Wiregrass Wonders: Hunt’s Restaurant
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - 66 years ago, the legacy of Hunt’s Restaurant was born.
“My daddy opened this place back in November of 1956,” said owner Tim Reeves. “He was working for Mr. Charlie Hunt. That’s the reason it’s called Hunt’s. He leased the place from him. He looked after Mr. and Mrs. hunt. After he died, they willed daddy this place.”
What started as a gas station back in the 1920s, has quickly turned into one of the top seafood establishments in the southeast.
“It had an oyster bar and a bar,” said Reeves. “It had a little bit of food, but not much. We just kept growing from there.”
Hunt’s has seen its fair share of renovations over the years. The original three-seat oyster bar has transformed into a full-scale eating establishment that now seats over 200 people.
Despite the changes over the years, the consistency that Hunt’s provides to its customers never waivers.
“You have to have some good employees,” said Reeves. “First thing you have to do is you have to get the food out right. It’s got to be right and it’s got to be consistent because that will put you in trouble faster than anything. And getting the right product. I’m very particular about what I buy. We don’t change the name. I’m real particular about that because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Ah yes, the food. The integral part of restaurant. From catfish to chili dogs, Hunt’s has you covered for whatever you may be craving.
“We have a 15 piece shrimp special and that’s one of our biggest sellers,” said Reeves. “We do a real good job with steaks too. We do a ribeye and a filet. That was something I meant that you go to a seafood restaurant, don’t order the steak. Well you can order a steak at Hunt’s. I think we do a very excellent job with beef.”
But the piece de resistance.
“Hunt’s wouldn’t be Hunt’s without oysters.”
The seafood delicacy enjoyed by many is what put and kept Hunt’s on the map.
“When it gets cooler, that’s just everybody wanting to eat oysters,” said Reeves. “That’s what makes it go. About October 1 through March, it’s like turning on the light.”
And there’s more than one way to serve them up.
“We do them all kind of ways. We do oyster stewards, baked oysters, and we do fried,” said Reeves. “Hot sauce. We make a bunch. We have about 60 or 70 blends of cocktail sauce that we make up there. "
Over six decades of service in the circle city, Hunt’s is hopeful to continue its tradition for another 60 years and leave a lasting legacy as a Wiregrass Wonder.
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