In the south, there are many restaurants and food shops that you can stop and get a traditional soul food meal. Taste and See in Troy, Alabama is one of those places. The drive in restaurant is located at 1121 U.S. Highway 231 south. Taste and See is locally owned by Robert Lee. Hungry travelers heading north and south on 231 may view the big, colorful sign and marvel at the restaurant’s name. Those who stop in and actually try the food are usually hooked after the first visit.
Taste and See offers its visitors a pleasurable visit while serving hot, well-seasoned traditional soul food, Lee calls his restaurant “quick service.” Not many quick service restaurants offer made to order meals. Nor do many quick serves offer fresh fried catfish – whole or fillet. Fewer still serve fried chicken livers, gizzards and tilapia. Lee and his staff have a reputation for serving sit down menu meals out of the windows of his five month old drive-in restaurant. To date, Taste and See offers customers 14 different dinner combinations. Coming very soon to join the menu offerings is the Tasty Burger – Taste and See’s signature hamburger, as well as grilled fish and chicken.
As the owner of Taste and See, Lee has had 21 years in the food service industry. He learned the various elements that make for running a restaurant successfully. Taste and See is a tribute to his training and experience. The restaurant also represents his passion about his faith in God.
Recently, I had the chance to sit at one of the stone tables with Lee and talk to him about the philosophy behind the name Taste and See.
“We selected a name that represents the type of food we are offering. Taste and See is reference to a scripture that goes on to say that the man who trusts God will have success,” Lee said. “We try to put our best foot forward. We represent ourselves and also the kingdom. Which is one reason we don’t take shortcuts, even if it means we bring in less profit.”
Another remarkable thing about Taste and See is the fact they do not open on Sundays. This is what Lee said when I asked him about that. “When I had the opportunity to open my own business, I decided to close on Sundays and make it a day of rest,” Lee said. “I have always praised Chic-Fil-A for closing Sundays and letting their employee’s off at a reasonable time.”
Lee realizes that some restaurants need to be open on Sundays. He explained to me, “I don’t think we’re one of them. You have to find your niche and be original.,” he said. “You can’t pattern yourself after others. You have to find your true calling.”
Is Taste and See, a locally owned Troy restaurant that opened on May 25th of this year, one of Robert Lee’s callings?There is only one way to tell. By experiencing the restaurant’s food and customer service. For my visit, I ordered fried chicken livers, corn nuggets, cole slaw with tea. When I opened my carryout plate, I was greeted by at least a dozen plump livers. The breading was flavorful and crisp while the livers themselves were soft and moist. Hot, fresh corn nuggets are addictive anyway (anyone from the south knows what I mean). The cole slaw was both sweet and spicy. I’d say yes, Taste and See is definitely Lee’s calling.
Taste and See is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, they’re open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.