RSVP Montgomery

The A&P Social and Kudzu Noodle Bar

JULY/AUGUST 2015

Angela Hardgrave

I have a confession to make. I have lived in the Montgomery area for 14 years, and until recently, had never been to the Old Cloverdale historic district. I had no idea what I was missing! The streets are lined with families out for a stroll, friends chatting and folks enjoying good drinks and great food—which is what led me here. Tucked away in The A&P Lofts mixed-use development are two dining experiences that are worth checking out. 

The A&P Social and Kudzu Noodle Bar may share a kitchen, a head chef and may both feature Southern cuisine but each restaurant is unique. The owners of both locations are Harvi Sahota and Anna Lowder. They said, “We are thrilled to have two great places that highlight the quality and creativity of the New South here in Montgomery. We believe in the importance of ‘neighborhood’and sense of place, and Kudzu and The A&P Social add to that belief. We love seeing tourists, locals and neighborhood regulars enjoying these places.” 

My first stop was The A&P Social, which is built on the site of a former A&P Grocery store. The dining room is sophisticated without being stuffy, and each member of the staff, which is more like a family, is attentive and accommodating. Their team’s commitment to quality is evident. The food is definitely Southern—like pimento cheese, deviled eggs, and fried chicken—but updated in unexpected ways. Using local ingredients is key. They look to the Gulf Coast for fresh seafood and the Black Belt for high-quality meats and produce. Many of their jellies, coffees and liquors are also local, and the grits featured in the Shrimp & Grits menu item are from Oakview Farms in Wetumpka. 

I sampled many signature dishes that evening and not one was disappointing. The Gulf Oysters were succulent and perfectly dressed, the Tuna Tartare was beautiful, the Harvest Salad was fresh, and the Chocolate Boozey Sundae was a sweet end to an incredible meal. I wish I could have tried some of everything. I see a return trip with friends in the near future. 

The next evening, I returned to Cloverdale but this time for a trip to Kudzu Noodle Bar. This was a totally different experience yet no less amazing. Born out of a love for ramen—real ramen with its rich broth and airy noodles—and a desire to bring Asian cuisine with a Southern twist to Montgomery, Kudzu Noodle Bar opened its doors in February 2015. The name and the slogan, “Deep Rooted in the South,”both come from the infamous Japanese plant slowly taking over the Southern states. Like the plant, Kudzu may be expanding its borders. Sahota and Lowder said, “We’ve been approached to open Kudzu locations throughout the South, and we’re scouting locations now.” 
The menu is budget friendly but also wildly original. I tried a Bulgogi Bun, a steamed bun filled with rib eye and chili sauce, and then the Tonkatsu Redneck Ramen, which turned out to be my favorite. Where else can you find slow roasted pork and collards paired with bean sprouts, nitamago (a soy-marinated egg), and ramen? Dessert was a heavenly fried steamed bun with sesame dipping sauce. 

The genius behind the cuisine of both restaurants is Chef Miguel Figueroa. Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico but has recently made his home in Montgomery. He inherited his passion for food from his father and grandfather, whom always cooked with the freshest ingredients. Even now, Puerto Rican favorites like fried pork, rice and beans are his go-to dishes at home, a home he shares with his wife and four daughters. Figueroa attended Le Cordon Bleu, but his greatest culinary influences have been Chef Leo Maurelli, III, Chef Andrew Litherland, Chef Juan C. Mercado and Chef Massimo Fedozzi. Figueroa loves living and working in Montgomery, where he and his food have been heartily welcomed. 

Whether you choose The A&P Social or Kudzu Noodle Bar for your next evening out, you won’t be disappointed. Just bring a love of good food, good people and good fun and be ready to experience Southern ingredients and Southern charm at its finest. 

The A&P Social 
Dinner Mon-Sat 5:30-9pm (Happy Hour 4:30-6pm), Sunday Bruch 11am-2pm 
www.theapsocial.com
Follow on Facebook and Instagram for updates 

Kudzu Noodle Bar 
Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, Dinner Mon-Wed 5pm-9pm, Dinner Thu-Sat 5pm-9:30pm 
www.kudzunoodlebar.com
Online ordering available 

Location: 503 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery 36106

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