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Is Alabama’s best steak in Clay?

By Scott Buttram

CLAY — It’s understandable if you didn’t expect to find one of Alabama’s best steaks at Papa Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Clay. But consider yourself informed. The family-owned restaurant is one of four finalists in the central region, and one of the top 16 in the state when it comes to serving up steaks.

Known for its mouth-watering Italian dishes for 29 years, Papa Sal’s has been named to the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Sizzling 16 in the competition for Alabama’s best ribeye steak.

Keith Cifuentes began working for his father’s restaurant 29 years ago at the age of 17. The eatery began in Roebuck before moving to Springville and back to Roebuck before settling in Clay three years ago on Old Springville Road.

“We were one of 8,000 entries,” Cifuentes said. “We received a letter saying we had been nominated and our customers started voting for us.”

The ribeye steak from Papa Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Clay has made the Sizzling 16 in Alabama’s Best Steak competition sponsored by the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.
Photo by Scott Buttram/ The Trussville Tribune

According to the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association website, competing restaurants must be located in Alabama and must serve ribeye steaks. Only ribeye steaks will be judged to determine the winner and the contest is designed for restaurants only. Customers can vote online at The final four contenders will be judged on site by a team of anonymous judges.

Papa Sal’s is facing PJ’s Restaurant of Jasper in the current round. To see all of the 16 finalists, click here.

Cifuentes said Papa Sal’s serves hand-cut Alabama beef, and while outsiders may not expect a steak on an Italian restaurant menu, his regular customers know all about them.

“We sell a lot of steaks,” Cifuentes said. “Our customers call the 14-ounce ribeye ‘the roast.'”

Papa Sal’s also offers a 10-ounce steak in addition to the 14-ounce steak. The ribeyes are $13.95 and $16.50, respectively. Both come with two sides.

The Enticing 8 will be announced Aug. 11 and the Fiery 4 will be posted Aug. 18.

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