Driving from New Orleans to Atlanta, I was delighted to find Wintzell's Oyster House in Saraland, Ala., where we watched the highway traffic pass as we enjoyed a lunch of seafood gumbo, chili, crab soup and a dozen raw Louisiana oysters, shucked after I ordered them. At the Cracker Barrel Store (No. 231) in Opelika, Ala., we had the fish fry (we chose cod instead of farmed catfish) and a bowl of some of the best turnip greens I've ever had.
The next day, on the leg from Atlanta to Roanoke, Va., we stopped at the family-owned Daddy Joe's Beach House in Gaffney, S.C., for lunch and were bowled over by the saucy St. Louis-style pork ribs -- the tender meat came easily off the bone -- and the pulled-pork sandwich with coleslaw.
On the back of Daddy Joe's menu is a history of barbecue in the South: "These roadside BBQ shacks were an interracial meeting place long before the forced integration of the 1950s and 1960s.... In some places, blues and boogie-woogie music ... drew fans of every class and color."