One thing that never fails to unite people is food. It even inspires new holidays like national pancake day. People tend to have their palettes set to specific tastes for the brands or items they know and love, but sometimes there can be a need to try something outside of routine.

I decided to venture outside of my own food comfort zone to sample a small percentage of the food Florence has to offer. Every location mentioned is within four miles from campus, and each item purchased was at or under $10. So without further ado, these are my November picks for items you may consider trying if you have not already.

The rib plate from Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q, a small family owned spot on West College St., was absolutely satisfying. The ribs were the star of the show and definitely made my mouth water before even opening the box; they did not disappoint. The rib plate included about four or five pork ribs with mild and spicy barbecue sauces on the side, two rolls and two sides all for under $10.

Both slaw dogs contained a savory slaw which catered to a spicier palate. I generally eat sweeter, non-spicy coleslaw, so slaw with a bit of heat was new to me. Both were delicious, however, and I recommend either of them. While they both have a bit of a kick, if you are a fan of a little more heat, go for Bunyan’s.

As a lifetime fan of LawLer’s, it wouldn’t be right not to throw in my favorite item: the BBQ sandwich, a “pork sandwich all the way” to be specific. Both sandwiches are served with slaw and pickles making them packed with flavor.

Bunyan’s has a special touch when it comes to its food. Anybody can prepare green beans that are edible, but not everyone can fill them with soul. Potato salad is typically a hit or miss for me, and Bunyan’s absolutely hit the mark with these side items.

Finally, even though the mac comes from a fast food restaurant, you would think somebody’s grandmother was in the kitchen baking love into every batch. If you have never heard of the “itis,” that feeling of needing a nap after having eaten soul food, try the CFA mac to change your perception of what is possible in fast food.

The acai bowl from Turbo was essentially a bowl of granola, strawberries, bananas, chia seeds, coconut shavings and honey over an acai-based smoothie at the bottom. This may be one of the healthier options out of this dessert list. Its sweetness isn’t overpowering and leaves you wanting more.

The peach cobbler is a comforting, warm dessert perfect to enjoy during this colder weather. Banana pudding and pecan pie are staple Southern treats, so it is necessary to know what places have them and are serving them tastefully.

Despite its name, The Pie Factory unfortunately does not have pie. They do, however, make a decent cheesecake that stands alone well or can also be paired with fruit or chocolate syrup.

Rolled ice cream from Rollies is a fun way to enjoy ice cream, which in my opinion is fine any time of year. I would recommend the cookies and cream option which is topped with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and Oreo cookies.

The Brunswick stew at LawLer’s reminded me of a hot, vegetable soup with added meat and potatoes. It is another comforting option for cold winter nights. LawLer’s does not have a Florence location, but its nearest store is only four miles from campus in Muscle Shoals.

Last but certainly not least, a new personal favorite restaurant of mine called Soul Wingery has the most flavorful lemon pepper wings around. How they managed to pack that much flavor into the food is beyond me, but this is one place that certainly lives up to its name when it comes to “Soul” food.

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