Taste of Downtown: Riverside Restaurant


Riverside Restaurant is a southern diner located right in downtown Florence. Decorated with photos from old westerns and cowboy accessories, this small local owned restaurant even includes a jukebox full of country classics. The restaurant was built somewhere around 1959 and has been in the possession of the current owner for 25 years. Just walking through the front doors takes you back to the year it opened, complete with the mild scent of cigars smoked by their loyal patrons as they enjoy their morning coffee. Children ran and chattered about as their parents spoke cheerfully to someone they hadn’t seen in a long time. It captured the era it was built in perfectly and did not leave anything to be desired or lose any of the downright friendly behavior you would expect from a restaurant of this caliber.


Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can find a classic southern breakfast such as country ham or, if you’re in the mood for supper, could go for a juicy burger. My husband and I went for brunch so I opted for the classic gravy and biscuit combo while he ordered the blt; however, that was no easy choice! There were so many great foods to choose from including top favorites such as catfish or the ribeye steak, I had to work hard to keep my husband from drooling all over the menu. We both got sweet tea and yes, it is as sweet as your grandmother’s. They are open Monday through Thursday from 6:00am to 10:00pm and Friday and Saturday from 6:00am to midnight. You can find them at 111 East Limestone Street in Florence, Alabama. 


Sweet Home FloAla: TVA Trails

For as long as I can remember, my family has always loved being outside. Thankfully, Florence and the Shoals area have no shortage of hiking trails and paths for adventurers with all levels of experience. Last spring, I went with my family to the Rockpile Recreation Area to enjoy the sun and the river.

One of the coolest parts of the trail was passing under the Singing River Bridge that connects Lauderdale and Colbert Counties.  However, there’s also a beautiful waterfall and view of Wilson Dam, a plethora of challenging trails, and picnic areas and playgrounds for families with younger kids or those just looking to experience some of the natural beauty that the Shoals area has to offer.

Sweet Home FloAla: Date Night

Since my boyfriend and I both go to school in Tuscaloosa, nights out at home can be few and far between. For that reason, date nights almost exclusively begin downtown.

I’ve already expressed my love for Trowbridge’s as the perfect lunch spot. However, since the beloved soda fountain closes at 5:30, it always comes down to Ricatoni’s, City Hardware, and Rosie’s for dinner dates.

I am classically indecisive, so narrowing down my options to these three choices sometimes makes things easier…but not always. Ricatoni’s, my all-time favorite restaurant and the location of our first date in 2013, wins me over easily with Fettucine Alfredo and Ravioli Ricatoni. However, City Hardware’s Crab Cake Sandwich and Rosie’s Pollo Loco are also mouth-watering options, and all are so equally tempting that we’ve had to “pick a number between one and three” many times. Thankfully, neither of us is ever disappointed in the winner of that game.

After dinner, Carson and I like to walk down Court Street, often seeking out live music (which is thankfully abundant in the Shoals) or simply enjoying the peacefulness of downtown before finishing out the night with dessert and a $5 movie from Target.

Date nights downtown are one of our favorite traditions, and downtown Florence has so much to offer when it comes to delicious dining and local talent.

Emily Strickland, Communications Intern

Sweet Home Flo-Ala: Trowbridge’s

Until August 2015 I’d lived my whole life in Lauderdale County, so when I entered my freshman year at the University of Alabama I was faced with the prospect of learning an entirely new city. This experience has been important not only because it has been one of my first forays into the independence of adulthood, but also because it gave me a renewed appreciation for the Shoals and the hometown that I love–Florence.

Tuscaloosa has no shortage of meat-and-threes, trains, or championships. One thing Tuscaloosa doesn’t have, though? Trowbridge’s.

The bustling, classic diner has been a Shoals favorite for over a century, and one of my personal favorite downtown spots for as long as I can remember. You’ll come for the chicken salad and pimiento cheese, but you’ll stay for the deliciously iconic desserts. My personal favorite has to be the Coke float, but the restaurant’s really known for the orange pineapple ice cream (a recipe developed by Mr. Trowbridge and later sold to Purity) and the Oh My Gosh (a brownie sundae big enough for your whole party that truly lives up to its name.)

I’ve yet to find an equal to the gem that Trowbridge’s is, and it’s always one of the first spots I and my other out-of-town friends hit as soon as we’re home.

Sweet Home FloAla

Hey there!

My name is Emily Strickland, and I’m a guest blogger and communications intern for Florence Main Street. I am entering my Junior year at the University of Alabama pursuing a degree in Journalism with a double minor in Economics and General Business.

In my time at UA, I’ve completely fallen in love with Tuscaloosa and all it has to offer. However, I’ve also learned that nothing can make one appreciate her hometown more than spending some time away.

That’s why I was so excited to have the opportunity to work with Main Street promoting the city I love. I’ve lived in the Shoals area my whole life and jump at any chance I get to sing its praises. Throughout my internship, I’ll be keeping up a series called “Sweet Home FloAla,” highlighting all of the parts of Florence and the Shoals that I love the most.

My hope is that readers would fall in love with this area just as much as I have. Thanks for reading!


2017 Bacon Festival

Get Ready Bacon Lovers And Mark Your Calendars Now!!

Florence Main Street is bringing the Bacon Festival to Downtown Florence Saturday, September 9th!! This day full of Bacon, Brews, Football, Music and Fun will include several new events and a tasty partnership!


The Downtown Bacon Crawl

Florence Main Street invites you to the 3rd Annual Downtown Bacon Crawl, Saturday, September 9th, 2017 from 10:00am until 2:00pm. Participating businesses will have delicious bacon
related food samples (for ticket holders only!) to enjoy while they shop hop through downtown. (while supplies last) Tickets for the Bacon Crawl are available online (click the 2017 Bacon Crawl button on side of page) or at the Main Street office, 301 North Pine Street, Monday – Friday, 8am until 5pm. Tickets are $10 at the office and $11 online. Tickets will only be sold IN ADVANCE (no day of tickets will be available).
Since tickets are limited, this event will sell out quickly, so you’ll want to get your tickets as soon as possible!


Alabama Craft Beer Festival

1:00pm – 5:00pm
Penny Beer Garden 2017 – Sample the best beers brewed in the
state of Alabama as well as visit with the brewers themselves.
For more information about this event and to purchase tickets,
now on sale, visit their webpage. (link below)



BBQ Block Battle

We’ve added some extra fun to the Bacon Festival! This year you get to compete in our BBQ Block Battle to see who will claim the rights as Boss Hog for 2017! Make the best pork treat and win People’s Choice for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Place! 1st Place wins a cash prize so get your friends together and get cooking!
Don’t want to cook but want to try the treats and vote? Tickets for BBQ Block Battle Tasting are available for purchase now online (click the 2017 BBQ Block Battle Tasting Tickets at the right) or at the Main Street office, 301 North Pine Street, Monday – Friday, 8am until 5pm. Tickets are $10 at the office and $11 online. Only a limited number of tickets available so get yours before they are gone!     Online BBQ Battle Entry Form


Be sure to follow this event for updates and exciting new things added to the event as our planning progresses. We’re so excited!

Florence Main Street
301 North Pine Street
Florence, AL 35630

Business hours:
Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

America’s Main Street Contest

Florence Main Street has the chance to win $25,000! All it takes is one click to vote for #DowntownFlorence to win. You can vote once a day, now through April 23rd. We ask that you please take two seconds to vote and then share with your friends! Think of all the amazing things we could do for our downtown!

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Florence Main Street 3rd Annual Downtown Chocolate Crawl


Downtown Florence boutiques, salons, and other businesses are turning into Chocolate Shops to help you get in the mood for Valentine’s Day! So grab your sweetheart or your best shopping buddy and join us in downtown Florence for the 3rd Annual Downtown Chocolate Crawl presented by Florence Main Street, on Saturday, February 11th from 10am until 3pm (or until treats run out).

“The beginning of the year can be a very slow sales time for our downtown Florence businesses. The Chocolate Crawl is a fun way to get folks downtown for sweet deals and to treat them to chocolate samples of all kinds. This is a great opportunity to check out our unique stores, their winter styles, end of season sales, and maybe some new Spring fashion collections,” said Teryl Shields, Executive Director of Florence Main Street.

Tickets for the event are $10.00 each and can be purchased online (click here)
or at the Main Street office, 301 North Pine Street, in downtown Florence. There are a limited number of tickets available, so early purchases are encouraged. Anyone purchasing a ticket before February 1 will be entered into a drawing for $25 Downtown Dollars that can be redeemed at participating stores. Downtown Dollars spend just like cash and will be given to winners at the beginning of the event.

On Saturday, February 11th, ticket holders need to check-in at the Florence Main Street tent, which will be located on the corner of Court and Tennessee Streets, to receive your wristband, map and goodie bag. Then you’re off to follow the balloon trail to participating downtown businesses, where you will enjoy a variety of free chocolate samples (while supplies last) and take advantage of a 10% OFF discount or other special offers at each location. Only ticket holders can sample the variety of chocolate and take advantage of the special discount. Once you have visited all businesses, return to the Main Street tent by 2:30pm and cast your vote for the best chocolate item of the day.

“This is such a fun event that allows adults to treat themselves to a day of shopping and chocolate with family and friends, all while helping our wonderful downtown community thrive economically” said Molly Austin, Event Coordinator for Main Street.

Anyone participating in the Downtown Chocolate Crawl is encouraged to park at the public parking garage at the corner of Tennessee and Pine Streets.

Florence Main Street, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to working with business owners, community leaders, and residents toward the common goal of revitalizing Downtown Florence culturally and economically. For more information about us or any of these efforts, please contact Florence Main Street at 256-760-9648 or

3rd Annual Downtown Chocolate Crawl



Do you love chocolate and sweet deals? Then this is the event for you! Downtown Florence boutiques, salons, and other stores will be turning into Chocolate Shops for one day only and they want you to come see them! Make it a date or bring your friends for a day full of shopping and fun! This event is known as ‘trick or treating for adults” and “a wonderful time had by all, sampling sweets and exploring all the great stores in downtown Florence”!

Each business will be showcasing their current styles, specials, and services along with a bite-sized sample of a chocolate treat. During the Chocolate Crawl, shoppers will also get 10% off their purchases at participating businesses.

Tickets for the 3rd Annual Downtown Chocolate Crawl will go on sale Monday, January 16th at 10:00am! Only 350 tickets will be sold for this event. Tickets will be $10 at the office and $11 online ($1 will be added as a processing fee)
Check back here for more details!

2016 Florence Christmas Parade Winners

2016 Florence Christmas Parade Winners

The 2016 Florence Christmas Parade brought the sights and sounds of the holidays to historic downtown Florence and kicked off the holiday season. The parade featured over 100 floats, bands and performance groups as they marched, danced, sang and twirled their way down Court Street to the delight of the spectators.   Even Santa was on hand to wave at the crowd and shared some sweet treats.

Florence Main Street was responsible for the coordination of this year’s parade.  “There’s not much more fun than a parade and the Christmas parade really gets everyone into the holiday spirit!” said Teryl Shields, Executive Director of Florence Main Street.  “There’s no better way to get excited about Christmas than seeing all the cute kids and great costumes, hearing the wonderful bands from our community play holiday music and watching the floats go by.”

Winners of the parade prizes were Best Band – Florence High School; Best Performance Group – Allegro Dance and Fitness;  Best Business Float – Express Oil and Best Non-Profit/Community Organization—Shoals Area Salvation Army.  “Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2016 Christmas parade.  This parade gets such great interest and support from the community and this year’s bands, floats and performance groups were fantastic” said Molly Austin, Florence Main Street Event Coordinator.

Florence Main Street would like to thank Participating Sponsors University Honda and University Nissan for their support which helps make possible the prizes to the Best Band, Business, Non-Profit and Performance groups.  A special thank you to Big River Broadcasting for providing the stage, sound and for emceeing this year’s parade. The parade couldn’t happen without the fantastic support of the University of North Alabama ROTC who handles logistics on the night of the parade along with the UNA University Police and the Florence Police Department providing assistance and coordinating a safe and secure environment for the parade. Anyone with questions about the parade can contact Florence Main Street at 256-760-9648.

Florence Main Street is a non-profit economic development organization dedicated to working with business owners, community leaders, and residents toward the common goal of revitalizing Downtown Florence, culturally and economically. For more information about us or any of these efforts, please contact Florence Main Street at 256-760-9648 or