Alabama Civil Rights Trail: Food & Drinks Recommendations

Donuts for days at Hero Doughnuts in Birmingham.
Donuts for days at Hero Doughnuts in Birmingham.

Taking Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail and seeking out great food and drinks along the way? Check out our top picks for cuisine and craft beer in Birmingham and Selma and our complete 5 day 4 night itinerary for Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail travels. For travelers seeking to support small businesses and black owned businesses, this list has more than a few to get you started in Alabama.

Birmingham, Alabama Restaurants 

Birmingham, Alabama has some good food and drinks served up in memorable locations. If you’re visiting this southern city, check out Hero Doughnuts, Post Office Pies, Pizitz Food Court and Back Forty Brewing Company. 

Hero Doughnuts: Birmingham

You have got to have a good breakfast when you’re traveling. I had heard that Hero Doughnuts offered a breakfast of champions. Their craft donuts made from scratch. Inside, I found a dizzying array of brioche style, yeast doughnuts are on display at this locally loved donut shop where you can watch them make donuts on site. There were a lot of choices, but I ultimately decided to go with key lime pie and also a traditional glazed. I’ve never had a key lime pie donut and definitely not for breakfast. It was good! We hit the location by Railroad Park, a great place to take a walk if you’re feeling guilty before or after your donut adventure.

Back Forty Brewing Company: Birmingham

Back Forty Brewing Company is a great place to try craft beer while taking in history. If you like trains, you are in for a treat, as this brewery is located right beside train tracks and trains go by every few minutes. It’s loud, but fun. There’s a lot of outdoor seating and also places to dine inside. While having a beer, you can take a closer look at Sloss Furnaces, which once operated as a pig-iron producing blast furnace. Birmingham’s major industries were once iron and steel production and rails and railroad cars were manufactured in Birmingham.

Post Office Pies: Birmingham

In the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham, you can find great pizza, BBQ and ice cream. Chef and co-owner John Hall of Post Office Pies is one of the young, entrepreneurial restauranteurs playing a role in Birmingham’s hip dining scene and he makes some good pizza. Meat lovers may want to try the Swine Pie, which made the list of 100 dishes you should eat in Alabama before you die. It has a lot of meat. It’s really good– salty and cheesy. This is another black owned business that you can support on your travels.

For those craving BBQ, you can also head to SAW’s Soul Kitchen, located right beside Post Office Pies and then have ice cream within walking distance at Big Spoon Creamery.

Pizitz Food Court: Birmingham

In Alabama’s historic theatre district and by the 4th Avenue Historic District, there are eclectic flavors to discover just across from a newer entertainment venue at Pizitz Food Court. Korean, Indian, American and Alabama flavors combine for a diverse dining adventure with 12 different food stalls. This is a great and economical stop for families looking for fast, casual fare.

Selma, Alabama BBQ & Coffee

Lannie’s BBQ Spot: Selma

Selma, Alabama is known for its pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. If you’re heading to this Alabama city, there’s a BBQ place you’ll want to try. Lannie’s BBQ has been serving BBQ since 1946. I was able to interviews Lula Hatcher about this BBQ institution and hear about its role in the Civil Rights Movement, as an area restaurant that was surprisingly not segregated. Watch the video to hear Mrs. Hatcher’s story.

The Coffee Shoppe: Selma

Meet Jackie Smith and hear about the history of The Coffee Shoppe in Selma, Alabama. Just down from the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Broad Street, you can grab a very good coffee made with local beans and walk down to the bridge for your own epic Selma to Montgomery March reenactment. This stop on Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail is just one of the many that we love. It also is a great way to support a black owned business by getting coffee with Jackie and then heading to Lannie’s BBQ to hear their story from the Civil Rights era while having great Alabama barbecue.

These stops are featured in Travels with Darley: Alabama Civil Rights Trail Part I on PBS stations with six time Emmy Award nominated host Darley Newman. Take the trip yourself by following our Alabama Civil Rights Trail vacation itinerary

How to Watch Travels with Darley: Look for the new season, Season 9, on your local PBS TV station. These episodes are also coming to Create TV  and Ovation TV’s Journy, a free app available on your  phone, tablet, or smart tv device of your choice, including Roku, Plex, Vewd, Samsung TV Plus, Apple TV, Zumo, Google Play and more. 

See what we’ve filmed for 51 half hour episodes! Fifty-one hours of the series now reach over 96% of the USA on PBS stations. Look out for new seasons and repeats of past episdoes on your local PBS station and Create TV. Binge the series’ first 24 half hours on Amazon PrimeWondrium and watch the most recent 13 half hours on Ovation TV’s Journy. Video shorts from the series are also available on Darley’s YouTube Channel.

Let’s Get Social! Lots of fun behind the scenes are also online through Darley’s @TravelswithDarley Facebook page and  @darleynewman handles on InstagramTwitter, TikTok and more professional and business related information is on LinkedIn.