New Restaurant in Former Southland Building Could Open Before August
With the historic Southland Restaurant in Cottondale closing its doors for the final time earlier this year, a new spot, focusing on traditional, down home cooking, is set to open in the same space this July.
Signage is already in place at 5833 Skyland Blvd E in Cottondale for the new establishment dubbed Cottondale Southern Kitchen, promising to offer a "new experience" for the area, per head chef Sandra Cramper.
"We wanted to bring a country kitchen up here. We know how to do everything from scratch and we like down-to-earth southern cooking with great hospitality."
Cramper, a Birmingham native, told the Thread their establishment's opening came from a long-time vision of her nephew, Justice Irving. After moving to Cottondale to work as a mechanic, Irving let the restaurant idea simmer while keeping his aunt in mind, knowing her passion for cooking and hospitality.
The vision recently coming to fruition was a shocking surprise to his aunt.
"He called me one day and said, 'Come down here!,' and I didn't even know where I was going - he gave me the keys," said Cramper.
However, there have been unusual barriers besides the property's age to the restaurant's rebranding and subsequent reopening.
"Some of the machines have deteriorated, so we're bringing out old ones and replacing them with new equipment... It had a lot of vandalism - the walls had been written on and the plumbing had been pulled up," said Cramper.
"Everything was backed up in the kitchen and the roof was falling in. Whoever had the building last left a lot of their stuff in here."
As previously reported by the Thread in April, the Southland Restaurant, a West Alabama staple, had been in operation since 1947, moving to it's final Cottondale location on Skyland Boulevard in 1989.
With the current state of the building, new ownership says it anticipates an opening in late July.