Story By Natalie Salvatore
Anyone can instantly feel a sense of family upon entering the Waverly Local, a Southern cuisine, locally-owned restaurant, operated by childhood friends Christian Watson and Andy Anderson.
Located down Highway 280 at 1465 Patrick St. in Waverly, Alabama, the restaurant is now a central part of this quaint and historic community. The restaurant’s building comes with its own story, as it once was one of Alabama’s first Ford dealerships.
Instead of completely destroying the building’s significant features and design when creating the restaurant, the owners decided to repurpose the space while preserving its roots. The restaurant’s exterior is rustic yet modern, with red brick and green doors. It is aesthetically pleasing and intriguing to passing cars and curious customers.
The Waverly Local looks like a welcoming place to stop and enjoy a meal. The clean and comfortable interior confirms this.
Watson has been the executive chef and operating partner of the restaurant since it opened in January of 2018.
The business is all about simple, Southern hospitality and making the community feel important, he said.
“Food and drink are served with the intention to convey the passion and love that are put into each,” Watson said.
The restaurant has deeply impacted local residents of Waverly and the surrounding areas in Alabama.
The Waverly Local is a quick drive for university students and Auburn-Opelika community members, especially since it is only 15 minutes away from Auburn.
“It’s a place to commune, break bread and share community, love and life,” Watson said. “The tax revenue generated for the town of Waverly doesn’t hurt either.”
This local business, like many others, was affected tremendously by the COVID-19 global pandemic that began in March. However, it has been able to thrive despite the unprecedented situation.
“With the overwhelming support from our regulars and locals, we were able to sustain through curbside pick-up until we were able to reopen for dine-in service,” Watson said.
Now, with new operating hours, The Waverly Local is open once again for sit-down meals. Dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday, from 4 to 9 p.m. and Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant features both dining room and patio seating.
“We’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the community,” Watson said. “We were one of the first in the area to close due to concerns for our team members and customers and will do it again if we feel that is what’s best.”
A Sister Restaurant:
The Waverly Local is branching out. Its most recent development is the new Auburn Plaza Bar & Lounge, which opened July 31. This sister restaurant will have a dive-bar feel and serve upscale bar food and drinks in Midtown Auburn. Guests can also enjoy live music on the patio while they dine.
After sitting down and taking in the scene, guests can look over a menu chock full of good options.
The executive chef has many top-selling favorites he recommends new-comers try: Bacon-Wrapped Wickle’s Okra, the Daily Gulf Offering and the Grilled Prime Ribeye, among a few.
The best-selling soup and salad dish is Meme’s Caesar Salad. The most popular dessert is the Coconut Cake.
Menu items come at a variety of prices. Some entrees are more upscale than others. Dine on a fancier steak or choose something more traditional and classic. The menu is kept modest by design – the restaurant aims at quality over quantity.
The staff regularly updates the seasonal menu to stay in line with what local ingredients are available. That, along with the extensive meal preparation that goes into every dish pumped out of their kitchen, elevates this local business to the next level.
Watson takes pride in his dedication to quality service and clean, organic ingredients. The Waverly Local also takes pride in its bar menu, which features signature cocktails and numerous wine and beer choices.
Anderson and Watson truly established a local gem that has proven its reputation as a restaurant to beat. It is a place to gather with family or friends while enjoying each other’s company over fresh, Southern food.
“We have a unique opportunity in this hospitality business to be a part of one of the most sacred parts of a family’s/friend’s/neighbor’s tradition, to share a meal. We’re truly honored when someone allows us to be a part of that special time. It’s quite rewarding when we can make someone smile through our hospitality and be a part of a special memory.”
Photos Contributed By The Waverly Local