Maxwell Air Force Base has a lot of transient military students, which provides an interesting mix of new-to-the military personnel to seasoned officers nearing 20 years active duty – AND everything in between. Montgomery, Alabama as a whole seems to reflect the range of pay scales that the military provides for everyone stationed there. High end dining for an O-6 promotion ceremony – yes. Affordable home cookin’ that anybody can take home – yes!
Variety makes life fun, and we enjoyed the range of options available. We were there for one year, and loved finding new favorites (pro-tip from a military spouse – if you’ve just moved and feel uncomfortable in your new town, you need to expand your horizons and find new favorites ASAP). We found the following within our first month or two and loved visiting during our residency.
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Be advised that this post was written during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants and small businesses were unsure of their futures. The following businesses may not survive, but I’m optimistic! If a permanent closure has happened and I haven’t noted it please comment below with an evidentiary link – thank you.
Prevail Union Craft Coffee (39 Dexter Avenue Suite 102, Montgomery, Alabama 36104)
Gorgeous shop downtown! Montgomery has put a lot of effort to make downtown nice, and the area around Prevail Union is a perfect example. Spacious area, adjacent gallery space, seasonal drinks, plus they have beer and soda. It’s very easy to pull up a seat and linger over a drink before or after strolling the area.
Bibb St Pizza Co. / Common Bond (424 Bibb St., Montgomery, Alabama 36104)
This is an easy-to-drive-to restaurant from MAFB, and is popular with families. These two establishments share a wall, and a backyard! It’s great to walk in from the yard, stake out a table. Walk into Bibb St and order your slice (or chocolate cannoli), drop off the order flag at your table on your way to Common Bond for a pint. Great place to meet friends, and downtown is a nice walk – nice regarding distance; you can stretch the legs but the walk isn’t entirely well-lit…so I would save that walk for daylight hours.
Central (129 Coosa St., Montgomery, Alabama 36104)
Mister Jupiter and I like a wide range of foods and restaurants, Central provides classy southern foods. They are popular for nice promotion dinners, it reminds me of The Kitchen. You can certainly order prosecco and grits, but it isn’t casual dining. Popular for date nights and a high end wine list – also downtown. Don’t forget to feed the meter, not all of the parking is free (but no valet).
Filet & Vine (431 Cloverdale Rd., Montgomery, Alabama 36106)
Speaking of liking a wide range of restaurants, Filet & Vine is a bottle shop, gourmet grocery store, with a cafeteria-style dine-in eating. It’s our favorite “meat and three” in Montgomery. A full plate is a ton of food, so I usually just ordered two sides, or fish with one side. I’m a big fan of their fried catfish with antipasto (from the deli case). Speaking of deli case…they have excellent cuts of meats and gorgeous half cakes. Mmm.
Capri Theater (1045 E Fairview Ave., Montgomery Alabama 36106)
The world needs more indie theaters, and the Capri is a stunning example. Of course they show new indie films, but they also have the freedom to provide familiar fun for their patrons. Similar to Alamo Drafthouse, Capri also hosts older movies and provides beer and wine in the concession stand. We got a gang of people to join us to watch Top Gun (big turn out!), and we had just as much fun watching The Big Lebowski -especially when the drink special was White Russians- and watching Shaun of the Dead was wonderful because I love Simon Pegg.
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☞ Curious about life near another military installation? Check out Non-Chain Restaurants around Fort Leavenworth, Kansas