Mullins Drive In

26 Jun 2011
Average Cost ($8-$14)
Downtown Huntsville
2 out of 5

Melanie’s Take

Mullins has been around a long time in Huntsville. I’m a huge fan of supporting established local restaurants, and I’ve tried to like Mullins (really, I have), but I just don’t. The first time Shane and I ate here, we were unimpressed with their meat and three fare (several items tasted as if they were straight out of the can), but a friend of ours raved about it, so we went back to give it a try with him. I remember that visit being tastier, but nothing extraordinary. When we went to Mullins this time, it was for breakfast. Our friend who’s a fan said it was their best meal. I ordered the bacon and cheese omelet, which was served with grits and a biscuit.

As soon as the food arrived, my heart sank. I could tell from the light brown color of my omelet that it was overcooked. The eggs were rubbery and the cheese inside was so sparse that I didn’t get a bite of it until I reached the middle of the omelet. Once I reached the middle, I was happy to stop eating. The bacon throughout the dish was a salt lick. Shane was convinced that it was yesterday’s recooked bacon, and he might be right. It was dark and lacked any texture variations in freshly cooked bacon. The grits were just grits and the biscuit was stale and previously frozen. Although I really want to love Mullins, I just can’t. While it may be a Huntsville establishment, I cannot understand how it has remained in business all these years. It would be great to see someone come in and revitalize the place, so this piece of Huntsville history could be a “must visit.”

Shane’s Take

I’ll just put it out there: Mullins is no good. As I’ve said before, a restaurant remains open only if it serves good food or invokes nostalgia. With Mullins, it’s all nostalgia.

With its age and vintage feel, the atmosphere is almost inviting, but the lack of care leaves it feeling mostly old and worn-out. I like the non-alcoholic bar one encounters when entering the store, and the caricatures that adorn the walls are interesting, but I’m turned off by the colors and the cheap countertops. Likewise, I enjoy the old-school exposed brick and the dining room that oddly spans numerous rooms, but the furnishings have received little attention in years, and the pictures and stand-up cardboard cut-outs are drab and faded. With some maintenance and decor updates, the interior could be appealing, but it’s just not there right now.

Unfortunately, the food is hardly better. I forget the name of the dish, but I ordered a big breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, grits, a biscuit, and a pancake. The eggs tasted fine, and the pancake was okay, but the rest was a bust. The bacon was more salty than anything, and the sausage was just sausage. The biscuit couldn’t have come from scratch, and the grits were painfully bland (not to say grits ever have much flavor). Sure, the food was plentiful, but there was no pride to be found anywhere. The meal, like the store, was worn-out and tired. Summing up, I don’t recommend Mullins. The food isn’t good, the atmosphere is almost creepy, and, except for deliriously laughing at Melanie’s disgusting omelet, I had no fun eating there. It’s unfortunate, but it seems that Mullins’ best days are gone.

Final thoughts:

  • By my measurements, Mullins is the second-oldest restaurant in Huntsville. The oldest, Big Spring Cafe, opened in 1928. Mullins opened the following year. I don’t know of any other local restaurant that comes close to the age of those two.
  • I have never drunk worse coffee in my life. Each sip brought to my mind the phrase “sewer water”. Let me put it like this: I imagined myself a pirate when raising a flag at Schnitzel Ranch; I fancied myself an English fox hunter while eating a hearty mash at Watercress; I imagined myself a drowning rat while drinking coffee at Mullins.
  • Mullins is like an old horse: It was good for a while and will be remembered fondly for a long time, but at some point it’s in everyone’s best interest that it go ahead and die.
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One Response

  1. John

    Well put. The new Mullins? A disaster in the making I understand. To sell beer.

    You’re kidding! All they need to make the place even creepier is to add a bunch sitting around drinking beer. I won’t be there for sure.

    Can you imagine the smell of beer drifting by as you start your banana pudding?

    Stupid people!

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