Reviews › Casual Fare

Southern Coastal Cuisine 
Where to take a Napa CIA grad to lunch? Bistro V
By Jan Walsh 

I recently partnered with Ada Ruth Huntley in my upcoming and Auburn Restaurants App venture. When making plans to meet for our first business lunch, I considered that she is not only a former Auburn SAG President and graduate, but also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California. I have visited this wonderful place years ago for a wine lecture and understand its rich history and prestigious reputation. So, I could not take her just anywhere for lunch. It had to be a chef driven restaurant. Bistro V’s chef, Jeremy Downey played on the 1992 University of Alabama championship football team and proudly wears his ring while cooking. Yet his co-owner, Emily Tuttle Shell is orange and blue all the way. And she greets us and seats us today at my favorite, corner bar table, in this house divided. 

Bar Night 

Bistro 218 brings back Burger and Crab Cake Sliders at The Bar.

By Jan Walsh 

Tonight, Kev and I have reservations in The Bar at Bistro 218. This French bistro boasts two dining options for dinner to suit your mood and your appetite: fine dining with French classics in the main dining room and casually upscale bar with its own bar menu. And no matter which room or menu you choose, owners and restaurateurs, Tom and Christina Saab offer ever changing, seasonal fare sourced from the best meat and Gulf Coast seafood purveyors, local foragers and farmers, and every ingred

Sunday Funday
Abhi Eatery and Bar is now open for Sunday lunch and dinner.  
By Jan Walsh 

Sunday lunch at Abhi Eatery & Bar is back by popular demand! When the Abhi at The Summit location closed, taking down its Sunday lunch, many of us were disappointed. So Abhi came to our rescue… opening Mountain Brook Village for lunch to satisfy our Sunday appetites! 

Petite Phenom 
Corporate Exec Chef, Mary Grace Viado celebrates 20 years at Village Tavern.  
By Jan Walsh 

If Chef Mary Grace Viado were a dish… What would she be? Her petite appearance and gracious hospitality are much like a canape, perhaps a caviar scallop. Yet her pretty smile and sweet personality are more like a dessert, such as her own warm butter cake with fruit and ice cream. Yet underlying this dainty demeanor, there is a CIA education, a world of experience, a passion for research and development, and a boss lady. Thus, Viado is not a dish, she is the talent who develops them all. 

Ladies Who Lunch 

Likeminded businesswomen meet for lunch at Bottega Café. 

By Jan Walsh 

Today I am meeting with another local businesswoman for lunch. She is new to the city. So, I arrive and secure the table needed at Bottega Café for a private business chat, which will also lend natural light for food photos. My guest arrives just as I am settled in with glasses and camera unpacked.  


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Special of the Day 

Catching Chez Fonfon’s Lobster and Shrimp BLT for Lunch

By Jan Walsh 

Kev and I love lobster, and can never find enough of it, especially for lunch. So, we look forward to the annual roll out of Chez Fonfon lobster rolls! Today we show up as the doors open to continue our annual tradition of catching Wednesday’s Specialite du Jour: Lobster and Shrimp BLT. Both Frank and Pardis Stitt are here today. Frank waves as a media photographer is setting him up for a photo with food. We are seated at our favorite corner, window table, and settle in with seasonal cocktails of Peach Bellini and Watermelon Margarita. As we sip our drinks, Pardis stops by for a visit, and we chat about the latest local food scene happenings. The bellini is a beauty, made of hand squeezed peach juice and sparkling wine, thus voluptuous in body, peachy in flavor, balanced and not sweet. And the margarita is a lovely mix of watermelon, tequila, and lime, in which the juice of the melon dominates, as it should. 

Private Restaurant 
GianMarco’s private events are back!
By Jan Walsh 

One of the many good times we missed over the past two years are private events at GianMarco’s Restaurant. I had Kevin’s surprise birthday dinner party in the former event space a few years ago. And it could not have been a better night, one of the best of our lives! With their event pro, Courtney Fitzpatrick’s assistance, I selected the menu from among his favorite dishes at GianMarco's, wines we love, and an open bar. She helped me select the size of the floral arrangements from my choice of Piggly Wiggly Floral. And I sat back with no worries, other than he might find out before his birthday. 

A Time, And Place 
Savoring the pleasures of dinner at Tasting TBL
By Jan Walsh 

I must admit that Chefs, Tyler and Jennifer Lyne exploded onto the Birmingham culinary scene under my radar. The couple moved to Hoover in 2020 during the pandemic, after 16 years in New York City. And NYC’s loss is Birmingham’s gain. Both chefs are graduates of the CIA and have impressive culinary educations and experience, including stints at the top restaurants in NYC as well as Japan and Paris. Just like many of us, Chef Tyler is a born and bred Southerner. Having been born and raised in Texas, he did not plan to raise his son without a yard. Thus, a move away from NYC was likely inevitable.  

Looming Large 

Tasting TBL is our newest member. And Frenchies is up next!

In 2020, NYC’s celebrated chefs, Tyler and Jennifer Lyne made Hoover their home. And their supper club, Tasting TBL is the newest Member of Birmingham Restaurants + App (profile under development). Meanwhile the Lynes are also underway with a new French restaurant, Frenchies, in the former Rucker House location in Southside. Frenchies will have service from breakfast until late night, as well as boasting a patisserie, delivery, catering, private events. The couple also has plans for an upscale steakhouse, like none other. It will be located downtown Birmingham, in the previous location of a meat processing facility, Armour and Company, on 1st Avenue North. Both future restaurants will also become Member Restaurants of Birmingham Restaurants. We have so much to look forward to! And Auburn fans will be delighted to learn that Chef Tyler will be the inaugural chef-in-residence at 1856. This is the new teaching restaurant in the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University, which we have all been eagerly anticipating for too long.