Reviews

Birmingham Restaurants App
 
Coming soon to Apple App Store and Google Play!

By Jan Walsh 
 
To celebrate our 15th Anniversary, we are developing and launching Birmingham Restaurants App! Soon you will be able to download it from the Apple App Store and Google Play. 

Comforting Classics 
 
Saturday Brunch at Ted’s Restaurant is a fulfilling, family feast. 
 
By Jan Walsh
 

Entering Ted’s is like going back home. Blue and white dishes are displayed above the sideboard adorned with Touloupis’ family photos. Owners, Tasos and Beba Touloupis spot us and warmly greet and seat us... A feeling of deja vu falls over me… Ted’s Restaurant always takes me back to my grandmother’s farmhouse, where she would keep the gas stove on and biscuits warm until I woke. Then I would warm up to the open stove in my pajamas while eating a buttered biscuit with her homemade blackberry preserves. Next Oneonta Mayor, and dear friend, Richard Phillips walks in the door. He is here to meet Kev and me at Ted’s Restaurant for early brunch. 

Everything But Pineapple 
 
Pizzeria GM is our favorite pizza place. Here’s why…
 
By Jan Walsh 

 
At Pizzeria GM there is always something new. Thus, our list of tried-and-true favorites is ever growing. The menu boasts a long list of small plates, salumi and cheese, salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and desserts. Sometimes we get wound up in the small plates like ribbons of pasta and can’t find our way beyond the Meatballs, Wagyu Beef Pigs in a Blanket, Bucket of Fries, and the Breaded and Fried Fresh Mozzarella Bocconcini to order anything else. Other times we come here for a sandwich. The GM Burger is to die for, as is the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. Both are served with house made chips. Our favorite pizza is the Chicken Parmesan—our way with edits of light sauce, extra cheese, Sicilian olives, peppers, and onions. In addition to their specialty pizzas, you may build your own with any ingredients offered on the specialty pizzas, where you will not find pineapple. When Pizzeria GM opened the servers’ shirt sleeves had a pineapple with a red prohibition sign over it—don’t ask. And there are famous pasta dishes from the Respinto Family’s GianMarco’s, including Spaghetti and Meatballs, Fiocchi and more. For dessert the Cannoli and Gelatos are well worth saving room for, although we often can’t. But much like GianMarco’s, it can be a mistake to overlook the specials. And from top to bottom of the menu, there are seasonal dishes. 

Fridays at Fonfon
 
Lingering over lunch at a place we love…
 
By Jan Walsh 
 

Chez Fonfon has long been one of my favorite restaurants. I just love the country French cuisine, authentic antiques, and bistro bustle—all of which speak to me saying, “This is where I belong.” And through the years Kev has also grown to love this place as much as I do. “It’s great to here today, at someplace we love,” he says, just after we are seated. And there is much to love… Chez Fonfon’s servers proudly don the traditional French uniform—black vest, black pants, white shirt and apron—posturing the importance of their role. The authentic, French antique, frosted windows and back door, inscribed with “Café” and “Restaurant,” envelop Fonfon in soft, warm, natural light. Creamy and chocolaty French pastries tempt guests as they walk in the door. And the open bar, decorated with seasonal fruits for hand crafting cocktails, welcomes those without reservations. 
 

Happy Memories 

Another Birthday Dinner at GianMarco’s Restaurant

By Jan Walsh 

GianMarco’s is located at 721 Broadway Street in a Homewood neighborhood. It is a Respinto family—brothers, Giani and Marco and their father Giovanni—owned and operated, authentic, Old World Italian restaurant. We have been dining at GianMarco’s since it opened in 2003. And tonight, we are here celebrating a big birthday of mine. We enter through its separate bar—where the walls are filled with reviews from various publications, including some of my own. 

CEO Recommends

Tonight, we taste favorites of Betsy McAtee, CEO of Dreamland Bar-B-Que.  

By Jan Walsh

Dreamland Bar-B-Que started in 1958 with a dream. John “Big Daddy” Bishop dreamed that God told him to open a restaurant. Today Dreamland Bar-B-Que is known throughout the South for its legendary ribs and sauce. It is served in eight stadium venues throughout the Southeast. And Dreamland Holding Company operates 10 restaurants in the Southeast and ships its BBQ nationwide.

Blueprint’s Trinity 
 
Steaming plates, chilly wine, and happy people are Blueprint on 3rd’s recipe for success. 
 
By Jan Walsh 

 
Tonight, we dine at one of our favorites, Blueprint on 3rd for our last restaurant meal of Winter 2022. We are greeted and enjoy catching up with both Dean and Brandon Robb. 

Ocean’s 20th Anniversary 
 
Tonight, we celebrate 20 years of food memories at Ocean Restaurant. 
 
By Beau Gustafson & Jan Walsh
 

Kev and I have been dining at Ocean Restaurant since it opened in March 2002. I have reviewed dinners here more times than I can count. Yet we can never get enough of one of our favorite restaurants in the world. 

Crispy Comfort 

Dyron’s Sunday Brunch boasts fried and true favorites.

By Jan Walsh

You won’t find a better brunch than Dyron’s Lowcountry. The menu changes frequently, typically each Sunday. But its style never does. There is usually a farm egg omelet, Southern style big breakfast, French toast or pancakes, gumbo, steak or short rib, biscuits, beignets, and their fried dishes: oysters, chicken, crab claws, and fish.

Staying Power

Bottega Café reopens on 15th Anniversary of Birmingham Restaurants.

By Jan Walsh

As Bottega Café reopens for today, March 1, 2022, I am the first person in the door. With hugs from Pardis and The Staple Singers playing overhead, I hum along, “I know a place, ya’ll… I’ll take you there…” Just being back here is a memorable, instantly uplifting experience.

15 Fulfilling Years
 
Birmingham Restaurants celebrates 15th Anniversary!

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson and Jan Walsh 

On March 1, 2007, I launched BirminghamRestaurants.com. An unintentional pioneer of the local internet, I became back in the early (www) wild, wild, web days, when most businesses did not have a website—including restaurants. When we launched, Twitter was less than a year old. And Facebook had become a public site less than six months prior.
 

Lunch and a Movie

Today we pair Sunday lunch at Abhi Eatery and Bar with the movie, Dog.

By Jan Walsh

Just when I have not been to the movies in years, along comes, Dog. Sunday lunch at Abhi at The Summit, however, is a regular thing, as is dinner at Abhi, both here and at Mountain Brook Village location. 

Coming Soon!

Bottega Cafe reopens March 1, 2022. 

Just like old times, Bottega Cafe will not take reservations after it reopens. New hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. 

The Feel 
 
Taco Mama’s success happened by design. And we taste it in every bite. 
 
By Jan Walsh 
 

In 2011, Founder, Will Haver wanted to open “a laid back, funky, fun taqueria
 with great tasting, fresh food, and simple approach,” in Mountain Brook, near his other restaurant, Otey’s. And from day one at Taco Mama, they were lined up out the door. Eleven years later Taco Mama has 22 locations. 

Rosé Wine and Roses

Valentine’s Dinner at Bistro 218 boasts aromatic bouquets.

By Jan Walsh 

I made reservations well in advance at Bistro 218 for the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. Afterwards, owner and executive chef, Tom Saab decided to open the restaurant on Monday night for Valentine’s dinner with a special, four courses with options, Valentine’s Menu. Oh, my! He had me at “Butter Poached Lobster Risotto.” Fortunately, by popular demand, this special menu is served this Saturday evening too. 

Sharing the Celebration
 
Tonight, we celebrate Sol Y Luna’s 2nd Anniversary.
 
By Jan Walsh  

 
As Sol Y Luna approaches its 2nd Anniversary, we celebrate it. Opening just two months before the pandemic, restaurant warriors, Jorge and Aimee Castro have made this restaurant a success in the most difficult of times. Seeing Guermo’s portrait on the wall, I expect that he is looking down from Heaven, smiling at their reincarnation of his beloved, original Sol Y Luna. 
 

It's Back!

Everybody loves Valentine Hotline

Valentine Hotline is an subscription newsletter that sends new Valentine's menus and specials to your inbox as they are published. 

 

Chef Partner 

Blueprint on 3rd names new partner. 

Owner, operator of Blueprint on 3rd announces new business partnership with Executive Chef, James Huckaby. Chef Huckaby has served as executive chef since it opened and has contributed much to the success of the restaurant.

Tales and Tails 
 
Tonight, we celebrate Kev’s birthday at Ocean’s bar. 
 
By Jan Walsh 

 
I offer Kev dinner at any Birmingham area restaurant for his birthday. And he responds, “Let’s go to Ocean’s bar and eat baby lobster tails!” I am not surprised. He often suggests Ocean for dinner, although he claims I am the seafood lover, and he is the meat guy. 

First Dibs 
 
First meal of the year is a fabulous, French lunch at Fonfon. 
 
By Jan Walsh 

 
Kev and I venture into 2022 at one of our favorite restaurants, Chez Fonfon. It is literally freezing outside. But as the door and curtain open, we find it warm and welcoming inside the café, where we are greeted by the Stitts. 

New Year’s Eve, Eve 
 
Toasting Loyalty: To the Respinto Family and Schramsberg friends! 
 
By Jan Walsh 

 
What to do when your hubby has to watch football on NYE? You reserve New Year’s Eve, Eve. I am obviously not the only one who had to change NYE reservations to the night before. GianMarco’s is booked at 5:00 p.m. Yet our table is waiting. 

50 Favorites 2021-2022

Awards will be announced January 1, 2022!

Our Neighborhood Grill 
 
Billy’s Sports Grill is our Liberty Park favorite. 
 
By Jan Walsh 

 
Billy’s has been a neighborhood favorite since 1979 when it opened in its original, former location in English Village. “Our Billy’s” is located on Overton Road at the 459 Exit to Liberty Park. It is a convenient spot for lunch, dinner, happy hour, and live music on the covered patio for residents of Liberty Park and surrounding Mountain Brook. 

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…

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.

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.

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? 

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.

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.

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.