Reviews

Day After Party 

My family forgoes leftovers and gathers round the window table at Bottega. 

By Jan Walsh 

Beyond blessed to have my family here for Thanksgiving. But how can you top the perfect turkey day? Mid-afternoon meal the day after at Bottega. 

Here’s The Beef

Friday is prime rib night at 5 Point Public House Oyster Bar. 

By Jan Walsh 

5 Point Public House Oyster Bar is famous for their oysters on half shell, baked, and fried. After all, it is the sister restaurant to Ocean Restaurant, situated next door in 5 Points. Restauranteur, George Reis is the owner and executive chef of both. In addition to fish and seafood from across the globe, you can also get one of the best steaks anywhere at Ocean. And I expect that 5 Point will be known for its Friday night prime rib soon. This month Reis started the prime rib as a Friday night early special. It has sold out each week. So, we made reservations for 5:00 tonight. 

With Honors and With Reservations 

Our Heroes’ Sunday Brunch is well planned for Dyron’s Lowcountry. 

By Jan Walsh  

Veteran’s Day week is special for Kev and me. His Youth Leadership Development Program’s annual patriotism events kick off on tonight and last through Monday evening. Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and their families come to town for and are honored at the events. Prior to these events, we bring some of the early arrivals to Dyron’s for Sunday brunch. Like everything about this week, our brunch was well planned weeks ago… with reservations. 

Second to Naan

Bay Leaf Indian cuisine is tried and truer. 

By Jan Walsh 

On our first visits to Bay Leaf Modern Indian Cuisine and Bar, we were experimenting. Now we are discovering. Each new experience of Chef Z’s modern Indian fare (at both this Highway 280 location and the Southside location) outdoes the last. And it is always difficult not to order dishes we have previously had because we now have favorites: Naans, Biriyani, Drums of Heaven, Crab Lollypops, Tandoori Shrimp, Beef Short Ribs, and the any and every soup. 

Common Ground 

Sunday brunch at Galley and Garden pleases carnivores and vegans. 

By Jan Walsh 

The patio at Galley and Garden is common ground for both meat loving foodies and those who prefer plants. There is also live music for all to enjoy and a garden view. 

Our Happy Place 

Pizzeria GM is more than a pizza place. They serve happiness here. 

By Jan Walsh 

There is no place like Pizzeria GM. The kitchen here is Giani Respinto’s playground. The pizzas are hard to resist. But so is everything else… The daily specials delightful. The in-season salads and pizzas are sensational. And the sandwiches tower over their hand cut fries. 

Sharing Sushi

Abhi Eatery and Bar in Mountain Brook is where we roll.

By Jan Walsh 

Abhi Eatery and Bar has two locations, The Summit and Mountain Brook Village. The menus vary by location. And we love both! The Summit location is open on Sundays for lunch, which gives us a weekly option to dine in or carry out. And both restaurants are open nightly for dinner. 

Table for Two

Lunch at Bistro V pleases him and her.

By Jan Walsh

Kev and I have different palates. He likes sweet, pork, and beer. I like spicy, seafood, and wine. But neither of us have to give in about where to have lunch because Bistro V pleases us both…

Linger Longer

Where do you catch up over brunch with a lifetime friend? The Patio at Vino.

By Jan Walsh


My restaurant reviews and personal life continue to meld together. Although the food is paramount, there is also so much more to a meal. Time spent at my favorite places with the chefs, restauranteurs, staff, and most especially those at my table become a page in the diary of my life.

Lost Time 

Lunch with Mayor Phillips at Fonfon is a time to remember. 

By Jan Walsh 

The past 18 months have stolen much from me. And I feel the need to make up for lost time. Oneonta Mayor, Richard Phillips is like a son to me. He was in the first class I taught as a teacher at Oneonta City Schools. Teachers do have “favorites,” and he was one of mine. And once we found each other, we never let go… always been there for me: baby-sitting, dog sitting, helping start up my two businesses and working with me in both ever since. The two of us always found a way to keep our lives woven tightly together, even throughout the pandemic, when we could not be together as often. 

Southern Hospitality 

Family friendliness is the icing on the fabulous food at Blueprint on 3rd. 

By Jan Walsh 

Blueprint on 3rd is a Robb family, owned and run restaurant. And you feel it as you walk in the door. The Robb family is a loyal bunch who genuinely cares for their patrons, and treats us all like family. Tonight, as we step away from the valet and inside the restaurant, Brandon Robb greets us at the door. He later treats us to an amazing app and checks on us during each course. Meanwhile his father, Dean Robb is in the kitchen cooking due to Blueprint’s chef de cuisine being away on vacation. Even still, he dashes out to greet us at our table with glasses of French sparkling rosé, and he checks back in on us after our entrees arrive. And Dean's wife, Jenny focuses on the front of the house.

Farm Finds

Farmer Noah brings his bounty to my door weekly. 

By Jan Walsh 

Living an organic life is not easy. But having my own farmer helps. I am a patron of Rora Valley Farms and its Farmship program. 

One Curb, Two Meals 

Eli keeps us well fed with organic, Israeli fare. 

By Jan Walsh 

We dine in on occasion and pick up at the curb often at Eli’s Jerusalem Grill. And over the years, I have enjoyed everything on the menu. I have also been in the kitchen filming cooking videos with Chef Eli Markshtien, where I was impressed by his due diligence to keeping it organic. Everywhere I looked the products were marked with USDA Organic label. 

Al Fresco Escape 

Bellini’s patio is our private, mid-day getaway. 

By Jan Walsh 

Bellini’s Ristorante and Bar is a short, scenic drive from Liberty Park. We go “the back way” down Sicard Hollow, onto Grants Mill Road and over Lake Purdy, to hit Highway 119. And in ten minutes we are there. 

Always In Season 

Dyron’s Lowcountry always serves a bounty of in season fare.  

By Jan Walsh  

Owners Dyron and Sonya Powell are passionate about fresh, local produce as well as Gulf fish and seafood. And it shows. Each of the four seasons, Dyron’s serves farm fresh products, as soon as they come into season: strawberries, blueberries, heirloom tomatoes, truffles, ruby red grapefruit, peaches, okra, root vegetables, farm eggs, soft shell crab, red snapper, royal reds shrimp, yellowfin tuna, Louisiana crawfish, Florida stone crab claws…

Gone Fishing 

I know a great spot to catch fish: Ocean Restaurant. 

By Jan Walsh 

Ocean’s seafood is unsurpassed. From day boat Gulf fish to cold water crustaceans, owner and executive chef, George Reis serves it all. 

Oh, Mama! 

We pair surf and turf burrito bowls with melon margaritas. 

By Jan Walsh 

I am not much of a planner. But when I go to Taco Mama, I have my order ready… because I want everything listed on their colorful boards. 

Beyond Words 

I need a new thesaurus to describe dinner at Bistro 218. 

By Jan Walsh 

If you look up “delicious” in a thesaurus, there are hundreds of synonyms. And you can check off each-and-every one of them to describe dinner at Bistro 218. It has always been so. I have reviewed this restaurant many times over the years, since Tom Saab opened his dream. Each bite of every night has been praiseworthy. And tonight, he continues to wow me!

Craving Wednesday’s Special 

I came for Bottega’s veggie plate. 

By Jan Walsh

Summer brings Bottega’s Vegetable Plate each Wednesday. 

As I make reservations for Wednesday, I can taste the vegetable plates of my childhood. I spent most of the first eight years of my life on my grandparents’ farm, a self-sustaining farm with a cash crop of cotton. My grandfather grew enough food to feed this household all year, as my grandmother canned and froze vegetables, and made jams and jellies from the fruit of the trees. There were Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas, Big Boy and Better Boy Tomatoes, Silver Queen Corn, watermelons, cantaloupes, okra, squash, collards, turnips, cucumber, figs, apples, peaches, and strawberries. Lunch was called dinner. Dinner was called supper. And both meals boasted a table filled with bowls of fruits and vegetables. There was no meat or poultry served except for special occasions when my grandmother would fry a chicken or the annual pig roast. And I never outgrew my craving for a Southern vegetable plate. 

Father’s Day Feast 

Village Tavern is a dad pleaser. 

By Jan Walsh 

One of Daddy Joe’s favorite restaurants is Village Tavern. So, we make Father’s Day reservations for four: Kev, Jordan, Joe and me.  

GianMarco's Kylie Needs Help 

Kylie is our friend and a familiar face at Gianmarco’s. 

In 2020 while expecting twins, Kylie learned that she had a brain tumor. Unfortunately, they could not perform the operation to remove it at that time because she was pregnant. Kylie’s beautiful twins were born three weeks ago. Before her scheduled surgery, she collapsed and was rushed into emergency brain surgery to remove the tumor and relieve the pressure on her brain.

Silver Anniversary Brunch 

At Birmingham’s romantic restaurant, Galley and Garden

By Jan Walsh 

 Our 25th Anniversary fell on a Sunday. So, the obvious choice is a restaurant known for romance, Galley and Garden. Here they serve a prix fixe menu of two or three courses for Sunday brunch. 

Silver Anniversary Brunch At Birmingham’s romantic restaurant, Galley and GardenBy Jan Walsh Our 25th Anniversary fell on a Sunday. So, the obvious choice is a restaurant known for romance, Galley and Garden. Here they serve a prix fixe menu of two or three courses for Sunday brunch. Maître D’, Stan Reynolds seats us at our favorite table and treats us to glasses of Tribaut Brut Origine Champagne and has our favorite sparkling water chilled tableside. Thank you! We toast our special day with Champagne and cornbread. Be still my heart. As starters we select Heirloom Tomato Turnover and Summer Corn Bisque. The savory turnover is a warm, golden pastry filled with heirloom tomatoes, parmesan, and feta, topped with pesto and balsamic glaze. And the bisque is also incredible, briming with fresh, roasted yellow corn and a pop of poblano peppers. Don’t let summer slip away without enjoying these in season apps. Stan introduces us to the new General Manager, Jessica Lindell. And afterwards Chef Vicky Rutledge stops by...

Anniversaries Dinner 

We celebrate our 25th anniversary on Bistro V’s 11th anniversary. 

By Jan Walsh 

Timing is everything. After much consideration and conversation, of where to dine for our 25th Silver Anniversary, we choose Bistro V. Upon arrival we learn it is Bistro V’s 11th Anniversary. Partner and Executive Chef, Jeremy Downley comes out of the kitchen for greetings, anniversary wishes, and hugs. It is so wonderful to see his face again!

What a Pair!

Sip Tommy Spina’s Sicilian wines with GianMarco’s Italian fare. 

By Jan Walsh 

Local defense lawyer, Tommy Spina’s Sam Spina Importing Company has a new release of Sicilian wines. And Spina kindly dropped off the wines at my home for me to taste. Four 2019 vintages include a white, Catarratto and three reds: Perricone, Frappato, and Nerello. 

Pushing Boundaries

Discover amazing new eats at Abhi’s Eatery and Bar.

By Jan Walsh

Abhi at The Summit is one of our favorite take outs for Sunday lunch. Kev and I both have our favorite dishes here that we know travel well. Yet the favorites list evolves because once we try a different dish, it then becomes the new favorite. Today we are dining in for Sunday lunch. So today I rule out ordering a dish that we have ever had before.

Pushing Boundaries

Discover amazing new eats at Abhi’s Eatery and Bar.

By Jan Walsh

Abhi at The Summit is one of our favorite take outs for Sunday lunch. Kev and I both have our favorite dishes here that we know travel well. Yet the favorites list evolves because once we try a different dish, it then becomes the new favorite. Today we are dining in for Sunday lunch. So today I rule out ordering a dish that we have ever had before.

 

Family Favorite

Where to eat when my family comes home? Pizzeria GM

By Jan Walsh

Whenever my “boys” come home, they arrive with reservations, restaurant reservations. Beforehand they each spend much time looking at menus on BirminghamRestaurants.com, while texting back and forth with each other… planning where they want to go eat while in town. At the top of the list is their tried and true, Pizzeria GM. No wonder. Their menu is so much more than pizza that sometimes we must skip their amazing, old school pizzas. Famous dishes from the Respinto’s original Homewood restaurant, GianMarco’s are found on the menu along with other of Giani’s selections of small plates, salumi and cheese, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.

 

Bottega with the Boys

We celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with dinner at Bottega.

By Jan Walsh

I am very blessed to have both my sons, Jordan and Ross, home from Florida, for Mother’s Day weekend. And we choose Bottega for our celebratory dinner.

Somethings Special

Coffee Shoppe at Vino serves coffee, tea, small bites, and Saturday brunch.

By Jan Walsh

It was one year ago this month that Vino and Gallery Bar reopened from the shutdown. And we were here for the reopening on the patio… Today we are here to celebrate the Grand Opening of Coffee Shoppe at Vino! The coffee shop is open Monday through Saturday and offers brunch on Saturday.

For the Doughnut

“There’s a food critic in the house!”

By Jan Walsh 

Kev and I ended my birthday week with dinner at Bocca Ristorante. We arrive at Chef Tom Saab’s Italian sister restaurant to his French, Bistro 218, to find a valet and our favorite table waiting. 

Date Night, Done Right

In the mood for romance? Get a table, at Galley and Garden.

By Jan Walsh


Galley and Garden has a reputation for romance. Whether it be drinks at the bar, Champagne brunch on the patio, or popping the question over dinner. But it doesn’t stop here. The restaurant and its private dining rooms are also popular for wedding parties and rehearsal dinners. Thus, it is no surprise that one of Galley and Garden’s most recent accolades is being named “Alabama’s Most Romantic Restaurant,” by Eat This, Not That.

Birthday Bliss

Lunch at Chez Fonfon’s patio lifts my spirits and feeds my soul.

By Jan Walsh

Kev and I arrive for my birthday lunch at Chez Fonfon, coincidentally on the first day the dining room is reopened, April 6. This is a wonderful gift in itself. But not today... Today we have reservations on the patio. And there is not a cloud in the sky, although April 6 is historically rainy. Last April 6, rain was the least of my limitations, as there was not a single restaurant open to celebrate my birthday.

Bottega Al Fresco

Bottega’s patio or my porch?

By Jan Walsh

Nothing beats Bottega’s patio. Yet if you want it to go, Bottega is still offering curb menu, as well as their patio menu, with plans to reopen dining rooms in late spring.

Shared Felicidad
 
Lunch at Sol Y Luna is a fulfilling feast.

By Jan Walsh

Today we lunch at Sol Y Luna, seated at our favorite corner window table. The restaurant’s light-filled, happy ambience makes margaritas a must. Although I aim to try new drinks and dishes each time we come here, the Sol Y Luna Margarita is a memorable cocktail that deserves repeating as are the Guacamole and Queso Flameado.  

Pizza Perfection

Pizzeria GM serves old school comfort food with a cutting edge.

By Jan Walsh

Kev and I made fast friends recently, which is not like us. We met Michelle and David Beasley on their hunt for authentic, period antiques for their antebellum home in Georgia. As fate would have it, we not only share the same taste in and passion for antiques. We all love the South, history, old homes, dogs… and we even agree on politics. Amazing! This week they made a detour, while going home from an antique auction in Mississippi, to meet us for lunch. And Pizzeria GM was the perfect place.

Sensational Steaks, Fantastic Fish

Ocean’s steaks are as awesome as the seafood.

By Jan Walsh

Tonight, Kev and I take our regular seats, in the corner of the bar, at one of our favorite restaurants, Ocean. Lucky us, we have gift cards in hand from our son, Ross! Here we watch the action in the open kitchen and hang out with our bartender pal, Robby Greenwood, who is also the bar manager at Ocean. We opt for his recommendation of food friendly Aimery 1531 Cremant De Limoux Brut. As Robby pours our bubbly, owner and executive chef, George Reis takes a break from the kitchen for a visit. It is great to catch up and fun to watch him take on Chef de Cuisine, Ric Trent’s role tonight, who is off this evening. So, we keep our visit short to let the man get back to cooking.

Valentine’s Dinner 2021

Tonight, we fall in love with Blueprint on 3rd all over again.

By Jan Walsh 

Kev and I toast Valentine’s 2021 at home before heading off to Blueprint on 3rd for dinner. We arrive to the Pepper Place area restaurant to a valet in waiting. And we are welcomed inside by restaurant supervisor, Brandon Robb, with glasses of sparkling rose.

Tried, and Truly Terrific  

Lunch at Bistro V brings us back for more of his, and more of hers. 

By Jan Walsh 

Bistro V is one of our favorite restaurants. They know where we want to sit without asking. And our favorite table awaits as we walk in the door. The place is packed, as always. Both ladies who lunch, biz lunches, and solo diners are loyal patrons.

Beautiful Lunch

Kev and I enjoy a date lunch at Bellini’s Ristorante.

By Jan Walsh

Bellini’s Ristorante is the namesake of the classic Italian cocktail, Bellini, which means “little beautiful one.” And lunch here today is a beauty.

Diamond Jubilee

Kev chose GianMarco’s for this milestone birthday.

By Jan Walsh


Five years ago, tonight we were celebrating Kev’s previous milestone birthday with a surprise party in GianMarco’s private dining space. It was filled with friends and family, many of whom still rave about it, saying it was the best birthday party ever. And I can recall every guest who was in attendance and every wonderful bite we ate… Thank you Giani and Marco for the memory.

 

Food Warriors 2021

Birmingham Member Restaurants overcame 2020, surviving into 2021.

By Jan Walsh

A year ago, my only complaint about restaurants in Birmingham was that there were too many new openings. Our “food city” was drawing new restaurants at an unsustainable rate, cutting the pie of Birmingham metro’s restaurant market into too many small pieces. Yet I predicted the strong would survive. Little did I know how strong they would have to become to survive the year.

New Beginnings 

Welcoming 2021 with NYE dinner and Kev’s birthday brunch at Dyron’s Lowcountry 

By Jan Walsh 

We arrive for NYE at Dyron’s Lowcountry early, in time to hang out with executive chef (and beaming new dad) Randall Baldwin and his beautiful wife Laura. And we finally get to meet their baby boy, Bennett. What a doll! Just looking at those big, beautiful eyes, gives me hope… 2021 must be better than 2020, if only for this precious child. 

Happy Hanukkah Week 

Savor Eli’s Jerusalem Grill potato latkes while they last!

By Jan Walsh 

Eating fried food on Hanukkah is a tradition. It is a commemoration of the oil that burned for eight days, as the Maccabees purified and rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Eli’s Jerusalem Grill is frying organic potato latkes daily during until December 18. 

Holiday Cake

The joy of not baking…

By Jan Walsh

I like to cook. I hate to bake. Cooking can be forgiving. Can taste as I go, adding touches of this and that until my savory dishes taste just right. But not with baking, is too mathematical for me. Precise temps, pre-set baking times, and exact measurements must be followed. Plus, there is a science to baking that most recipes don’t account for, such as humidity, altitude, and atmospheric pressure! Thus, the only cake I bake is a cheesecake. It has no flour, baking soda, etc., so it can’t fall far. And I can get creative with the toppings.

In Memory: Eli Stevens

Lloyd's Restaurant honors Eli Stevens.

Lloyd's Restaurant will be closed Friday, November 27 for his funeral.And the restaurant will close early on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and Sunday at 5:00 p.m. They will reopen Monday, November 30th with normal business hours.

French Kiss

Dinner at Bistro 218 brings us back to life. 

By Jan Walsh 

I miss my life. Many things I took for granted are now missing from my days and nights. Looking forward to has been replaced by fear of what’s next. But not tonight… Tonight, we escape the madness with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants Bistro 218. 

Thanksgiving Menus 

The joy of not cooking Thanksgiving!

Thanksgivings at Galley and Garden are a tradition for many. And in 2020 the legacy lives on. Galley and Garden will be open for Thanksgiving. Chef James Boyce has a special pre fixe price, three course, Thanksgiving Menu.

Champagne Brunch 

The Yard debuts delectable, pre-fixe, weekend brunch! 

By Jan Walsh 

The Yard is now offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. This well- conceived meal was planned by Elyton Hotel’s general manager, Chris Townsley and executive chef, Chris Moore. The duo wanted uniqueness in both fare and format. Thus, it is pre-fixe price of $30 per person for three courses per person or $40 for same three course offering plus mimosas for two people.

Champagne Brunch 

The Yard debuts delectable, pre-fixe, weekend brunch! 

By Jan Walsh 

"Champagne" and "brunch" are two of my favorite words. And paired together... I am there. The Yard is now offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. This well-conceived meal was planned by Elyton Hotel’s general manager, Chris Townsley and executive chef, Chris Moore. The duo wanted uniqueness in both fare and format. Thus, it is pre-fixe price of $30 per person for three courses per person or $40 for same three course offering plus mimosas for two people. 

En Plein Air 

Chez Fonfon’s patio is a colorful canvas for Frank Stitt’s French palette.  

By Jan Walsh 

Today we are warmly welcomed to lunch at Chez Fonfon, by both Frank and Pardis Stitt. After a brief visit Pardis takes us to our table on the patio where we catch up further. 

Replicating Success 

Bay Leaf’s second location, on Highway 280 is as awesome as the original.  

By Jan Walsh 

Bay Leaf opens a second location at 5426 Highway 280, Suite 14, in Hoover. It is across the highway from the Greystone entrance, on the hill. 

Rivestimento D’argento 



Bocca Ristorante debuts as the silver lining of 2020. 

By Jan Walsh 

Chef and restauranteur, Tom Saab shared his vision for Bocca with me in 2017—before it had a name.  I shared it with my followers—but only as a rumor, at his request, because the idea was still up in the air. And everyone was as excited as I. We all imagined Chef Saab translating his success at Bistro 218, from fluent French to incredible Italian… 

Haven of Hospitality 

The Yard at Elyton Hotel boasts new chef, cuisine, and service. 

By Jan Walsh 

I enjoy three adventures in eating at The Yard before its reopening. First, I meet new executive chef, Chris Moore over a private lunch in the bar. Next, I am treated to a tasting of the entire, new dinner menu20 something dishes!  And two nights before its grand reopening, I dine at its soft launch opening dinner. Synthesizing these three experiences into one, overall realization: The Yard has evolved into a front burner restaurant for foodies. 

Opening the Gates 

Bottega is now serving lunch and dinner in the courtyard!

By Jan Walsh 

For many years, Frank and Pardis Stitt’s Bottega Café has been a favorite, Saturday lunch spot for Kev and me. We have toasted many of life’s good times with Champagne here, at our corner table. And during the bad times, we were comforted and nourished by Frank Stitt’s cuisine. But for the past six months, as we drove past, seeing its proud, tall, iron gates closed saddened me… 

Coming Soon! 

New member restaurants The Yard and Moon Shine at Elyton Hotel

We are always excited to announce new member restaurants. And soon to come will be the Elyton Hotel's eateries: The Yard and Moon Shine. Moon Shine is currently open for dinner and drinks. The Yard will reopen September 18 with an accomplished new executive chef, Chris Moore. 

 

Perfection, Over Easy 

5 Point pops up the perfect Sunday brunch! 

By Jan Walsh 

Food Warrior, George Reis and his team have been fighting the good fight at Ocean and 5 Point Public House Oyster Bar since March. They continue to pivot with the pandemic, meeting each and every obstacle with new solutions

Surf and Turf, Curbside

Bellini’s claws, beef sliders, burger, and crab salad all travel well.

By Jan Walsh

Bellini’s Ristorante is situated between Jordan’s Shelby County law office and our house. So, when working there, Jordan often treats us to take out from area restaurants. And tonight’s take home dinner comes from Bellini’s Ristorante and Bar, located on Cahaba Valley Road, just off Highway 280.

 

Modern and Upscale 

Chef Z pushes the boundaries of Indian cuisine at Bay Leaf. 

By Jan Walsh 

Tonight, we take a culinary journey to India—via 5 Points South. 

Gracious Hospitality

Village Tavern treats us to a very special lunch paired with craft cocktails. 

By Jan Walsh 

Corporate Executive Chef, Mary Grace Viado Howard’s middle name, “Grace” describes her well. She displays grace in all she does, in good times and in bad, and today is graciously hosting us to a lovely lunch. Although we have picked up at the curb recently, this is our first time back to Village Tavern in the past few months. And it is like a homecoming being here with Mary Grace and team again. 

Foodie Feast 

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill boasts new menu. 

By Jan Walsh 

Today we got lucky to pop in for lunch at Eli's Highway 280 location in Shelby County, just before the statewide mask mandate was enforced. We often rely on Eli’s for organic takeout, even before the curb. I always took it for granted, but no longer. So today having a healthy lunch in their dining room, with no face coverings required, is the joy of the day. 

A Family Favorite

Dinner at Bistro V pleases us all.

By Jan Walsh

Oh, how I have missed dinner at Bistro V. Kev and I had some scrumptious curb meals from here a couple of times lately, but there is nothing like being back to our favorite table tonight—with Jordan.

Culinary Conquest 

Food Warriors at Sol Y Luna conquer whatever comes their way. 

By Jan Walsh 

Jorge and Aimee Castro reopened Sol Y Luna in early 2020. This was six years after the original location closed—and just in time for the pandemic. 

Alabama Mask Mandate Extended

Must wear face covering when entering restaurants. Expires December 11. 

Dads love Frank Stitt’s Father’s Day fare at home.

By Jan Walsh

For Father’s Day weekend we start with Chez Fonfon curbside and finish with Bottega’s Father’s Day dinner to go.

 

Dads love Frank Stitt’s Father’s Day fare at home. 

By Jan Walsh 

For Father’s Day weekend we start with Chez Fonfon curbside and finish with Bottega’s Father’s Day dinner to go. 

All Cylinders 

Pizzeria GM and GianMarco’s are both open for lunch and dinner again. 

By Jan Walsh 

Two of our favorite restaurants are open again! And over the past couple of weeks Kev and I have been to Pizzeria GM twice and GianMarco’s for lunch and dinner. We previously picked up curbside from both restaurants. And GianMarco’s and Pizzeria GM are still offering curb service—with many takers. 

Pizzeria GM's Lobster BLT Special + Lunch Resumes at GianMarco's

By Jan Walsh 

I caught the Lobster BLT special on Friday at Pizzeria GM. Highly recommeended! I will be writing a review of our lunch there and of our recent dinner at GianMarco's next week. That said, Pizzeria GM decided to fly in more lobster, and make the sandwich special go another week! So catch it soon before it is gone. 

Birmingham Restaurants Open. We are there!

Most restaurants are now open on patio, dining room, or both.
 

Life and Loyalty 

Tonight, we are treated to an anniversary dinner by Abhi. 

By Jan Walsh

If nothing else, it is times like these, we all learn who our friends are. The shutdowns and stay at home orders made panic easy—in our echo chambers of worry and fear. Our survival instincts kicked in, asking, “How will we (my family and my business) survive this?” At a time when family, friends, and business buddies have been literally shut out of our lives, we can forget how “we” got where we are in life and who helped get us here… Thus, at times such as these, the focus should not be on ourselves, but on the survival of others. Who needs me now—and how? 

IW&FS honors Chris and Idie Hastings at OvenBird wine dinner.

By Jan Walsh


Little did I know this would be my last dinner in a restaurant for a long time…
 

Better than Ever 

Dinner at Galley and Garden is incredible, from start to finish. 

By Jan Walsh 

This afternoon, we dine at Galley and Garden for dinner. They reopened a few nights ago with dinner service starting at 4:30. They have also started wine events again on the patio. The next event is a Summer Rosé Celebration on June 11 at 5:30.

Vino and Gallery Bar open patio for dinner. And we are there. 

By Jan Walsh 

Oh, how I have missed this place and these people! Vino and Gallery Bar is a happy place. Every memory I have here is a good one. And I have many. Inside and out it is pristine. And the food is incredible and healthy. 

Birmingham Restaurants Open. We are there. 

Blueprint on 3rd reopens. And I am first in the door.

By Jan Walsh

I have not been to a restaurant in more than two months. And it has been 56 years since I have gone this long without dining out… When I was seven years old, after I moved from my Grandparents farm, I started eating at restaurants daily.

Curb it or dine in. Get your BBQ fix and fixings for Memorial Day. 

Both Dreamland Bar-B-Que and Lloyd's are open and offering curb for memorial Day. 

40th Birthday Dinner 

Jordan chose Abhi for his special birthday dinner. 

By Jan Walsh 

lans keep pivoting for my family’s special occasions. We originally planned to take the whole family to the new Abhi in Mountain Brook Village to celebrate Jordan's 40th birthday. But with current status, we decided not to have Ross fly home, just stay safe instead. Jordan is in driving distance. So Abhi treated him to an at home feast!

Mother’s Day Weekend

We feasted on Ocean and Ovenbird, family style with Jordan.

By Jan Walsh


We had big big plans for Mother’s Day 2020. Jordan’s 40th birthday is May 23. So, we planned one big celebration for the family. Plan B… I will not allow Ross to fly yet. But Jordan lives a drivable distance. So, thankfully he makes it. On Saturday, we feast on a spread of Ocean Restaurant’s Mother’s Day menu—including by special request, baby lobster tails! As soon as we dip the succulent tails in hot butter, I know all is right with my world this weekend.

Birmingham Restaurants Open. We are there!

Many of our restaurants are now open on patio, dining room or both. 

Feast this week’s curb finds with your eyes.

By Jan Walsh


Alabama restaurants will be allowed to open on May 11 with restrictions. So, this is my last curb review, with the exception of Mother’s Day weekend finds... If only the Governor could have opened one day earlier, we would have celebrated at our favorites. Sigh.

Many restaurants remain open, offering curbside to go and area delivery.

By Jan Walsh 

As long as Birmingham Restaurants member restaurants are open and open for curb, I will be there and will be ordering curb and delivery! 

Starving Here 

What’s for lunch? 

By Jan Walsh 

When the lockdown first started, I had mass quantities of food groceries delivered. But getting food in the house and actually cooking it, soon proved to be too much. Every day there they were—food—just sitting there chilling in the fridge, waiting to be cooked. Fresh farm eggs couldn’t wait to be fried. Potatoes threatened to sprout. And mold married my strawberries overnight. 

Supporting Birmingham Restaurants During Shutdown

Many restaurants, including fine dining, have begun carryout and curbside pick-up. You may order online or call in. Some chefs are creating adjusting menus to create at home meals that travel well. And your take home meal just got better with Alabama Beverage Commission (ABC) authorized emergency powers to allow restaurants and bars to give people the option of ordering alcohol to go, temporarily. 

 

Supporting Birmingham Restaurants’ Servers, During Shutdown

By Jan Walsh

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, Jefferson County restaurants, bars, and breweries cannot allow the consumption of food or beverages on their premises for one week. This shutdown is due to the evolving COVID-19 community spread, in accordance with the Jefferson County Health Department.

 

Lunch & Dinner Delivery

Ordered Billy’s Sports Grill online and delivery to my door.

By Jan Walsh

This week Billy’s Sports Grill added online ordering option. You can pay online and get curbside pickup, of food and alcohol. Or if you live in Liberty Park, you can get your lunch or dinner delivered to your door, with contactless delivery. 

50 Favorites 2019-2020 & All Time Favorites

Each year Birmingham Restaurants awards the best restaurant dishes found by Birmingham Restaurants' publisher, Jan Walsh.

More than six years after closing its doors, Sol Y Luna rises again. 

By Jan Walsh 

Restaurants come and restaurants go. But most never make a comeback. Sol Y Luna is not most restaurants. The original Sol Y Luna was founded and literally crafted in 1998 by greatly beloved and forever missed, Guillermo Castro. And when it closed the doors in Lakeview in 2013, loyal patrons, such as myself, grieved its loss just as they had its owner, “Guermo.” Tonight, I am also honored to be at the first seating of service at the new Sol Y Luna in Mountain Brook Village’s Lane Parke… I feel his presence in this place. 

Birthday Dinner

Kev’s birthday wish? Dinner at GianMarco’s.

By Jan Walsh

Memories are precious. Four years ago, we enjoyed a big birthday that celebrated seven decades of Kev’s life here at GianMarco’s. It was in their private dining room, filled with family and friends who surprised him with their presence, not presents. They are all gifts in his life, including those who have passed since.

Now Open: Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brasserie

Anant-garde Chef J.P. Holland opens new eatery in Mountain Brook Village. 

Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brasserie is located at 2708 Culver Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223. Known for his careful sourcing of food products and no rules attitude at Fig Tree, and has the same select sourcing and mindset for Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brasserie. 

 

 

A Christmas Tradition 

Bottega Café was this year’s choice for a memorable holiday lunch. 

By Jan Walsh 

Richard Phillips is more like a son to me than a co-worker. I was his first client after earning his graphic design degree at Auburn. He has since designed every logo and website that I have developed. And he is the content manager for my portfolio of commercial restaurant and legal websites—in his spare time of practicing law. Yet we go much further back than adulthood. I was his sixth grade English and writing teacher at Oneonta City Schools. 

After Hours

Forgo the business lunch. Meet up for drinks and apps at Galley Bar instead.

By Jan Walsh

Recently a business lunch meeting got rescheduled twice, before we decided to forgo lunch. We are both just too busy. So, we met instead for Galley Bar 1930 drinks and Vino apps instead. The Galley Bar side of Vino opens at 4:30 p.m. So, it is a perfect spot to meet after work, especially if you can pop out of work a bit early.

 

 

 


dyron's lowcountry country sunday brunch Toasting the Timing 

Sunday Brunch at Dyron’s Lowcountry now serves mimosas before noon.

By Jan Walsh

Dyron’s Lowcountry has one of the best brunches around. And thanks to a new Mountain Brook ordinance, they now serve alcohol on Sundays before noon. The ordinance passed this summer and allows restaurants and grocery stores to begin service at 10:00 a.m.

galley and garden wine cellar Three Birmingham Restaurants Member Restaurants won awards: Galley and Garden, Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, and Village Tavern 

 

billy's english village closes Farewell Friend

Billy’s Sports Grill, English Village closes after 40 years. 

By Jan Walsh 


Due to inability to negotiate their lease at the English Village location, Billy’s Sports Grill, is set to close doors on July 14, after 40 years. Although a search was done for an alternate English Village location, it was not successful.
on tap bourbon room My On Tap 

On Tap Sports Café opens at Liberty Park. 

By Jan Walsh 

Today we are among the first in the door as On Tap opens at Liberty Park. The restaurant is situated across the street from the Founder’s Gate. So, we drive out the gate and into their parking lot at 11967 Liberty Parkway. 


blueprint on 3rd strawberry shortcake Blueprint on 3rd celebrates first anniversary. 

 

By Jan Walsh 

 

Tonight, we are honored to be Dean Robb’s guests at Blueprint on 3d, seated at the head table. Time flies. So typically, I say, “seems like yesterday...” Yet it seems longer than one year ago, when we got our first taste of Blueprint—at their preopening family and friends’ dinner. Never seen a preopening dinner go as splendidly. From food to service this restaurant ran like a well-oiled machine from the start. 

blueprint on 3rd calamari Recipe for Success 

First Anniversary Dinner boasts the best of Blueprint of 3rd. 

By Jan Walsh 

Tonight’s first anniversary dinner begins with a prayer. And ends in a toast. And in between we discover new, highly recommended dishes at Blueprint on 3rd. 


 

bottega cafe bar lounge Favorite Table 

Bottega Café adds lounge seating and moved my table.   

By Jan Walsh 

We always arrive before Bottega Café opens in order to get “our table,” in the right corner window. So many memories of lunch right there with Kev. We have romanced, celebrated, and problem solved over lunch and handcrafted cocktails or bubbles. Yet as we valet, I see my table is gone. In its place is a new lounge area with airy, rattan and wicker furniture. I get it. Here guests can wait comfortably for a table, while sipping their choice of beverage, or nibbling on an app. But where’s my table? No worries, I look to the left and there it is in the front window alongside the entrance. Whew! Same good light, nice little corner. We have found a new home here. 

chez fonfon jumbo asparagus salad Power Lunch 

Never underestimate the ladies who lunch at Chez Fonfon. 

By Jan Walsh 


Chez Fonfon is a favorite lunch spot for both business and pleasure. And today I am here for some of both with a biz friend. We catch up, sharing the latest happenings in Birmingham’s restaurant scene and best practices of driving internet traffic to restaurant clients. 

 

farmstand by Stone Hollow Stone Hollow Farmstead opens FarmStand.  

If you liked The Pantry by Stone Hollow Farmstead, you will love FarmStand.


Stone Hollow Farmstead has been a staple of the Farmers Market at Pepper Place for years. With their elegant bouquets, irresistible cheeses, farm-fresh offerings, and dedication to sustainability. And now the style-centric gourmands at Stone Hollow have opened The Farmstand, a brick-and-mortar extension of the farm-fresh goodness they bring every weekend.