Four tips if you dine at the top-notch restaurant named Central, located in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.
One: Anything you order on the menu will be delicious.
Two: If you get a chance to chat with owner Jerry Kyser, you’ll quickly discover that he loves his hometown and is a very smart businessman. Born in Montgomery, Jerry didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth but he did get something even more valuable – a strong work ethic and an uncanny ability to look ahead and make long-term plans.
Three: Don’t look for a sign identifying restaurant restrooms. Instead, they are behind a door labeled “Water Closets.”
Four: Don’t try to find a light switch to flip inside the “Water Closets.” The light fixture turns on automatically when someone enters the restroom and turns off when no one is in there. Smart.
Opened in 2012 in an historic 1890s building, Central’s décor features 16-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, big timber beams, flickering gas wall sconces and unusual chandeliers. An open kitchen with wood-burning ovens and grilles showcases chefs as they prepare each order.
Executive Chef Brandon Burleson creates seasonal menus based on locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. The menu notes that some items are subject to change “based on availability of meats and products from local purveyors.”
On my visit, the menu featured starters of aged pimento cheese with house flatbread, Gulf crab claws, bruschetta, a charcuterie board, and Fett Soux fries (smoked and fried pork belly, South Carolina barbecue sauce, and Chilton County peach chutney). My favorite was the pimento cheese and the crispy flatbreads. Could have been a meal.
Entrees included an 1895 Spencer Farms pork chop with onions, braised applies, Dijon herb demi and pierogis; Purple Magnolia short ribs with sundried tomato grits and a purple onion blossom.
Other entrees were Angus beef filet, a 14-ounce veal chop and a 7-ounce Scottish salmon. I went with the steak and was definitely not disappointed.
Dessert was Boston Cream Pie, dark chocolate cake, triple chocolate brownie, pecan pie and apple crumble with ice cream and a bit of apple butter. Chose the apple dessert and it was a wonderful way to end a meal.
Central has a full bar and features specialty cocktails such as Pumpkin Fever – Absolut vanilla vodka, Baileys, pumpkin spiced syrup and whipped cream.
Central is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch