When we started digging around to discover all the new eats in town, we were gobsmacked to discover that 20+ new eateries have popped up in less than five months. From a doughnut shop, a wine bar and a coffee cottage, to an Irish pub, an Indian street food stall and a Cajun eatery in an 1800s home, the Magic City is bringing some serious flavor to our culinary landscape. So, without further ado, here are the new restaurants in Birmingham, listed alphabetically, followed by new locations for old favorites. Bon appétit!
21 New Birmingham Restaurants to Try This Spring
1108 20th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35205 • (205) 777-3089
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I have always had a fascination for Irish pubs,” says Danny Winter, owner of Brennan’s Irish Pub, which he named after his Irish grandmother’s maiden name. “I was born on Saint Patrick’s Day, so the culture has always intrigued me.” This is Birmingham’s only traditional Irish pub, and they focus on keeping everything house-made as much as possible. “We make our own bangers, corned beef and white pudding, and we brine our own rashers [imported, cured Irish bacon] in house,” says Danny. But the most popular dishes are their fish and chips; cottage pie, an Irish take on shepherd’s pie; and their “Hooligan Burger,” a half-pound patty grilled to order, glazed with house-made Bushmills whiskey burger sauce and topped with house Guinness beer cheese, house Irish salsa and spring mix on a toasted bun. Forego your costly trip to Ireland and head to Brennan’s for special events based on Celtic holidays or live music every weekend.
2832 Linden Ave., Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 820-7414
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This adorable cottage-turned coffee house is the creation of Real & Rosemary co-owners Jennifer Mims and Nate Carlson. Caveat features a drive-thru and online ordering so on-the-go customers can get their java fix. In addition to coffee, teas, espresso drinks and seasonal beverages, they also serve preservative-free pastries and fresh breads from Real & Rosemary with plans to add more grab-and-go menu items. The charming house features an expansive backyard and porch with romantic string lights – perfect for Caveat’s plans to use the space for small parties and events for up to 100 guests.
1920 29th Ave. S., Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 848-2929
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We realized that there was a huge void in Birmingham for fresh, plant-based foods, especially açaí bowls,” says Andrea Snyder, founder and owner of Farm Bowl + Juice Co., who is familiar with the Magic City food scene due to her experience launching Urban Cookhouse. Farm Bowl offers açaí and oatmeal bowls, smoothies, juices, shots and cleanses, as well as Birmingham-based Seeds Coffee. The açaí bowls are the most popular with the Nutty Professor coming in at number one. It includes Sambazon açaí berry sorbet, strawberries, almonds, gluten-free granola, peanut butter and local honey with the option to add on pumpkin seeds, chia seeds or cacoa nibs and more. And right now, Andrea is hooked on the Pink Lady smoothie. “I used to despise beets, but in this smoothie, I love them! We add cinnamon and orange with the beets, and that flavor combo is delicious,” she says.
707 Richard Arrington Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35233 • (205) 502-2588
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“My favorite part about Farm Burger is the community it creates by working with local farmers such as Stillwater Farm, Iron City Organics, Marble Creek Farmstead and Owls Hollow Farm, just to name a few,” says Joe Stack, general manager and chef of Farm Burger Birmingham. “I have never worked a job before where I got a picture sent to my phone of a newborn baby from someone who personally provides a product sold in my restaurant. It’s a great feeling to serve food that I know exactly where it came from and the people who provided it.” The burgers are, of course, the star of this eatery, but Joe says the sweet potato hushpuppies, served with homemade apple butter, are mighty tasty too. Farm Burger is located in the ground level of The Waites and within walking distance of UAB and Children’s of Alabama. “Hospital staff work long, hard hours, and I like having a place where they can get good food fast for lunch or relax after a long day with a local beer and unwind,” says Joe. “We want to be a big part of this community, and this community would not be here without them.”
2252 Highland Ave., Birmingham, AL 35205
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“The idea came about from our travels in Europe … spending time in the bistros, enotecas and tapas bars of Paris, Tuscany, and Barcelona, tasting incredible food and drinking amazing wine,” says Stuart Stone, owner of Freddy’s Wine Bar, of his and Chef Randall Norman’s decision to open their eatery. “It is an experience we wanted to bring to Birmingham with a Southern flair.” This new laid-back eatery is in the ground floor of the Highland Tower with chic interiors that emanate an inviting glow by night. By day, the wine bar’s sizable outdoor patio is a perfect spot to grab a glass of vino and soak in the sun, making it easy to feel swept away to a European cafe. And reasonably priced wine is not the only thing going on here — Freddy’s Wine Bar offers creative, beautiful and delicious dishes. “Our gnocchi ‘mac & cheese’ and our garlic poached shrimp are our most popular items. And our ‘en papillote’ — a different take on in-parcel cooking — is an item everyone should try,” says Stuart. “Our menu changes frequently, so there is always something new to try and sample, even for our regulars.” And the local feel is one of their favorite things about Freddy’s. “With a diverse and eclectic mix of people from all walks of life who really love wine, we love the neighborhood,” says Stuart.
3144 Heights Village, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 • (205) 970-2300
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“There’s something special about cooking and eating fresh, authentic flavors that only come from real scratch-made, south-of-the-border Mexican food,” says South Texas native and owner of Fresco, Sean Berry. He tells us that they are best known for their fire-roasted oysters, grilled on the shell with a Mexican street corn butter; their grilled Mahi-Mahi, available on tacos or as an entree; their beef and chicken enchiladas with authentic scratch-made mole sauces; and their creative dishes like quinoa-stuffed chile relleno and grilled avocado salad. Sean’s favorite dish is the bone-in pork chop. “We brine it with a little coconut milk and Mayan-roast coffee, grill it over a hickory flame and serve with fresh pineapple, rice, beans, tortillas and our scratch-made mole rojo.” They also boast 63 different types of tequila and mezcal served as shots, flights, margaritas and creative cocktails, which you can enjoy on their pooch-friendly patio. “Our team really makes this place special. It’s a family — la familia,” says Sean. “They’re passionate, they make everything delicious, and they always have smiles on their faces.”
3027 Central Ave., Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 623-1017
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Growing up in South Georgia, my dad and I had a tradition of getting hot doughnuts together every Saturday morning,” says Wil Drake, chef and owner of Hero Doughnuts. “It was our thing, and doughnuts are tied to great childhood memories for me. I wanted to give other parents a place and a delicious doughnut that could help make those memories with their kids.” And he just may have chosen the perfect spot to do so, setting up across the street from the family-centric Homewood Park. Families can stop by the front window and watch the dough being made from scratch each day. The doughnut flavors are seasonal, so there’s always a reason to stop by and see what’s on the pastry counter.
“Our classic OG is vanilla-glazed and a standard that people love,” says Wil. “The milk jam is a filled doughnut, similar to dulce de leche, that is always a crowd pleaser.” And the surprise at this doughnut hotspot? “We have a fantastic hamburger,” says Wil. “There’s a growing subculture that only comes for the burger, and it’s really delicious.” He says that having a brick-and-mortar is a game-changer that allows him to not only see his dream become reality, but also opens up limitless possibilities for events and catering. “Without a doubt, my favorite thing is the community of families. Homewood has embraced and supported us from the day we opened,” says Wil. “It’s great to see families enjoying our doughnuts – in the shop, in the park, all over the community.”
1909 11th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35205 • (205) 203-4833
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“My family loves delicious pork-broth soups with noodles, especially in the cold weather, and we couldn’t find anything that hit quite the right spot,” says Julie Wang, co-owner of IKKO Japanese Fusion Cuisine in the heart of Five Points South. “So we decided to start a restaurant of our own that would serve just that!” Go for the classic raw rolls — tuna, salmon (both in spicy and crunchy varieties) Alaska roll and rainbow roll — or stick with a variety of their cooked sushi rolls. You can also dabble in the best of both worlds with IKKO’s signature specialty rolls. The quality of the fish is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and if you prefer your sushi-grade fish in a poke bowl, they have that too. Or, simply delight in a piping-hot bowl of Japanese ramen. The experience is not complete without one of their creative bubble tea concoctions. Julie says that her favorite thing about their new eatery is the diversity of customers they receive … “It’s an amazing way to meet and serve so many unique locals.”
2908 18th St. S., Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 407-4500
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This rolled ice cream joint in the heart of downtown Homewood is the brainchild of Hannah and Greg Slamen who each dreamt of opening an ice cream spot. “We believe less is more,” says Hannah. “We wanted a simple menu that will rotate seasonally.” So, they source their ingredients from local vendors as much as possible with their ice cream base from Working Cows Dairy and ingredients like Fudge Family Farms bacon, Forest Bear Bakery cookies and Better Kombucha kombucha. These organic, artisan ingredients are the building blocks for their wildly creative rolled cream creations. The current crowd favorite is the Trolley Car, a vanilla ice cream base with Ghirardelli chocolate and caramel sauces and brownie served with whipped cream and chocolate sticks. Be on the lookout for the addition of beer and wine, as well as fun events like live music!
Read our full feature on Lucky Cat Rolled Creams.
1017 Oxmoor Road #111, Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 848-2100
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This dedicated gluten-free bakery takes every measure to create a safe place where those with Celiac disease do not have to feel like a burden. “We do not sell food that we do not make,” says Taylor Ramirez, who co-owns Mason Dixon with his wife Ashley. The duo sources ingredients from local farmers and keeps everything scratch-made. Taylor explains, “We have our own proprietary flour blends that are custom ground to order, and we clean and prepare all of our meats, including house made uncured bacon. We use only local grass-fed beef, pastured pork and chicken.” And the quality beef, Taylor says, is what sets their burger apart. Coming in at a close second, their grilled cheese features a mouthwatering combination of smoked gouda, Havarti and cheddar cheeses paired with house-made tomato jam. And don’t forget the sweets! The brownie crunch is the perfect combination of salty and sweet. SB Tip: The Maple cinnamon-raisin bread makes amazing French toast.
Read our full feature on Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro.
600 Oak Grove Road, Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 905-3266
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Chef Giani Respinto of GianMarco’s, the authentic Italian restaurant in West Homewood, has opened a pizzeria beside Patriot Park in Edgewood. The family-friendly restaurant features dishes at a more affordable price point than its white-tablecloth sister restaurant. And, almost all of the plates are shareable. Start with stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, hot Gulf crab & spinach dip, a charcuterie-style spread of your choice or a salad served on warm rosemary flatbread. Or, dig into a meatball sandwich with Sunday sauce or classic pasta dish. The pizzas showcase the chef’s culinary finesse with flavor combinations like Italian sausage, roasted peppers, onions, mozzarella and fennel pollen. Or, try the porchetta pizza with onions, Brussels sprouts, gorgonzola, pecorino and rosemary honey. With a covered, heated patio, outdoor patios, bar seating with a view of the open kitchen and table seating, this joint is sure to become a beloved neighborhood staple.
1500 First Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35203 • (205) 847-1610
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chef Daniel Briggs, who is also chef and owner of Daniel George Restaurant, envisioned a concept for an upscale eatery in the ever-growing downtown business district, and soon, Serendipity at Innovation Depot was born. The eatery serves breakfast and lunch. Try the uber-popular “MOAB” sandwich with smoked turkey, avocado, bacon, pepper jack and jalapeño mayo on sourdough. “We also serve a mean meat-and-three,” says Debbie McKinstry, Serendipity’s Operations Manager, adding, “My favorite thing about our new spot at Innovation Depot is seeing all of our regular customers who work in the building and just the general buzz of being downtown. Birmingham continues to head in the right direction!” Serendipity offers catering of any kind, including breakfast and lunch deliveries to UAB and the surrounding areas, as well as large cocktail parties with bar service and waitstaff — the perfect addition to the busy medical, technology and business crowds downtown.
1821 Second Ave. N., Birmingham, AL 35203 • (205) 939-3111
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Joining the Pizitz Food Hall, Silver Kati Indian Street Food brings a new ethnic flavor to the Magic City. “It’s really the first Indian street food in Birmingham,” says Arnold Soni who, along with his wife Kinjal (the eatery’s manager and operator), partnered with Kishore Kotian of Silver Coin Indian Grill to bring this concept to the Pizitz. Kinjal, who was instrumental in the striking design of the stall, which resembles a street cart and features a wall of Indian spices, says she is simply pleased to be sharing the flavors of her native home. “Kati rolls” are a popular street food originating from Calcutta, India, which use paratha, a buttery yet crispy flatbread, as the wrap for marinated meats and savory sauces within. At Silver Kati you first choose the vessel for your meal — a kati roll, rice bowl or salad bowl. Then, you choose your protein — chicken, fish or tofu — and your desired sauce, either tikka masala (a tomato-cream sauce) or palak (a savory pureed spinach sauce). “The kati roll and rice bowls are definitely our best-sellers,” says Arnold, quickly adding, “Oh, and the samosas!” SB Tip: If you love spicy, simply ask them to up the heat-level of your dish!
2821 Central Ave., Homewood, AL 35209
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“From the lush plantscapes to the fresh cuisine, our space is designed to promote wellness. Sweet Jon’s is about treating yourself in a positive, cozy environment,” says Joshua Blackwell, executive chef and regional director for Revelator: Alabama, Sweet Jon’s Cafe’s parent company. “Our team celebrates creativity, collaboration and diversity in our community. We want to make sure everyone feels welcome and has the best experience possible. It’s like a little oasis of positivity.” That warmth is definitely drawing people into this hip new eatery, which is usually teeming with guests for breakfast, lunch and brunch or just a quick coffee. The menu is small but packs a mighty punch with options for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike. The “Working Girl Special,” a classic breakfast sandwich with a drip coffee, is the most popular breakfast option. The lush — and very Instagram-worthy — garden room is a showstopper not to be missed. Stop by and enjoy the romantic verdure of this room one evening for the cafe’s small and soon-to-expand dinner menu.
1821 Second Ave. N., Birmingham, AL 35203 • (205) 939-3111
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Preservery is the latest eatery to inhabit the REVeal Kitchen, REV Birmingham‘s restaurant accelerator space, at the Pizitz Food Hall. The Preservery chef and owner, Andrea “Dre” Foster, takes Southern classics and comfort food staples and imbues them with international flavors for creative culinary dishes that impress — dishes such as fried chicken & greens with watermelon salsa, Jambalaya fried rice or the Speculoos banana pudding. And don’t miss her gumbo, a family recipe. “I think people are surprised to see such fancy takes on food coming out of a food hall stall,” says Chef Dre, who relishes the opportunity to share her food with a wider audience than her usual private catering gigs. “My favorite thing is that people love our food, they get our concept and they keep coming back.”
817 39th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35222 • (205) 518-6677
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m
The Rougaroux, a Cajun & Creole mecca hidden in a circa 1800s home in Forest Park, was founded by a trifecta of Birmingham-based culinary creatives who fell in love with authentic NOLA cuisine. Chef Ryan Champion, formerly of the Commander’s Palace in NOLA, Bottega and Hotbox at Parkside; Anne Carter, owner; and Ed Stacey, restaurant consultant, are the brains behind this Cajun oasis. These guys bring in authentic Leidenheimer bread from a bakery in NOLA making their super-popular po’ boys sing. “Our oysters Rockefeller, which has fried gulf oysters, spinach and cheese mornay plus bacon lardons has gotten a lot of attention,” says Ed, who also recommends the gumbo and house-made from scratch boudin sausage links. Adventurous eaters would be wise to try the turtle and veal meatball po’ boy, which has all of the ingredients of Ed’s all-time favorite Creole dish — turtle soup. Also the cochon de lait po’ boy, which has braised pork cheeks, mirliton slaw and pork cracklins, is a home run for foodies.
New Locations for Old Favorites
Ashley Mac’s — SoHo Square
1831 28th Ave. S., Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 582-0062
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ashley Mac’s has a new location in the heart of downtown Homewood at SoHo Square. “I just love the ambiance of our new location! From the grey banquet seating to our custom-built high-top farm tables, not to mention all the sunlight that comes through the many windows,” says Ashley McMakin, founder and president of Ashley Mac’s. “And let’s not forget the big patio!” Stop by to enjoy their ever popular chicken salad or poppyseed chicken finished off with a hunk of their best-selling strawberry cake. Or, swing by on the way home to grab a lemon-rosemary chicken family dinner. “We strive to create homestyle dishes that aren’t too fancy to eat every day of the week,” says Ashley. “Yet we have enough variety to keep you wanting to try something new!”
Read our full feature on Ashley Mac’s.
Big Bad Breakfast — Homewood
1926 29th Ave. S., Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 666-7099
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
James Beard Award-winning Chef John Currence opens his second Big Bad Breakfast or “BBB” in Birmingham in bustling downtown Homewood adjacent to Real & Rosemary. Expect the same favorites like the substantial scratch-made buttermilk biscuit sandwiches and custom-created meats (think: spicy bacon, BBB sausage patty and fatback andouille). But this time, the renowned Southern chef brings a special touch to his Magic City BBBs, adding fresh Gulf seafood to some of the eatery’s staple dishes. The fried oyster scramble “Hangtown style” knocks it out of the park with two scrambled eggs with bacon, onions, tomatoes and roasted potatoes, topped with fried Gulf oysters and sliced serrano chiles. And the Creole omelet incorporates Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, onions, tomatoes and cheddar into a perfectly cooked omelet topped with tomato gravy and green onions. While “breakfast” is in the name, they also offer salads, sandwiches and wraps like their Screamin’ Demon fried chicken sandwich, fried Gulf shrimp or oyster loaf and Big Bad burger. And in the salad department, the fried oyster “Louie” salad, gem lettuces with a boiled egg, fried Gulf oysters, shrimp and Louie dressing, makes our mouths water.
Crestline Bagel Co. — Cahaba Heights
4117 Crosshaven Drive, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 • (205) 407-4583
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This Crestline mainstay has a new, spacious and light-filled home in Cahaba Heights! Jennifer Yarbrough became owner of the original Crestline Bagel over 10 years ago, completely revamping the basic bagel-and-cream-cheese model to include a greatly expanded made-from-scratch menu. The Everything bagel — “E.T.” for short — is the crowd favorite, but Jennifer says people should also give the sweet onion bagel a try. Or, go for one of their salads, sandwiches, wraps, panini or pizza bagels. Jennifer’s favorite thing about the eatery is the loyal customers (of which there are throngs willing to stand in lines out the door). “My husband has always said that we are like the ‘Cheers’ of breakfast,” she says. “We have somebody that fits all the characters on the show plus so many more unique personalities, and we have been so fortunate to be able to call them friends.”
Local Taco — The Colonnade
3419 Colonnade Pkwy. #100, Birmingham, AL 35243 • (205) 490-6112
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 am. to 10 p.m.
After launching its first Magic City eatery at Parke Lane in Mountain Brook Village, Local Taco opens the doors to its second Birmingham location at The Colonnade. “Half of the space is set up for fast-casual dining, and the other half is a tequila-library bar,” says Jess Eccher, Local Taco’s director of marketing and brand development. “It’s going to be awesome!” Their Nashville hot chicken taco is hands-down the Local Taco crowd favorite. It’s fried chicken smothered in their house hot sauce, poblano cream sauce, cilantro, coleslaw and diced Wickles Pickles all wrapped up in a fresh, hand-pressed tortilla. Other best sellers include the guacamole, queso and Mexi-tots. Local Taco’s weekend brunches with delicious breakfast tacos and $3 mimosas and bloody Marys can’t be beat!
Read our full feature on Local Taco.
Ollie Irene — Crestline
75 Church St., Mountain Brook, AL 35213 • (205) 769-6034
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Previously anchored in the heart of Mountain Brook Village, Ollie Irene has returned with a new home in Crestline Village. Having worked under six James Beard Award-winning chefs and earning his own James Beard nominations — Best Chef South 2015 and Best New Restaurant for Ollie Irene in 2011 — Chef Chris Newsome is among Birmingham’s top culinary talents. And while the menu mainstays are to die for, this chef flexes his creative muscles with the nightly specials. The specials embrace local and seasonal ingredients through arresting flavor combinations. The ambience — with its warm, glowing lights inside and sidewalk seating perfect for people-watching outside — has the effortlessly chic and utterly inviting vibe of a Parisian bistro. And be forewarned … there are no reservations, so get there early, because this hotspot can get busy!
Now, get out there, and get eatin’!