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The Depot Restaurant in Florala is open and ready for business

The Depot Restaurant in Florala opened its newly renovated doors yesterday to a hungry crowd, owner Rustin Sorensen said.

“We have a lot of stuff that we wanted to do right,” Sorensen said. “We wanted to get things ready before we hit the ground running. A lot of these things take time, like decorating and putting all the things on the wall.”

So far, the community has been great and supportive, Sorensen said.

“We have a lot of people that are really excited,” Sorensen said. “We have been asked several times that if we were hiring or if we were opened when we were still getting things ready. They have just been so supportive.”

Sorensen said that the thing they are looking forward to the most is serving the Florala community.

“I think serving the community is the most important thing,” Sorensen said. “I feel like the area hasn’t had that much of a place to sit down and eat in a family style restaurant. We are very excited to show off the beauty and history of that building as well.”

Florala’s L&N depot had an office with four ticket windows opening into separate rooms – waiting room for men, a waiting room for women, a waiting room for minorities and a freight office.

The central part of the building is being renovated as a kitchen, and the rear area – most recently used as a community room – will be an event center. Owner Clay Hall said a bridal suite for wedding parties will be built adjacent to the restrooms, and a bar and other event amenities are being added.

“I am ready for people to just see the wood in the building,” Hall said. “There is this hard pine wood that was put in in the 1900s. It’s wood that you just can’t get anymore. It is so impressive to see how hard it is and how pretty the wood is. Once we cleaned it up, knocked the dust off of it and shined it up, it is amazing. Just the architecture is amazing as well, because they built all of this without having to use screws or anything like that.”

The owners said that their opening day was a huge success.

“I called Clay and he said that they opened the doors at 11 a.m., and they were completely swamped by 11:30,” Sorensen said. “He said that they had a couple of hundred of people walk in during the lunch hour. We are ready to get a lot of feedback and make some small changes to make the experience even better for our customers.”

Current plans are for The Depot Restaurant to be open weekdays with lunch specials. The restaurant also will be open several nights a week featuring a full-service menu.

The depot is located at 1109 5th Street, about a block off Hwy. 331.

Regular operating hours are as follows:

Closed Monday
Tuesday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Wednesday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.