A hundred years ago, Mossy Grove School (first established in 1856) was progressing from being a one-room schoolhouse to a two-room schoolhouse. The population of Troy, Alabama was slightly under 6000, and this location was considered to be very rural, with a wet weather spring about a quarter of a mile away providing the school with water. Fifty years later, Mossy Grove had been closed as a school but was used for all kinds of community events and church services and then rented out as a private home.
Nearby Troy, on the other hand, had grown to almost 11,000 in population and had three main claims to fame: 1) a small state teachers’ college, 2) a large residential campus of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home providing care for 200 children, and 3) enough restrooms and gas stations to make it a great place for vacationers to stop for a few minutes on their way south to the Florida beaches. I know because I lived in Troy 50 years ago in a house that was on the Children’s Home campus and adjoined the college property.
Now, Troy has a population of nearly 20,000 people. The teachers’ college has become Troy University with an enrollment of 29,689 in its many campuses now in 17 states and 11 countries. The Children’s Home has expanded to ministries all over the state, and no longer has a location in Troy.
Mossy Grove Schoolhouse has been carefully renovated into a popular restaurant, and what used to seem so rural is now only two miles south of the major thoroughfare, US Highway 231.
You’ll understand part of the reason for Mossy Grove’s popularity as soon as you are seated. A basket of hushpuppies will appear, along with a bowl of slow-cooked Great Northern beans and homemade tomato relish. Believe it or not, other appetizers are offered, but any way you spin it, your dinner is off to a great beginning.
Seafood is the main feature of the menu with catfish, shrimp, oysters, crab claws and stuffed crab listed prominently. Catfish, shrimp and snow crab legs can be broiled or boiled. Steaks, pork chops and chicken are also available for non-seafood lovers.
Pike County is a wet county in Alabama, so beer, cocktails and wines are on the menu if you want something other than coffee, tea or soft drinks.
It wouldn’t be a true seafood place without Key Lime pie listed among the desserts, but they also have cheesecake, hot fudge cake and a concoction they call “Mossy Grove Dessert.” It is frozen and served with either a chocolate or caramel drizzle and a graham cracker crust. The center consists of cream cheese, Cool Whip and an unnamed secret ingredient.
Katie Romero has owned Mossy Grove for a number of years. She does most of the cooking and enjoys her role of running the kitchen. She obviously maintains a happy atmosphere with her employees. Sylvia Hughes, for example, has worked at Mossy Grove for 32 years. She was caught recently singing “Ride, Sally Ride” as she went back and forth between tables and to the kitchen. A fun environment with plenty of good food. No wonder Mossy Grove is so popular.
Mossy Grove Schoolhouse Restaurant, 1841 Elba Highway, is only open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Troy folks know about it and make it a part of their weekly dining plans. Now you can know about it, too, and schedule a stop there on your way to or from the beach or BOTH.