His and Hers

Ashley Mac’s pleases all appetites with café, catering, and gourmet to go.

By Jan Walsh

When disaster strikes most people panic. And natural born leaders rise to the occasion—navigating a new path forward. And through this pandemic crisis, Ashley McMakin led the way, as she advanced new ways to keep feeding us from her four locations: Cahaba Heights, Homewood, Inverness, and Riverchase. Curbside cafe, no problem. Delivery of precooked meals and boxed lunches, no problem. Mandatory closings, no problem. She re-opened one at a time. But this Food Warrior also did the unthinkable—opened a new location downtown Birmingham, at Pizitz Food Hall in the middle of this crisis.

We look forward to lunching at the new location, but today we are on our way home from Friday road trip. So, we stop at the Cahaba Heights café and grab an umbrellaed table on the side patio. Looking around it is obvious that ladies love to lunch here. But so does Kev. When we need a lunch to go or on the go, he often suggests Ashley Mac’s. And he has been waiting to try the new Friday special: Andy Mac Burger, named for Ashley’s husband and business partner, Andy McMakin. He orders it with a mac and cheese bowl.

And my favorite dish on her menu is now in season: Heirloom Tomato Tart. I opt for her famous Baby Bleu Salad as my side. Kev’s beefy burger fills the fresh brioche bun with two juicy patties, in the perfect size dimension to fit in the mouth. Two patties also please, with the same doneness throughout. Each patty is topped with melted Havarti cheese and layered with chop sauce and Poppy’s Pickles, adding sweet acidity to the cheesy beef. He has a new favorite day to eat here—Fridays. And the mac and cheese is just as he likes, traditional, like his mother used to make. My tomato tart is still warm from the oven and delights at first bite. The cheesy flavorful bread plays its role well as a backdrop to the in season, heirloom tomato that is bursting with farm freshness. And no wonder this salad is so popular. Mixed greens are topped with fresh sweet strawberries, mellow Mandarin oranges, tangy blue cheese, and sugared almonds. I top it with a delicious Dijon vinaigrette, making this salad a synthesis of sweet and tart. Both the burger and the tomato tart are highly recommended! Bring your mate and plan Friday lunch at Ashley Mac’s.



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