“All aboard!” A man sporting a conductor’s uniform swiftly rang a bell, signaling guests to enter the dining car.
“Tickets! Show us your tickets and come inside. Have them ready!” I took the ticket out of my pocket and read my destination: Memphis.
Tonight, everyone who arrived at the dining car would be served a destination-themed meal that featured favorites from the city known as the “Birthplace of Rock-n-Roll.” That meant I’d be eating the dry-rubbed smoked ribs that I’d already smelled sizzling near the back of the car. But for now, the beer cornbread on the table would have to satisfy me.
Carefully, I stepped into the car and was greeted by an old-fashioned bar where experts were mixing the restaurant’s signature “Blue Bayou” cocktail. Bright blue booths lined one side of the car, complete with multiple mason jars, bowls, plates, and a lazy susan where family-style fare would be served.
It was time to travel to Memphis without ever leaving the Rocket City.
What is The Blue Bayou in Huntsville?
Located at the popular A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, The Blue Bayou is one of the city’s newest dining experiences that invites guests to enjoy meals from different areas of the South without actually having to travel there.
The Blue Bayou is a stationary dining car that creates a unique experience through authentic cuisine, 1920’s décor, an intricate ceiling mural, televisions, music, and storytelling that transports guests to another place and time. And you can enjoy it all without having to pack a bag, because this train stays in place at the Lumberyard!
Each evening—Tuesday through Sunday—the train car offers a new rotating menu. Cuisines are inspired from Huntsville, Montgomery, Memphis, New Orleans, Jackson, and Atlanta. So be sure you visit more than once to enjoy them all!
On my visit, our menu was made up of dry-smoked ribs, Portobello mushrooms stuffed with fresh spinach and goat cheese, beer cornbread, grilled asparagus, mac and cheese, and King’s PB&J banana French toast bites for dessert. It was quite the feast and there was plenty of food for our whole party!
Travel Back To The Prohibition Era
A visit to The Blue Bayou is more than a trip geographically; it’s also a journey through time. Everything down to the staff’s railroad attire harks back to the year 1924 when the train car would have been in its heyday.
As the first course is delivered, you will enjoy media vignettes of railroad history and folklore. Music of George Gershwin plays over the speakers. You learn about the composer creating his famous Rhapsody in Blue on a very similar train to The Blue Bayou.
By the time you finish appetizers, you will sip classic cocktails that include Prohibition-era favorites like an Old Fashioned and new creations like The Blue Bayou cocktail. The lazy susan is never bare because each course is served promptly one after the other. You’ll feel as if starlets of the 1920’s are just one car over, sipping on champagne and discussing the scenery as the train whizzes by.
How To Make Reservations on the Blue Bayou
In order to hop on the train for your evening meal, you will have to make sure you have a ticket ready. And you’ll need to purchase it in advance.
Tickets are available online up to 30 days before your visit, and booths hold up to six people. To catch the train, show up at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time.
After-hour Nightcaps in Huntsville
Once the plates for the evening meal are clear, the car transforms into cocktail tables. It's perfect for watching the many live performances at the bars throughout the Lumberyard.
Remember, you have to be 21+ to board the train for nightcaps. But no ticket is required!
Destination Dining At Its Finest
When we took the final bites of our King’s PB&J and sipped the last of our cocktails, the conductor stood up to lead us in song. Everyone in the car joined in.
“I’ve been working on the railroad, all the live long day…”
As the rounds of song faded, the evening ended with all happy guests. Everyone was clapping and congratulated the staff on a job well done. The conductor tipped his hat and invited us back to try a new destination on our next visit.
At The Blue Bayou, you’ll get much more than a meal. You’ll enjoy an experience that includes history, entertainment, and—of course—delicious food.
So take a trip to the Roaring 20’s and savor the tastes, sights, sounds, and stories of this beautifully refurbished 1924 railway car. The Blue Bayou is destination dining at its finest.
Have you visited The Blue Bayou? What destination is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!