We live in South Huntsville, and it never fails that at least one night a week, we’re all tired of home-cooked food and eager to head out and eat somewhere. The plague of South Huntsville in that regard is that – inevitably – every other household is doing the same thing. The wait time in most South Huntsville eating establishments border on 15-45 minutes, depending on the night, and when you have a baby in tow.. well, you know how precious those minutes are.
Eight times out of ten, we’ll forget that there is a mountain just east of us, and that mountain takes us to a brand new place. A forgotten land called.. Hampton Cove.
Eateries abound in Hampton Cove! There are plenty of them to choose from! And yet, we forget this most of the time.
When we’re lucky, we remember, and head over the mountain to our perennial favorite – Tortora’s.
They proclaim to have “casual Italian dining”, and thankfully, they deliver. The dining room holds quite a few tables, and they share a patio with their bar next door that also holds another 10 or so tables. (Note: when we were there recently, the patio was open to the diners who wished to brave the chill, but we chose not to. The patio appeared to be unheated, although it is covered in plastic curtains to keep the breeze out.)
Tortora’s has plenty of local admiration to be proud of. With tons of accolades – including Best Pizza in Northeast Alabama and Best Pizza in Huntsville – and a large following, the place is usually buzzing, although not always overcrowded. Their pizzas are made to order – you can see the dough being tossed sometimes – and they taste every bit of homemade.
To be fair, I’m not a pizza person. That’s okay! Let me personally recommend their house salad – full of Gorgonzola, candied pecans, and pears, complete with a pear vinaigrette – it’s truly a fantastic feature. I’m also partial to their tortellini carbonara, which is one of the only things I’ll ever eat onions in. Both their salads and their pastas come in a full or a half portion, so you can get a great meal without feeling uncomfortably full.
Alright, okay. Enough about me, right? WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? THINK OF THE CHILDREN, SARAH.
The good news is that Tortora’s seems to understand what kids want. Namely, they want something to do while they wait for their food.
They’ve broken the almighty kid code at Tortora’s, providing pizza dough to keep little hands busy while the grown-ups talk. (Or, if you’re at my table, the kids have to defend their dough because the grown-ups want to play with it.)
A kids’ menu is offered with plenty of basic options – pizza, pasta, and chicken fingers are a few of the things we’ve tried – and they all meet the approval of my very picky eaters. (All choices ring in at $3.25, and I don’t believe they include a drink.) There are plenty of large screen tvs scattered around the dining room, although they’ve been tuned to a variety of sports every time we’ve been in.
One of my favorite things about Tortora’s is the family dining approach. With no booths and only tables, it’s easy to accommodate a large party. We often plan family gatherings here and they’ve been great and attentive to us while were there. (We have several gluten-free, dairy-free family members, and they’ve been great about letting us bring our own cakes.)
(And I can personally attest to their bar selection, which offers specialized martinis, wines, and classic cocktails.)
A trip to Tortora’s wouldn’t be complete without a plate of zeppoles, a southern Italian dessert that could be likened to a fried donut – but I’m not sure that does it justice. We like ours with just powdered sugar on the top, but you can get yours with fruit compote or chocolate or any mixture your heart desires. One plate offers more than enough for a table to share.
If you’re looking for a family joint where you can gather around a table and everyone seems to really enjoy themselves, let me personally recommend Tortora’s. It’s one place we can all agree on, and we all leave really, really glad we made the trip.
Tortora’s Casual Family Dining
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm | Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm | Sun: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Address: 182 Old Highway 431, Suite B, Owens Cross Roads, Alabama 35763
Phone: (256) 536-6100
Tortora’s Facebook Page