To celebrate Labor Day, or the fact that our whole family had a day off together, we ventured south from Nashville to Huntsville. While the main reason was to see the U.S. Space & Rocket Museum, we were also on the the trail of some new cheap eats. After a laborious online search, I found one site that had Huntsville Cheap Eats. The local alternative paper, The Valley Planet, in June of 2004, published a piece called 10 under $10. Excitedly I scribbled out the info on a couple catfish diners (Clem’s and Ernie’s) and a Thai place (Thai Garden) that looked worthy of a full meal. Now, in hindsight, I could have gone for a bbq joint, but there really is no worthy BBQ outside of North Carolina. But I digress. This list was over 3 years old so I double checked the information with the phone books. Great! All still in business. Off to Huntsville!
Well, I am sad to report that both Clem’s and Ernie’s are closed. Plus, Thai Garden was closed for the holiday. So our pre-museum lunch ended up being Subway. How sad.
But don’t despair! Dinner was yet to come. On the way in we had noticed an old red restaurant called Mildred’s Catfish and Buffet, just south of the Limestone/Madison county line on Alabama 53. The lot was packed and it had a cheap and unpretentious air about it. When we passed by on our way out of town at dinner time, the parking lot was almost empty, but we gave it a shot anyway. Inside we were greeted by two overly energetic and happy Asian ladies. Maybe one was Mildred, but they talked to fast for me to ask!
For $6 (add a dollar more for a soda or tea) we were greeted with an all you can eat buffet of some of the best southern food around. Sides of homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, and hush puppies were complimented with barbecue chicken, fried chicken, and the most perfectly seasoned crisp fried catfish I had ever had! To finish it off there was the desert section. No generic soft serve ice cream on this buffet, Mildred’s delivered with fresh bread pudding, apple cobbler, and several other delectable deserts! Only one warning, over the buffet was a sign that saying they reserved the right to charge for excessive amounts of wasted food. Mildred was going to make sure you cleaned your plate! That wasn’t a problem. We happily left with a clean plate, a full belly, and full wallet.
Mildred’s Catfish and Buffet, 9565 Highway 53, Ardmore, AL, 256-420-8393