Irondale, Alabama's claim to fame is that it is the home of the real Irondale Cafe that cooks up _real _world-famous fried green tomatoes.
The city is located smack-dab where I-59 / 20 intersects I-459. Go west on I-59 about 7 miles and you're in Birmingham. Go east on I-20 about 139 miles and you're in Atlanta. Originally a whistle stop town between two railroads, Irondale was named after a pig iron furnace. You can still see the a Norfolk Southern Railroad Yard, but this town of 12,349 people (give or take a few heads) has joined the modern world without losing its past. You'll be happy to know that you can now get a skinny-double-shot-espresso-with-fat-free-vanilla-flavoring at a trendy coffee bar. However, it's best to drink sweet tea with your fried green tomatoes. Trust us on this one!
Moving to Irondale
When you're on any of the interstates and whistling by Irondale, the city is not real noticeable. You won't find any high rise buildings or a visible downtown area. That's actually good news if you are moving to Irondale because it means you can easily get to your new home by taking the right exit. No worries there!
What you do need to worry about is nabbing a vacant rental, if you have your heart set on one of the 2 or 3 bedroom apartments for rent. They go fast to people who really want to live close to their fried green tomatoes, so start your search early. There are not a whole lot of apartment buildings, but another option is to rent a house. You can also rent outside of Irondale. That is not as bad as it sounds since Irondale is only 9 miles from Trussville, 7 miles from Birmingham, 10 miles from Leeds, and 4 miles from Mountain Brook. Pretty convenient, don't you think? A professional rental service can help you find the perfect place to rent in and around Irondale.
Once qualified for a rental, all you need is money. Isn't that true for everything today? To qualify you must pay an application fee, submit to a credit check, and show some proof of income. Then you pay a security deposit, a pet deposit (if relevant) and a utility deposit and the first month's rent. Landlords are getting tougher all the time about paying rent on time and following the rules. One advantage of using an apartment or house rental locator is that you are more likely to find a home that fits your measly or largesse budget.
Irondale has some new and old neighborhoods. Most of the apartment complexes are clustered north and south of I-20, on or near Montclair Road, Crestwood Boulevard, and Georgia Road, which runs into Second Avenue North. These neighborhoods are close to Ruffner Road, which borders the Ruffner Nature Preserve. Generally, look for rentals north of I-459.
North of I-20: There are several neighborhoods in the most northern section of the city. They include Old Irondale, North Irondale, Stockton-Rose Hill and Rock Ridge. There is a mix of rental properties, so you can find 3 bedroom apartments or townhouses for rent.
Grants Mill Crossing: I-20 runs through the upper portion of this neighborhood with the east edge created by Old Leeds Road. This is the city's newest neighborhood and it's is filled with pocket parks. Since it's mostly upscale houses, this is the spot to look for rental houses.
Bramblewood Farms: Across Old Leeds Road from Grants Mill Crossing is Bramblewood Farms. I-20 forms the north edge and 1-459 creates the eastern edge. It's a fairly large. The apartment homes, duplexes, and other rentals are going to be closer to the main highways, while the houses for rent will be more toward the center of subdivisions.
Crestline Holiday Gardens: Calling all people looking for rental houses in Irondale. Crestline is an established and popular neck of the Irondale woods. It's snuggled between I-20 and Old Leeds Road, which is near I-459 in the city's south. If looking for a 2 bedroom apartment for rent, there are apartment complexes right in this area.
South of 1-459: There are other areas in the south side of the city. If golf is your thing, rent a house near the Pine Tree Country Club. You could also try Brookmont or Brentwood Hills. You are most likely to find condos or homes rent for higher rates in these areas. Heck, you can afford it, so go for it!
Life in Irondale
If Irondale has a theme, it has to be railroads. The Irondale Cafe is not just for visitors. It's like a throwback hangout place for locals too. The menu is enough to make your mouth water and your arteries harden - country fried steak, fried chicken, fried catfish, fried okra. Er Do you see a theme here? You can get a veggie plate, but don't start thinking healthy thoughts or the experience is ruined. Besides, you can always add some mac-n-cheese to balance out the collard greens.
Every year there is a Whistle Stop Festival. It has a really unusual feature--it's FREE to attend. Who said there's nothing free anymore? The festival is famous in Alabama, offering arts and crafts, music, carnival rides, vintage fire engines and classic cars, and of course, food lots of it. It's held in the historic downtown area which puts you near some of the best Southern cooking in the region which is where elseat the Irondale Cafe.
And the beat goes on: The railroad theme is also found at the Station at Grants Mills. This is a shopping center that was once fading away like old shopping centers do, but now it's a popular community retail center with attractions. One of those attractions consists of old train cars that were converted to restaurants and sports bars. The old-new retail center also has businesses, an antique store, an ice cream parlor, and more restaurants. Would you expect anything different?
Back to Nature
Now, one thing needs to be cleared up. Irondale-ites do more than eat. The Ruffner Mountain Nature Center is a preserve and a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Though technically located in the South East Lake neighborhood, it sits right on the northern boundary of Irondale. There are lots of walking trails where you can walk off the fried green tomatoes, zip lines where you scream off the fried chicken, and events like Ruffner's 'Beer on the Back Porch' where you can drink local craft beer, eat some food, and then scream when you get on the scale.
It should be noted that there are some good parks in the city. Cahaba Landing is on the Cahaba River and has a canoe launch maintained by the city. When feeling the desire to get away from it all, you can literally float down the Cahaba River for three to five hours. Other parks have soccer fields, jogging tracks, barbeque pits, tennis courts, and more. Sounds kind of nice doesn't it? You may not want to eat too many fried green tomatoes before trying to play tennis though.
Yep, life is mighty fine in Irondale. You will need a vehicle -- Irondale is what's known as a car-dependent community, which in regular language means anything you do will probably require driving. Though Irondale does have 600 businesses, including the outdoor furnishings manufacturer Peak Seasons, plenty of people drive to Birmingham for work and play. There's another whole bounty of fried foods calling from Birmingham restaurants.