No one can argue that Birmingham has a flourishing food scene, and it only continues to expand. Its abundance of first-class restaurants and delicious signature dishes does not go unnoticed by locals and visitors alike. We’ve rounded up our top picks for five essential dishes (in no particular order) to try in Birmingham this summer, from seasonal salads to burgers and desserts.
Hamburger Fonfon at Chez Fonfon
2007 11th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205 • (205) 939-3221
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday
Opening in 2000, Chez Fonfon is a taste of France in the South. Quintessential French fare is served in this bustling neighborhood bistro, including escargots and traditional steak frites. But the real star of the menu is the Hamburger Fonfon. Seasoned with salt and pepper and lightly brushed with olive oil, each hand-ground burger is cooked over an open-flame grill and topped with melted Comté, grilled red onion, and house-made pickles. During the summer months, when tomatoes are in season, the burger comes topped with a sliced heirloom tomato from a local Alabama farm.
Tomato Salad at Hot and Hot Fish Club
2901 2nd Ave S Suite 110, Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 933-5474
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; closed Sunday through Tuesday
The tomato salad at Hot and Hot Fish Club became a seasonal sensation when first added to the nationally-acclaimed restaurant’s menu nearly two decades ago. Simple yet complex in flavor, the salad highlights the best of Alabama’s summer produce — tomatoes, okra, field peas, and corn, all topped with bacon and drizzled with house-made aioli. The dish is wildly popular amongst locals, and it’s available from late April to early September when the South’s tomato season comes to an end.
Smoked Chicken at Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q
3278 Cahaba Heights Rd, Birmingham, AL 35243 • (205) 967-6004
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sunday
Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q has been serving authentic, hickory-smoked barbecue since 1984, and The Cahaba Heights landmark has built quite a reputation amongst barbecue aficionados. In particular, Miss Myra’s smoked chicken has been named some of the best barbecue in America. To make the chicken, whole birds are smoked with the skin on in a custom-built brick pit, which turns the meat juicy and moist on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside. The addition of Miss Myra’s famous white sauce adds the perfect touch of tanginess, taking the chicken to a whole new dimension of flavor.
Croissant at The Continental Bakery
1909 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223 • (205) 870-5584
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For over 30 years, The Continental Bakery has turned out delicious and deliciously fragrant bread and pastries prepared from scratch by artisan bakers. Their hand-formed croissants are made using traditional European methods, with the dough being rolled and folded until there are more than 80 layers. Flaky and buttery, the croissants come with an assortment of fillings, including chocolate, almond, ham and cheese, and more.
Ice Cream Sammie at Big Spoon Creamery
4000 3rd Ave S #104, Birmingham, AL 35222 • (205) 703-4712
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.
Big Spoon Creamery is an artisan ice cream company creating flavors that highlight seasonal and local ingredients. Their signature ice cream sammie consists of their small-batch ice cream smooshed between two homemade cookies that have been cut into thin rounds. Summer sammie flavors include “Florida Strawberry,” which features Florida strawberry ice cream on honey-graham cookies half-dipped in Valrhona Strawberry Inspiration. And, you can always choose one of their year-round sammie flavors, like “The Classic” with vanilla bean ice cream, Valrhona chocolate chip cookies, and Maldon sea salt.
Happy summer, Birmingham!
Discover more delicious local eats in our monthly installment of New Birmingham Restaurants!