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Supporting Birmingham Restaurants’ Servers, During Shutdown

By Jan Walsh

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

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 restauranteur and chef, Frank Stitt has temporarily closed his four restaurants: Highland’s Bar and Grill, Chez Fonfon, Bottega Restaurant, and Bottega Cafe until April 1.

I encourage all Birmingham foodies to unite at this time, and order take out, and purchase restaurant gift certificates for family, friends, and even yourself. This too shall pass… And when it does, wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate with your gift card at your favorite restaurant?

I put this idea on social media, and people quickly began liking, sharing, and (hopefully) buying gift cards. But what about the wait staff? I was immediately reminded by a fine dining server on my post that they live off our tips and have been laid off during this time. “How will I live…?” he asked me. Some of us “will go broke” in a week and “industry will not come back,” he said. Recognizing this dire situation, restauranteur and chef, George Reis answered this call and is giving a portion of all gift certificates purchased (through their website) to provide financial support for his employees. But the restaurants will not be able to fully support these servers with closed dining rooms.

These are the men and women who greet you with a smile, make sure your glass is never empty, check to see if your steak was cooked to order… They would not ask for help if they did not need it.

Thus, I have started a Go Fund Me for the servers of’s Member Restaurants for the week of the shut down and will expand it longer if the Health Department were to extend the shutdown. Please join me in donating what you would have tipped in these restaurants during this week or more if you are able.

Please choose your favorite(s) indicate which restaurant or restaurants’ staff you would like for your funds to help of our member restaurants.

Donate at Time Out Tipping on Go Fund Me.

As the situation evolves, we will be updating you with more info and more ideas of how we can all help our local restaurants and staffs. In the meantime, please come together and donate and help the people who make us a “Food City” survive and thrive again.


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