This Spring, all of Athens celebrated as the new City Hall building was completed, moved into, and ready for business. One of the challenges that accompanied the project was the extended closing of North Marion Street, which made access to Drucilla’s Restaurant much more challenging. Now that traffic is flowing freely again, Drucilla’s is celebrating by announcing a special “Grand Reopening” event to be held on June 10th and 11th. It is a reservations-only Victorian Supper by Candlelight, and Chef Angela McClure will be preparing a lovely 4 course meal for the occasion.
We’ll talk a bit more about all that Drucilla’s has to offer, as well as Chef Angela’s fascinating background, but for now, a bit of history for those of you who are not familiar with Drucilla’s. It is beautifully situated in a wonderful house located at 300 North Marion, in the historical section of Athens. It is named after Olna Drucilla Bullington, who taught both at Piney Chapel and Ardmore, and she was the grandmother of the owner, Carol Holland. Drucilla was a great cook, and taught Carol both to love cooking and do it well. Carol is a native of Athens, got her engineering degree from UAH, and for 35 years she worked for the Department of Defense as an Industrial Systems Engineer. She retired, and when the house on Marion became available in 2014, she knew this was the place where she would be able to realize her lifelong dream of being a restaurateur. She was already familiar with the house, (known as the Manse,) as her brother went to school with the boys who used to live there, and she knew it would be the perfect place to launch Drucilla’s.
The house was built in 1901 as the Manse (or parsonage) of the Presbyterian Church, and since then has sheltered both families and businesses. It has been beautifully maintained, and has leaded windows that cast rainbows on the walls when the sun shines through. It boasts the high ceilings of the day, has two fireplaces, and is furnished cheerfully with brightly colored tablecloths as well as an eclectic assortment of antique tables and chairs, which Carol loves to arrange so that each place offers a different chair in which to sit. The daily menu could be described as being “Southern Eclectic,” and the “you choose” theme is reflected there as well. All the Southern standards from chicken salad, banana pudding, home-made pies and yeast rolls, to quiche and Poulet Normandie, (a French chicken dish) are available, and Carol has been able to hold to her hope of keeping lunch for two under $20.
Drucilla’s has another special feature which I have thoroughly enjoyed, and that is their high teas. They are custom designed; you get to pick your tea cup, tea pot, and flavors of tea for your event.” They include all the elements of a “proper English tea,” including scones, tarts, dill sandwiches, and more. They start at $9.95 and go up to $19.95, and the kitchen needs a 24-hour notice so they can custom design and display your wishes. Drucilla’s is a perfect place for bridal or baby showers, family reunion dinners, small weddings, and catering is a big part of their array of services. If you work in the downtown Athens area, they will also deliver lunch to you.
Now, for Montgomery native Chef Angela McClure and the collaborative effort that will pull off the Victorian Candlelight Suppers with aplomb. Angela could be described as a true “Southern renaissance woman,” holds a law degree, has worked at 5 star restaurants in North Alabama, is nearly finished with her culinary arts certification from Drake State, and will be spending next summer in France learning haute cuisine from a French Master Chef. Oh, and did I mention that she owns and breeds champion racehorses, breeds and shows rottweilers, and is a licensed dog groomer? She grooms Carol’s Shih Tzus, and that’s how they met. She especially loves to create fabulous meat dishes, and for the special supper, one of the entrees will be a layered filet mignon with fresh accompaniments which has been aptly named “Steak Drucilla.” As a matter of course, Carol loves to feature local produce as much as possible, everything will be homemade, and all of it is going to come together for a memorable meal to celebrate their Grand Reopening.
There simply is no restaurant in Athens that can offer the combination of a superbly crafted meal set in a beautiful historic home, and Drucilla’s would love to invite you to make your reservations today for an evening you’ll never forget. Serving will start at 5:30 pm, and the kitchen will close at 8:30 pm both nights.
300 North Marion Street
Athens, AL, 35611
Hours: M-F 10:30-2
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner