sunday-dinner good.  The mashed potatoes even had little “real tater” lumps in them and the hamburger steak was slightly smoky beneath the gravy and onions.  The turnip greens rival any I’ve ever eaten.  (That’s all I’m gonna say about the greens so that I don’t get the wrath of my mother.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My dinner companion (The Thelma to my Louise) chose a more sensible vegetable plate with fried okra, macaroni and cheese and a cucumber salad.  Okay, so technically mac ‘n cheese isn’t a vegetable but you get the idea.  She did, however, go for a hot fudge cake with ice cream which wiped out any dietary points she might have won for going meatless.  There was a little curl of steam rising up from the hot fudge cake where it met the ice cream that just can’t be captured in a still photo.  But trust me when I say that Thelma was a happy camper.

Heart of Dixie is a family-owned and operated business whose southern hospitality is firmly intact.  We were given a quick introduction of family at the checkout counter, a myriad of faces and names behind the grill.  There’s a little sign as you exit that says, “leave a smile wherever you go.”  We were smiling as we left and will be back one Friday night to take advantage of the fried catfish special and the hand-cut steaks.  Oh — and the peanut butter pie.