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ALABAMA EATS: The Helena Depot offers a side of history with your hamburger

AJ Johnson and the Alabama Eats crew made their way down I-65 South to Helena, Ala. this week to visit a local favorite, The Helena Depot Deli & Grill.

From 1872 to 1905, the building the restaurant now resides in was the hub of activity for the area — The Helena Freight House and Depot. Most goods and people arriving or departing from Helena passed through the depot. It is one of the oldest structures remaining in town, surviving the disastrous 1895 fire, the tragic 1933 tornado and numerous floods.

Now located in the heart of Olde Town Helena and nestled comfortably near the Buck Creek Waterfall, The Depot is one of the Birmingham area’s best kept family restaurant secrets.

“When we bought it in 2003, Helena was the fastest growing city in the state,” said Matt Bisaot, The Depot’s owner. “It’s the original freight house… just been redone into a sandwich shop.”

The entire inside of the building is covered in one-dollar bills, which Bisaot says started after a young girl asked if she could hang one up like they do at McGuires down at the beach.

“She did it and the rest of them just sort of followed suit,” he said.

Regulars recommend the burgers, the club sandwich, and perhaps more than anything — the Philly cheesesteak.

“I’m hearing a lot about this Philly cheese,” AJ said after talking to several customers. “Even my cameraman is giving me the thumbs up about the Philly cheese.”

Memorable hometown cooking and a friendly atmosphere keep the regular patrons coming back for more.

“The food is constantly great and the service is always good,” said one customer. “It’s supporting your local community. The owner lives here. It’s continuing to invest in (local) business.”

Check out The Depot in the video above. Got a local spot you want our crew to check out? Email us HERE.

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