Florence, Alabama – Chef Kevin Kilburn opened his newest venture The Southern Farm Table & Bakery on November 30, 2012 and it is housed in a moderate size building on County Road 200, close to the heart of the Central community, just down the road from the old Littrell’s Lumber Company. The only sign denoting that there is a restaurant located in the newly painted red building is a small banner hanging on either side of the outdoor sign pole. However, since Central is a small community the restaurant is hard to miss. We were getting out of our car when Chef Kilburn came out of the front door and said “Welcome to my home for Sunday Dinner,” what a fine way of referencing the made-from-scratch, real Southern food that is served here.
It was 11:00 am when we entered The Southern Farm Table on a warm, sunny and bright Sunday morning in January. When you enter the front door, the main dining room is on the left side; on the right side is the dessert case which you’ll want to be sure to check out before being seated. The hostess seated us right away since we were the first customers of the day. Chef Kevin Kilburn is a well know local Chef that has been in town now for a couple of years. When we took our first bite of Chef Kilburn’s food it reminded us of the meals we used to enjoy when our families gathered at our grandparents’ homes.
The dining area is decorated country style with various dishpans and other country items on the wall. The tables are covered with red table cloths while the standard black restaurant chair backs are covered with reproduction Cypress Mill flour sacks, a very unique touch that blends nicely with the decor and the paint scheme. And, the paint scheme is used to tone down the lighting with the walls being painted beige and the ceiling is painted black. It makes for a cozy easy on the eyes dining area without any harsh lights.
Our server was at our table promptly with the menus and the Sunday special list. She took our drink orders and departed. We looked over the menu to be sure there was nothing that we had missed from the online version we had looked at the evening before. Once we had decided what we would order was about the same time as the waitress brought our drinks to the table. Debra ordered the Chicken and Dumplings, fried green tomatoes, and braised cabbage ($7.95). I ordered the Rib-eye steak, homemade French fries and a salad with my choice of either homemade Ranch or Creamy Italian Dressing. I opted for the Creamy Italian ($14.95). Unfortunately for me, the Saturday evening crowd had wiped out all of the Rib-eye steaks, so I was offered a T-Bone steak as a substitute which was fine by me.
My salad arrived and consisted of fresh lettuce and mixed greens, with cherry tomatoes and the best homemade Creamy Italian dressing I’ve tasted in North Alabama. The serving portion was appropriate to the meal I had ordered.
Before I dove into the salad, we did make our way up to the dessert case to review our choice of dessert after the meal. The choices were slim again due to the overflow business that they had had the night before.
When our meals arrived at the table, they were well presented on the plates and were a visual feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. The chicken and dumplings were chocked full of tender bits of chicken, light homemade dumplings in a smooth creamy chicken stock, and, like the chicken and dumplings, the fried green tomatoes were all about hand-made charm. The tomatoes were lightly coated with a corn meal breading with a great down-home flavor and texture, the cabbage was tender, succulent, favorable and tasty.
My T-Bone covered up an ample portion of the large platter it was served on. Cooked to perfection, (I had ordered it cooked medium), it was a taste sensation with the lemon parsley butter slathered on top of it. The fries that were served with it left no doubt they were hand-cut and deep fried. You could actually taste the potato flavor unlike the frozen variety that taste more like cardboard.
We finished up our meals and then Debra ordered the Chocolate Cream pie ($2.95) and I had the Coconut Cream pie ($2.95). Both desserts were to die for and had been made on the premises. The crust was light and flaky, just like your mother or grandmother made every Sunday in times gone by. A visit to The Southern Table is not complete with a slice of pie.
We’re already planning our next visit to Chef Kilburn’s restaurant. We’ve discussed what we would order and Debra has decided to give the two piece fried chicken plate ($7.95) and I’m going to have the three piece Southern Fried Catfish Filets ($9.95).
The Southern Farm Table will be hosting a Candlelight Valentines Dinner featuring Chef’s Selections of Steak for two or Chicken Chardonnay for two, including salad, vegetables, beverage, and Chocolate Covered Strawberries as well as a chocolate tasting featuring Kilburn & Company Fine Artisan Chocolates. A Special Evening for two is $24.95 per couple. Seating is limited, so call and reserve your spot as soon as possible. You may also visit the restaurant during business hours to place your reservations.
When you visit The Southern Farm Table Restaurant and Bakery, be sure and tell Chef Kilburn and his staff that you read about them on The Quad-Cities Daily.com and you will receive a great big free smile from your wait staff. And as always, we suggest that you tip your server generously for their excellent service.
Unless noted, all images by Dave Reasons, Sr.
Recommendations: Chicken and dumplings
Suggestions: Be sure and try the Coconut Cream Pie
Ambience: Housed in a re-purposed building, family friendly
Vegetarian-friendly: Try the Vegetable Lovers Plate; A complete meal served with your choice of any four sides. ($6.95)
Facebook: Southern Farm Table
Credit Cards: Accepted
Business Hours: Friday & Saturday 11:00am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 3:00pm
Location: 4160 County Road 200, Florence, AL 35633