The Freight House Restaurant
On a recent trip to Florida, we were passing through Alabama and saw a billboard for one of the “Top 8 Restaurants in Alabama” was coming up at the next exit, called The Freight House Restaurant. It was dinner time so we decided to stop and check it out. It wasn’t too far from the highway in a town called Hartselle, Alabama.
The Freight House is located in historic downtown Hartselle, AL. We offer a variety of food choices, as well as homemade desserts & daily specials. We have 2 private rooms which can be used for any and all special occasions. Please call us to schedule your party today!
It must be said that this is not your ordinary restaurant, starting with the exterior of the building as you pull up. It literally sits next to the train tracks, and in fact, used to be an old freight depot originally. The stall doors with their numbers at the top run both sides of the building and it appears to be well maintained outside, with very few “modern” touches such as neon lights or ugly signage.
There is a wide ramp from the parking lot leading up to the front door, which would be great if you have a stroller or a wheelchair!
As luck would have it, we arrived about 10 minutes before they were supposed to close; I asked the hostess if it would be OK for our group of 4 to still get a meal and she just smiled real big and said it wasn’t a problem at all!
The inside has both tables and booths of different party sizes and the brick walls are decorated with a lot of train/rail related pieces. There is a fireplace at the far end set into the wall, and to the far left inside the front door leads to their private dining rooms for events, as well as the restrooms.
I wouldn’t call it fancy dining, as we were in shorts and blue jeans; but, it’s not fast food either. It has a casual atmosphere but very clean and the wait staff worked very hard to keep all the customers happy. All of the food is made in house and from scratch, so you know it should be delicious.
The menu offers everything from appetizers and salads to BBQ, burgers and paninis. Plus there are a lot of sides to choose from as well as a kids menu and tasty dessert choices (which they display right inside the front door so you’re already thinking about it before you sit down LOL)!
My crew ordered a variety of choices for dinner that night which included:
Housemade Pimento Cheese Panini – Our own Roasted Red Pepper & Sharp Cheddar Cheese w/ Crispy Bacon on Rye
All-American BBQ Burger – Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork & our 8oz. Angus Hamburger w/ American Cheese, BBQ Sauce & Pickles
served w/ Cole Slaw & one side
Kids Chicken Tenders
Railroad Street Panini – Two Cheeses with Bacon and Tomato
Each of the dishes come with either homemade potato chips or you can choose another side if you’d prefer. Turnip greens were a hit, but everyone also liked the chips and pasta salad too.
As I mentioned earlier, you pass the current day’s dessert tray as you walk in the door, so the youngest of our group already knew which one he wanted.
He picked the four-layer chocolate & peanut butter cake! The cake was very moist and more like a dark chocolate than a milk, so it wasn’t as sweet as you’d expect. But the sugar in the peanut butter frosting made up the difference; it reminded me of a “buckeye” dessert with the flavor combinations. And again, it’s made in house, and I think you can tell the difference that it didn’t come from a box or factory production line.
The bathrooms were small but clean. I enjoyed the interesting sink piece as well as the doors (instead of cold metal stall doors) they used for privacy. There were framed old newspaper clippings about local women in history.
If you’re local to the Hartselle, Alabama, area, don’t forget this restaurant also offers catering and private events! And if you’re just passing through, don’t forget to stop by.
Now, they do warn you that if a train comes by, there’s no hiding it! And while we didn’t have one while we dined, we did watch one fly by as we were leaving. But it adds to the historical feel and reminds you of the original purpose of the building that now serves as The Freight House Restaurant.