Reviews › Fine Dining

Le Patio 
Lunch with my sons on Chez Fonfon’s patio is delicious and delightful. 
By Jan Walsh 

Today we “travel” to the South of France for lunch, at Chez Fonfon’s patio. This oasis of blooming hydrangeas and lush layers of green, surrounding the bubbling water fountain, soothes the eye and the soul. “The Boys” are home for Mother’s Day week, and we are the first ones on the patio. I am seated across from them so that I can see both in one view. Neither have been on the patio before and they are captivated. 

The Grand Buffet
Easter Brunch at Grand Bohemian is a feast for the eyes and all appetites. 
By Jan Walsh 

I am not easily impressed. Yet The Grand Buffet at Habitat Feed and Social is the best I have ever experienced. Fine cruise lines are the closest, comparable buffets. On this Easter Sunday, we are seated at the table of our preference on the patio, which is also reminiscent of the deck of a luxury cruise ship. It is 75 degrees with a light breeze. Everyone is wearing sunglasses, and ladies are in sundresses. And over and above the rails are views of Mountain Brook’s Lane Parke rooftops.  

Bay Leaf Buffet
Never had Indian food? This buffet is for you. 
By Jan Walsh 

Bay Leaf Modern Indian Cuisine and Bar's buffet is back! The self-serve, open buffet offers everything from salad to desserts, and many dishes in between from mild to spicy. The buffet is served from 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and available for dine in or takeout, for only $15 per person. Regulars line up for Bay Leaf’s buffet. But I find it is also a great opportunity for those who have never tried Indian cuisine or who want to try more Indian dishes without committing to a full plate of a single dish. Kev prefers mild. I want the heat. So, it is also perfect for us. 

Bistro Valentine 
Everybody loves Bistro V!  
By Jan Walsh 

Bistro V is packed as we enter for our 5:00 p.m. Valentine’s reservation. Not a table open other than ours. Ahh, with 300+ requesting reservations, they opened early. although none of us knew what would be on the menu, we regulars knew it would be special. Locally owned by Executive Chef, Jeremy Downey and Pastry Chef, Emily Tuttle Shell. And their Valentine menus is not price fixe but expanded with many special offerings. 

French Fortress
From hot soup to warm dessert, Chez Fonfon wards off winter. 
By Jan Walsh  

Dashing up the sidewalk towards Chez Fonfon, a cold blast whips our umbrella. From the antique globes within, the arched frosted windows illuminate a welcoming glow. And as we arrive at 11:00 a.m. sharp, the doors open to toasty temps and friendly smiles inside, including from its owners Chef Frank and Pardis Stitt.

Food for Thought 
Dyron’s executive chef, Chris Melville weeds out all seed oils.
By Jan Walsh 

Since 2009 Dyron’s Lowcountry Restaurant has shared restaurateurs Dyron and Sonya Powell’s love of Lowcountry cuisine. Their focus has always been on fresh, local and regional food made with whole ingredients. And Executive Chef, Chris Melville just stirred and sweetened the pot. 

Nuts for Butternuts 
Autumn brings a bounty of butternut squash to Bottega Café. 
By Jan Walsh 

I love everything about butternut. It is the color of fall boasting sweet, butterscotch, nutty flavors.  Plus, butternut squash is touted by health experts as a cold weather superfood, rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber… Even the name sounds good, butter + nut! 

Paired Dinner 
Abhi’s cocktails and sakes enhance with his Asian fusion fare. 
By Jan Walsh 

Food and beverage pairings can be complex. So many flavors and so many rules! Considering similar weights, flavors, and intensity is not that easy. Then add acidity, tannins, plus sauces. Simplify by pairing beverages from the same region as the food. Sancerre with French food, Cianti with Italian, etc. Or better yet leaving the pairings to the pros. Here at Abhi Eatery and Bar, we are in good hands with Bartender Mona’s handcrafted cocktail list. We have her pair our dinner with drinks. 

Heart and Soul
Dean Robb is happily in the house at Blueprint on 3rd. 
By Jan Walsh 

I have never been to Blueprint on 3rd when restaurateur, Dean Robb was not here. Tonight, he is behind the bar, serving tables, visiting with guests, and simply enjoying the heck out of himself. Five years ago, Dean and his family opened Blueprint on 3rd. Kev and I were guests for the family and friends’ night and attended opening night. And at the time I wrote that I had never seen an opening as smooth. Blueprint ran like a well-oiled machine from the start. But there is nothing mechanical about this place. It started and succeeded from the heart and soul of Dean. His big, generous smile makes all feel welcome. His blue eyes see every table, at once. His generous hands are often full as he helps staff serve guests. And his personality plus is the cherry on top! 

Monday Merriment 
Case of the Mondays? Vino has the cure. 
By Jan Walsh 

I always have a case of the Mondays. Even as a young child, heading back to the classroom, after a weekend of free play with my friends and dogs, made me sad. Nowadays I “work” most weekends (dining out, reviewing restaurants). And this lends itself to working as little as possible on Monday. 

Captivating Cuisine 
Bay Leaf’s intriguing Indian fare and cocktails spice up our lives. 
By Jan Walsh 

Today Kev and I lunch at Bay Leaf Modern Indian Cuisine and Bar. In the heart of 5 Points South, Bay Leaf is located at 1024 20th Street South, Suite 101. Its colorful big neon sign proudly welcomes us inside where we are warmly greeted and seated in a large and lovely window banquet, by General Manager, Pintu Sarmah. 

Colossal Crustacean Catch

Lobster and Shrimp BLT at Chez Fonfon just got bigger!
By Jan Walsh 

Every summer one of our favorite lunches is the Lobster and Shrimp BLT at Chez Fonfon. Yet this summer, Chef Frank Stitt and team offer their biggest catch ever, with more pink protein and less bread.

Sweet Home, Bottega

We have yet another reason to pop into Bottega Café. 

By Jan Walsh 

Today at Bottega, we are welcomed by two old friends. This vintage pair of concrete pillars are new to Bottega’s courtyard. But they are old friends to us. Just as they proudly flank the courtyard here, they formerly escorted guests into our dining room, for two decades. Recently, as we began to downsize our oversized antique collection, my friend, Bottega’s artistically gifted, Chad Miller adopted them for the restaurant’s courtyard. And his artichokes atop are the classic, finishing touch, and spot on. What a talent!  

Po Boys, 5 Ways 
Bistro V serves the best Bayou La Batre Po Boys! 
By Jan Walsh 

Bistro V is one of my favorite restaurants. From Chef Jeremy Downey’s seafood to his restaurant partner, Emily Tuttle Shell’s desserts, everything here is excellent. When dining in for lunch, I typically order the fish of the day or the Farmer’s Market Salad. But for curbside takeout I often opt for the po boys, from this chef, native of Bayou La Batre. 

Spicy and Sweet 
For our anniversary, our palates agree: Dyron’s Lowcountry. 
By Jan Walsh 

At Dyron’s Lowcountry there really is something for everyone. From Dyron’s famous fried chicken to Oysters Rockefeller, their dinner menu pleases all palates and cravings. I prefer spicy, seafood, and haute cuisine.  Kev prefers sweet, meat, and potatoes. But we both find much to love at Dyron’s. 

Bar Hop
Before dinner drinks at 5 Point, dinner at Ocean’s Bar
By Jan Walsh 

Back in the pre-Uber days, designated drivers or cab were necessary to bar hop. What fun to pop in and out, having one course at each restaurant bar, starting with apps and ending with dessert. My preference remains dining at the bar of restaurants, to a table. But these days, rather than hopping from place to place, I make reservations at one spot and stay put for the evening. In fact, I loiter there. 

Trusted Taste 

Let’s gather around the table, again, at Bistro V.  
By Jan Walsh 

Bistro V is one of our favorite restaurants. Chef Jeremy Downey and partner, Emily Tuttle Shell keep the stove hot and the doors open Tuesday through Saturday for both lunch and dinner. And when it opens at 11:00, there are always people lined up. Today, as the clock ticks towards opening time, a large, family reunion begins outside in the parking lot, a proud graduate and her family taking photos in front of the restaurant, and two couples meet for lunch. These people trust they will make sweet memories here because they know Bistro V’s kitchen is a lot like their grandmother’s. The veggies were not picked far from the table. The seafood is Gulf. And all products are a curation of the best, in season. Tried and true, time after time. 

My Friend, Fonfon
Chez Fonfon is like a good friend, who always cheers me up. 
By Jan Walsh 

Chez Fonfon makes good times better, and makes bad times briefly fade away. 
Whether I come to celebrate my birthday or to share a final meal with a dying friend, which I have done here twice, Fonfon is always here for me. 

Inside or Out 
The umbrellas are open at Bottega Café!
By Jan Walsh 

Today we are first in line for lunch at Bottega Café. We look over the menu outside the towering, black iron gates, which open precisely at 11:00. The patio is dotted with black and white stripped umbrellas inviting us to sit underneath here at Birmingham’s most famous patio. Yet inside our window table is also in view, waiting patiently. We opt for our table. From our table it is a delightful scene to watch as most of those behind us quickly fill the patio for an al fresco lunch.

Aging Well

A Husband’s Birthday and a 40 Year Port, at Blueprint on 3rd

By Jan Walsh 

Kev chose Blueprint on 3rd for his birthday dinner. We arrive early, valet the car, and enjoy a glass of wine at Blueprint’s Bar before dinner. Here we catch up with restaurateurs, Dean and Brandon Robb at this family-owned, local restaurant. Dean shares his excitement about the restaurant’s upcoming 5th Anniversary this year. Wow! Seems like yesterday, we were sitting at the front round table for the opening dinner. The restaurant has also aged well, over these five years, as one of Birmingham’s best, although we knew it from the start. 

El Banquete 
First brunch of 2023 is el banquete served at Sol Y Luna’s banquette.  
By Jan Walsh 

No boring brunch here! Saturday brunch at Sol Y Luna is like none other. The fried eggs come with Huevos Rancheros, and if you are looking for French toast, order Torrejas. There is so much more to explore… 

Coastal Roots 
Dyron’s Lowcountry is tried and true, yet Chef Brantley always has something new. 
By Jan Walsh 

Dyron’s has been one of my favorite restaurants since it opened in 2009 in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village. There is really nothing else like it. Here, owners, Dyron Powell and wife, Sonya, hit the spot with their niche of South Carolina and Georgia’s Lowcountry cuisine. Southern coastal estuary shrimp, fish, crab, and oysters are abundant here, as are local fruits, veggies, grits, and grains. Dyron’s is also famous for their seafood gumbo, fried chicken, fried crab claws, and “Old Mobile Style” West Indies Crab Salad, not to mention the Beignets and Buttermilk Biscuits. 

Soup, Seriously
One Chez Fonfon’s soup du jour leads to another…
By Jan Walsh 

Not many restaurants take soup seriously. If on the menu at all, most places only offer the one they have mastered, no matter the season. Not Chez Fonfon. There is always a soup du jour on the menu, waiting for you. Be it thin or thick, cold or intercontinental, it will be the highlight of your day. 

Chef Driven
Bellini’s Ristorante’s Chef Andrew Hatcher’s fab fare is scratch made. 

By Jan Walsh 
Executive Chef, Andrew Hatcher’s earliest memories of food are of his great grandmother’s chicken and dumplings. And no matter how gourmet he gets, you will still find comfort in his 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! 

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.  


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. 

In Full Bloom 
Lunch at The Gardens Café features our favorites and in season fare. 
By Jan Walsh 

So much more than a bridal and garden club destination, lunch at The Gardens Cafe, by Kathy G. is always pristine, plentiful, and pleases all. 

World's Best Eats 
Best seats for The World Games are at our restaurants. 
By Jan Walsh 

Birmingham Restaurants welcomes visitors to The World Games 2022. Get a taste of the best restaurants in the Birmingham metro area. No matter which venue you attend, we have restaurants nearby. And we have destination restaurants, which lure many out of towners, who come to Birmingham just to dine. 


First String 
Bistro V holds the line on excellence, from lunch through dinner. 
By Jan Walsh 

Bistro V partners are divided only when it comes to football. Executive Chef, Jeremy Downey played on the University of Alabama’s 1992 National Championship Football Team¾and wears his national championship ring in the kitchen with pride. Partner, Emily Tuttle-Shell, who runs just about everything but the kitchen, is an Auburn alumnus. But Bistro V is their gridiron where they team together in pursuit of excellence. 

Mom’s Day Eve
I treat my guys to Bottega Café for Saturday lunch.
By Jan Walsh

I am blessed to have both sons home for Mother’s Day week. Jordan brought Gulf seafood up from Gulf Breeze to cook for us on Mother’s Day. And I take my guys to lunch on Saturday at Bottega Café. And joining us is Ross’ childhood friend Banks Nelson, who is like family too. I had told them all we must be there before 11:00 a.m. because Bottega Café is not taking reservations any longer. So, we arrive 15 minutes before the doors open, and there is already a short line at the gate, which quickly grows down the sidewalk by 11:00. Fortunately, being near the front of the line pays off as we are seated at the round window table, which can accommodate five or six people. And within ten minutes, just as I predicted, the entire restaurant, bar, and patio are packed.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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…

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!

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.

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.  

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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… 

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

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. 

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.


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? 

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 

Plans 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!

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Endless Effervescence

Galley and Garden’s Sunday brunch now boasts free flowing bubbly.

By Jan Walsh

New at Galley and Garden: pair the purchase of a Sunday brunch entrée with free-flowing mimosas and sparkling wine for $10 per person. Today Kev and I get an early start with 10:30 a.m. brunch reservations at Galley and Garden. I order sparkling wine. He orders mimosas…. And throughout brunch the refills arrive in fresh, appropriate Champagne stemware with thin rims. Am I dreaming?



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.

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. 


Cider, Coconut, and Curry

Discovering new dishes at Abhi Eatery and Bar

By Jan WalshSometimes I get into culinary ruts. I find delicious dishes at a restaurant, and on the next visit, I stick with the tried and true. But today I am not going to order my “go to” favorites at Abhi—well, maybe just the momos. Otherwise I am discovering new options.





dyron's oysters

Captain’s Catch 

Enjoy fresh seafood from Gulf Coast fishermen at Dyron’s Lowcountry.  

By Jan Walsh 

I went fishing once, when I was four-years-old. On my first cast, the line got caught in a tree. I fretted that the worm was afraid of heights. That was my last attempt at catching a fish. 

blueprint on 3rd wine dinner Inaugural Wine Dinner


Blueprint on 3rd’s first wine dinner benefits TumTum Tree Foundation.


By Jan Walsh


This weekend is TumTum Tree Foundation’s Wine Auction Weekend 2018. The Foundation enriches the lives of Alabama’s children who face life-altering and life-threatening illnesses. Over 29 years, TumTum Tree Foundation has donated over $11 million to Alabama children’s charities. And the TumTum Tree Wine Auction is the longest-running charity wine auction in the United States devoted to raising money for children’s charities.

galley and garden salmon burgerFoodie Burgers 

Galley and Garden’s lunch burgers please beef and seafood lovers. 

By Jan Walsh 

Today I am lunching with my dear friend, Laura Calloway to celebrate her upcoming retirement from the Alabama State Bar. And we ladies have saved our appetites for this—and not here to order dainty salads. 

the gardens cafe les dames eventA Feminine Affair  

The Gardens Café host private event for Les Dames d’Escoffier. 

By Jan Walsh 

Les Dames d’Escoffier, Birmingham Chapter welcomed new members this week at The Gardens Café by Kathy G. Located at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the cafe was the perfect place to have this annual event. 

bluepint on 3rd scallops daily special Scallops Special

I shall never forget the scallops at Blueprint on 3rd.

By Jan Walsh

Kev and I are back at Blueprint on 3rd for the second time. In the meantime, we have raved to friends and family, word of mouth in person about this place, and I have on social media since our first visit.

chocolate taco magic city chocolate challengeChocolate Taco 

And the winner of the Magic City Chocolate Challenge… 

By Jan Walsh 

It was my pleasure to judge the 4th Annual Magic City Chocolate Challenge last night. The event was held at Regions Field in the Diamonds Direct Ballroom and benefits Disabilities Rights and Resources, Here local chocolatiers and pastry chefs competed as we tasted and judged which dish would be named Birmingham’s Best Chocolate. The event also included live music, a silent auction, free non-alcoholic beverages, and a cash bar.


It was my pleasure to judge the 4th Annual Magic City Chocolate Challenge last night. The event was held at Regions Field in the Diamonds Direct Ballroom and benefits Disabilities Rights and Resources, Here local chocolatiers and pastry chefs competed as we tasted and judged which dish would be named Birmingham’s Best Chocolate. The event also included live music, a silent auction, free non-alcoholic beverages, and a cash bar. 


The Turf

Chef Randall Baldwin cooks a mean steak at Dyron’s Lowcountry.

By Jan Walsh

Tonight, we celebrate Jordan’s birthday with a family dinner at his choice of restaurant—Dyron’s Lowcountry. And we have a feast of fish and seafood: crab salad, trigger fish with shrimp, red snapper with crawfish, and fried flounder. But when Kev saw Randall’s ribeye on the menu. He could not order anything else. We had this dish for New Year’s Eve one time, and it was one of those memorable meals that you always hope to relive. And tonight, he did.



abhi deep fried momsMoMo Madness 

Abhi has an expanded menu with six momo dishes, including fried! 

By Jan Walsh 

Years ago, I fell in love with Chef, Abhi Sainju’s momos on first bite. His house-made Nepalese, turkey dumplings are simply and consistently divine. Today he serves them at both of his restaurants: Mo:Mo: at The Pizitz and at his Abhi Eatery and Bar, located at The Summit.  


lobster roll at Bistro VOn A Roll

Another lobster “Food Find,” Bistro V’s new Lobster Roll! 

By Jan Walsh 

I have been craving lobster lately. I do love it anytime. But this time of the year, when winter is waning, and hints of spring are wooing, my palate is ready for lighter fare. And just in time, Bistro V rolls out their new Lobster Roll. We have ordered it twice already for takeout—carried out well—and look forward to having it in house as well. 



abhi seared tunaAbhi Sainju dreams of Kathmandu at Abhi Eatery and Bar.


By Jan Walsh


Photography by Beau Gustafson


Abhi Eatery and Bar’s owner and chef, Abhi Sainju fulfills his dream of opening his own restaurant and shares his passion for Asian cuisine in every dish.


bellini's cheesecakeBellini’s divine dinner offerings include popular chef features.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Bellini’s Ristorante has satisfied foodie appetites in Hoover since 2008. Located at 6801 Cahaba Valley Road off Highway 280, Bellini’s is open for lunch and dinner on Monday through Saturday.
dyrons winter mix grillPair Dyron’s Winter Mix Grill with Satsuma Old Fashioned.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Ward Halliday is a new face at Dyron’s Lowcountry, as bartender and front of the house manager. But he is a familiar face to many from his nights behind the bar at all of Frank Stitt’s restaurants.
vino crab claws Linger over a Mediterranean dinner on Vino’s pristine patio.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography Beau Gustafson

Birmingham boasts some lovely restaurant patios. But none are quite like Vino’s.  This open air space has no hedges, fences, or walls. It is a white scape of space with white pebbles underfoot and small white lights in the tree branches above its candlelit tables. Tonight Kevin and I are meeting friends for dinner with no plans to do a review. But after dinner I knew that this special dining experience had to be shared.
Bottega Cafe late night pizza Two of Frank Stitt’s restaurants now offer late night specials.

By Jan Walsh

Both Bottega Café and Chez Fonfon now have late night specials from 9:00 until 10:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays. And we recently caught both of them on two separate weekends.
Chez Fonfon lamb daubeChez Fonfon calls me for lunch, dinner and late night. 

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Chez Fonfon is more than a bustling, French bistro to me. Having a love affair with all things French, it is my familiar way of escaping to the country that I most love to visit without ever leaving town. Chez Fonfon’s French Provencal food, French wines, and French ambience embrace me, and I them. 
Bistro V has a swank new bar and specialty cocktails.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Where better to celebrate Valentine's Day than in a brand new bar?

Jeremy Downey recently expanded Bistro V with a new bar. The bar space doubled the size of this chef driven restaurant with both bar seating and table seating. This stylish bar space has bamboo flooring and ceiling, comfy love seats, leather chairs, soft Edison lighting and tables of rough hewn wood.
Dyron’s fried oysters and crab claws make perfect appetizers.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

The fried crab claws at Dyron’s are an addiction of mine. I attempt to order them even when they are not listed on the menu. And so far I have always succeeded in having them fry up an order as requested. Accommodating such requests is fitting of the low-key attitude that Dyron and Sonya Powell have achieved at Dyron’s Lowcountry.
I ate every dessert on Bellini’s menu.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Bellini’s has a talented, new pastry chef, Amber Croom. She has a new dessert menu. And today I met her and tasted them ALL during lunch: Affogato, Bananas Foster, Bread Pudding, Gelato Flight, Key Lime Panna Cotta, Malt Chocolate Cake with Adult Milkshake, Red Velvet Cheesecake, and Tiramisu.
Local and regional foods shine in Dyron’s cuisine.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Dyron’s Lowcountry you can’t miss the chalkboard that is front and center. It boasts the local food purveyors with their products served on the menu. This tribute provides both well-deserved recognition and speaks to the authenticity of Dyron’s lowcountry cuisine.
Chez Fonfon’s simple grilled fish is simply delicious.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

When lunching at Chez Fonfon, I arrive early. Today I open the place at 11:00 a.m. because I know that by 11:30 there is typically not a table left. And by noon the bar will likely also be full.

Bottega Cafe is an institution among locals.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Frank and Pardis Stitt’s Bottega Cafe is one of my favorites for lunch, cocktails and dinner. And I am in good company. Local “movers and shakers” are among the cafe’s steady clientele.

Chez Fonfon's Chocolate Pot De Creme is a pure pleasure.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

I have never had much of a sweet tooth. I can easily say, "No" to most desserts. But at Chez Fonfon the first thing I see each time I enter the door is dessert. Fresh baked tarts, a towering cake and other specialties of the day line the antique, wooden server and the small, white marble-topped table beside it.

Chez Fonfon is classically French and absolutely excellent.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Excellence is easy to observe and difficult to replicate. Frank and Pardis Stitt replicate excellence without replicating restaurants. Each of their eateries (Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fonfon) has its own identity, style, cuisine, and standard of excellence. With each dining experience comes a renewed respect for the Stitts. Being a bit of a Francophile, Chez Fonfon satisfies my appetite for French bistro fare and French wine.