DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A local restaurant has now won the title of having the best peach cobbler in the state of Alabama.
Ray’s Restaurant is now known for having “Bama’s Best Peach Cobbler,” all thanks to a recipe handed down to owner Christi Peterson by her grandmother. It involves turning peaches, cobbler and vailla ice cream into a signature dessert.
“When we were preparing for the judges, I said, ‘I hope they don’t ask for the recipe because it’s a little of this, a little of that!’” said Peterson, who bought the 50-year-old restaurant three years ago with parents Chan and Carolyn Elliott.
During harvest season, Peterson features fresh-grown peaches from Aplin Farms, located in Slocomb, in cobbler to get that fresh peach flavor.
“In the spring, I like to cut up a few peaches and start getting a little fresh peach taste. My granny always made her cobbler with canned peaches unless we had good, fresh peaches,” she said. “I don’t like cobbler all bready, either. I take it from the oven when it’s a little runny so the cobbler is like a gel when it gets cold.”
Ray’s was nominated through with the help of restaurant regulars, which Peterson said she is a reward in of itself.
“It’s an honor to say we were even nominated,” Peterson said. “My paternal grandmother read about the contest in Neighbors magazine and said, ‘Christi, you need to do this.’ So, we did, and our customers responded in the best way possible.”
As the victor, Ray’s Restaurant receives $300 from the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA) and a spot in the June edition of Neighbors magazine.
One judge said Ray’s knew how to combine the ingredients to make Bama’s Best Peach Cobbler.
“Every bite was a perfect mixture and blend of peaches and cobbler,” said AFVGA President Taylor Hatchett, a farmer from Chilton County.
Another judge said the restaurant’s way of making the cobbler reminds him of his childhood. He also praised the mom-and-pop feel the restaurant has and how it functions as a community hotspot for locals and out-of-towners.
“Ray’s recipe is what I grew up calling peach cobbler,” SouthernBite.com’s Stacey Little said. “It has tons of peach flavor. So much goes into a dish like this. It’s not something you can mass produce.”
Ray’s Restaurant opens Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 5 a.m. to noon. Check out their menu at raysdothan.com.