Alabama: Dairy-Free in the Heart of Dixie

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Whether you’re heading to this southern state or are a native Alabamian, good restaurant options are important. That’s why we’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in Alabama that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second). We’ve also included notes on other special diets, like gluten-free, vegan, and paleo, where available.

Note: You can ignore the date on this post going forward. We’ll update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new restaurant recommendation, change, or closure. 

Guide to Recommended Restaurants for Dairy-Free Diners in Alabama (cafes, bistros, ice cream shops, bakeries, etc). Includes gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and other dietary notes.Photo: Big Spoon Creamery, Birmingham, Alabama

Local Alabama Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats

Classic Alabama cuisine includes a lot of golden-fried and butter-enhanced dishes, but they do have a few local favorites that are often dairy-free. Look for boiled peanuts, Southern iced tea, crawfish, and all types of barbecued meats.

The following restaurants go above and beyond with unique dairy-free options and/or allergy-friendly service. We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Auburn

  • Freeze Yogurt Bar – This little shop offers a creamy vegan coconut milk frozen yogurt flavor plus sorbets. They also have an allergy-friendly array of toppings that includes Surf Sweets, Let’s Do Organic, and vegan Grateful Grahams.

Birmingham

  • Bay Leaf Indian Cuisine – We’re waiting to hear back from this restaurant on their dairy-free accommodations. (Recommended by Kelsey!)
  • Big Spoon Creamery ⭐️ – This Avondale shop churns creamy dairy-free ice cream (made with coconut milk) and sorbets. They also whip up vegan milkshakes. (Recommended by Kelsey!)
  • Cookie Dough Magic – Ask for sample! They serve a Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough  that’s kept off of the serving bar to help prevent cross contamination. (Recommended by Kelsey!)
  • Seasons 52 ⭐️ – This is actually a nice restaurant chain, but they only have one location in Alabama. They cater extensively to special diet needs.
  • Sunrise Baking Company ⭐️ – This is a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free bakery with a healthy array of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, granola, and more. They don’t have a storefront, but do have local pickup available.
  • The Thirsty Donkey – They have vegan items labeled on the menu, including some specialty dishes made with vegan alternatives. All of their breads are vegan, so additional items can easily be ordered dairy-free. (Recommended by Kelsey!)

Bluff Park

  • The Joyful Food Co ⭐️ – Everything at this local shop is gluten-free and paleo-friendly, and it’s mostly dairy-free. They use ghee in some items. They offer an array of baked goods, fresh meals, and local items, and offer online ordering and local delivery.

Fairhope

  • The Sunflower Cafe – Located next door to Fairhope Health Foods, this casual healthy restaurant caters to people with various diet restrictions. They label vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free (not dairy-free) right on the menu, and most menu items can be made dairy-free on request. Their menu covers an eclectic mix of cravings and they do serve Sunday brunch.

Gulf Shores

  • Lucy Buffet’s Lulu’s ⭐️ – Yes, this is Warren Buffet’s sister! Which explains why you will only find locations in a few touristy coastal towns. They have full allergen menus, including a dairy-free one that’s filled with seafood, big ole’ salads, and more comfort food.

Homewood

  • Farm Bowl + Juice Co. ⭐️ – This vibrant Alabama spot has an entirely dairy-free and gluten-free menu. They serve acai bowls, oatmeal bowls,  smoothies, cold-pressed juices, wellness shots and coffee. They even use vegan protein, offer almond milk and coconut milk, and have a pint-sized kids menu.

Hoover

  • Brixx Wood Fired Pizza – This is a popular regional chain that offers dairy-free cheese alternative at no extra charge! In fact, their classic pizza crust and sauce are vegan, and they can make any veggie pizza vegan. They also have a fantastic allergen list. It tells you the specific items with dairy AND the items that contain dairy even when you hold the cheese. As a not-so-obvious heads up, their Thai Chili Sauce contains dairy – that one surprised us!

Huntsville

  • Alchemy at the Camp – This coffee house slash breakfast and lunch spot goes above and beyond with dairy-free, vegan, and paleo options. They even offer dairy-free cream cheese, vegan pastries, oat milk, nut milk, and an array of healthy meals.
  • Honest Coffee – Their menus include dairy-free acai bowls (with gluten-free granola on request) and several vegan-friendly mains, like a breakfast burrito and “lox” bagel. They offer dairy-free cream cheese, vegan bread, and vegan salad dressing, so most of their lunch and dinner items can be made dairy-free. And for your coffee, they have house-made dairy-free coconut almond milk and mocha syrup.
  • Mason Dixon Bakery & Cafe ⭐️ – This is a gluten-free bakery and bistro that was started by a doctor with celiac disease. They have dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, and paleo labels on their expansive menu. You can visit in store or order online.
  • Rockabilly Bakery – Come here for the cafe, consider ordering a custom vegan cake. Their menu boasts vegan burritos with cashew cheese and smoothies that can all be made dairy-free. They have dairy-free yogurt, plant-based protein, almond milk, and coconut milk available. You might need to veer your eyes away from the baked goods (most contain dairy), but you can place an order for several different vegan desserts.
  • Tribal Kombucha – If you’re looking for a different dining experience in Huntsville, Alabama, this might be your place. In addition to kombucha on tap, they have dairy-free kombucha floats (made with So Delicious) and raw vegan cakes. Keep an eye out for pop-up days where healthy (often vegan) food trucks stop by.

Madison

  • Liberated Specialty Foods – This bakery and natural food company caters to all types of dietary needs, including paleo, SCD, GAPS, and low FODMAP. This isn’t a completely dairy-fee shop, but they do have a fairly big selection, including cinnamon rolls, cookies, and more.

Guide to Recommended Restaurants for Dairy-Free Diners in Alabama (cafes, bistros, ice cream shops, bakeries, etc). Includes gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and other dietary notes.Photo: Tribal Kombucha, Huntsville, Alabama

Most Popular Chains in Alabama for Dairy-Free Diners

There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.

Guide to Recommended Restaurants for Dairy-Free Diners in Alabama (cafes, bistros, ice cream shops, bakeries, etc). Includes gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and other dietary notes.Photo: Alchemy at the Camp, Huntsville, Alabama

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

4 Comments

  1. Eli’s Jerusalem Restaurant in Birmingham does not use dairy in their menu items except for their desserts! Awesome food with lots of choices.

  2. Click through the link! It goes to our dairy-free guide for Zaxby’s with full details on menu items, allergen disclaimer, etc. They have quite a few menu items made without dairy and have been recommended by many readers. Note, these are chains recommended for dairy-free “options,” they are not purely dairy-free restaurants.

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