Reviews

Wide Open 

OvenBird reopens patio, indoor dining spaces, and in between. 

By Jan Walsh 

Tonight, our corner table awaits at OvenBird. Better than a window table, this table has double doors that open onto its own corner nook of the patio.

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… 

Beta Brunch 

Beautiful new brunch at Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brassiere!

By Jan Walsh 

Today J.P. Holland whips up brunch for his friends. Kev and I are honored to be invited and among the first to taste the new brunch menu at Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brassiere. The weekend brunch officially opens to the public September 12, and will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
 

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.

 

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. 

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? 

Vino and Gallery Bar open patio for dinner. And we are there. 

By Jan Walsh 

Oh, how I have missed this place and these people! Vino and Gallery Bar is a happy place. Every memory I have here is a good one. And I have many. Inside and out it is pristine. And the food is incredible and healthy. 

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!

Two Ways, Two Curbs

It’s Back! Hot and Hot’s Famous Tomato Salad

By Jan Walsh

Hot and Hot Fish Club’s famous Tomato Salad and Tomato Salad with Alabama Royal Red Gulf Shrimp are back! Hot and Hot began curb service of the salads on Friday evening and sold approximately 150! Chef Chris Hastings’ tomato salads are available Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, Saturday for market hours brunch/lunch, and as a part of the special Mother’s Day Menu at OvenBird.

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. 

Birthday Dinner

Kev’s birthday wish? Dinner at GianMarco’s.

By Jan Walsh

Memories are precious. Four years ago, we enjoyed a big birthday that celebrated seven decades of Kev’s life here at GianMarco’s. It was in their private dining room, filled with family and friends who surprised him with their presence, not presents. They are all gifts in his life, including those who have passed since.

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. 

After Hours

Forgo the business lunch. Meet up for drinks and apps at Galley Bar instead.

By Jan Walsh

Recently a business lunch meeting got rescheduled twice, before we decided to forgo lunch. We are both just too busy. So, we met instead for Galley Bar 1930 drinks and Vino apps instead. The Galley Bar side of Vino opens at 4:30 p.m. So, it is a perfect spot to meet after work, especially if you can pop out of work a bit early.

 

 

 

fig's jp hollandBuried Treasure 

Chef J.P Holland wows foodies with his earth oven dinner.

By Jan Walsh 

Ross and I were guests of Fig for their Hardcore Foodie Dinner. Upon arrival Chef, J.P. Holland is stoking the coals and unearthing a variety of charred proteins and veggies: lamb, snapper, pumpkins filled with shrimp, and squashes. 


 


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.

the fig tree cafe's tomato saladGarden to Table 

The Fig is all about the fabulous food. 

By Jan Walsh 

Chef J.P. Holland makes a job of sourcing his food. From where it comes, how it is raised, and the care and expertise of its preparation, Chef is very involved in the breeding and genetics of the pork and beef served. His seafood comes from Greg Abrams. Local farmers bring their products to the table. And, in Fig’s own garden, he plants, grows, and harvests mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and wax beans. 

On Tap Liberty Park Bar Neighborhood Gathering 

On Tap Sports Café is overnight success at Liberty Park.  

By Jan Walsh 

Our son, Jordan is home this week and anxious to try our new On Tap. When he was in college and law school in Birmingham, one of his favorite spots was the On Tap Sports Café at Lakeview. He has fond memories of wings, burgers, and beer with his fellow students. On Tap Liberty Park is located just across the street from the Founder’s Gate at 11967 Liberty Parkway.

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.

 

 

 

 

iron city grill bbq tacosTuning Fork 

Iron City Grill tunes up with new menu and exec chef.

By Jan Walsh 

Ian Barker is the new executive chef of the restaurant, Iron City Grill. 

 

 

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. 

slice kale harvest salad Harvest Kale Salad 

Slice rolls out new fall salad along with new restaurant. 

By Jan Walsh 

I have been a regular at Slice Pizza and Brew since it opened in Lakeview. And now I have a new Slice, closer to home, located in Vestavia Hills. 


 

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. 

marre and allen shrimp and grits Magic Grits

The Gulf Shrimp and Grits at Marre and Allen are phenomenal.

By Jan Walsh 

I am not easy to please when it comes to grits. Like Mr. Tipton in the movie, My Cousin Vinny, I believe, “No self-respecting southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.”
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, drradvocates.org. 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.  

 

pizzeria gm Respinto family opens second Homewood restaurant, Pizzeria GM. 

By Jan Walsh 

Giani, Marco, and their father, Giovanni Respinto are opening their second Homewood restaurant. Pizzeria GM is located at 600 Oak Grove Road. The family is building on its success as it also owns and operates GianMarco’s Restaurant and GianMarco’s Wine on Broadway. 

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. 

 

50 Favorites

More than 600 dishes in 12 delicious Years!

By Jan Walsh, Photography by Beau Gustafson and Jan Walsh 

It is difficult to believe that this is the 12th year I have shared my 50 favorite dishes in Birmingham. Back when print was king in November 2006, I published the first list “50 Great Food Finds” as a cover story in a local magazine. The following March I launched Birmingham Restaurants website, which began publishing “50 Favorites” as annual awards. And 600 delectable dishes later, here we are! 

Seasons 52 eggs benedictSeasons 52 debuts Sunday brunch featuring pasture raised eggs. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill has been a favorite of mine since they opened at The Summit. As an organic food activist, I find them to be a leader in offering organic menu options, including organic cocktails. Understanding, finding, and sourcing organic and Non-GMO food for all its locations cannot be easy. Yet they deliciously met the challenge and now have added a Sunday brunch featuring pasture raised eggs to their menu offerings.

OvenBird fried chickenOrder OvenBird’s popular fried chicken before its gone.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

OvenBird now offers Fried Chicken for dinner Monday through Saturday. This Chris Hastings’ dish was originally offered only one night each week. But due to its deliciousness, and thus its popularity, it quickly became a menu item.

bamboo on 2nd sakeBamboo On 2nd pours sparkling, rosé, and sake cocktails. 

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson 


I want to learn more about sake. And I believe in learning by doing. So tonight Bamboo On 2nd’s Bernie Smith meets me, to taste through a rosé sake, a sparkling sake, and a sake cocktail. He also introduces me to a Japanese whiskey. And we start the Bamboo beverage tasting with a wine that I need no introduction to, Champagne. 

 

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.
gallery bar drinksGallery Bar 1930 is upscale by design.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Gallery Bar 1930 recently opened in Gallery 1930 art studio in Mountain Brook’s English Village, along side its sister restaurant, Vino.

Restaurateur, Al Rabiee and son Matthew, Bar Manager of Vino and Gallery Bar 1930 greet us at the front door. Inside original art adorns the walls, not televisions. Nor will you find beers on tap, or folks hoping to hook up at this bar. Gallery Bar 1930 is an upscale cocktail and oyster bar, for sophisticated palates with proper manners. Entering the front doors the bar is to the right and a lounge area is to the left. Designed by Richard Tubb, the space opens to Vino's famous patio with sliding doors in the lounge area. Tubb also designed the wicker furnishings that are manufactured in Mobile, Alabama, which further the indoor-outdoor ambiance. And the back area of the venue can be roped off for private events. The space can seat 60 people for a seated dinner.
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.

seasons 52 lobster ravioliPair New Old Fashioned with Lobster Ravioli at Seasons 52.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson 

I always look forward to getting a taste of Seasons 52 Fresh Grill’s new menus. They change with each season. And on the Winter 2015 menu I found a divine new pairing, which comforts and warms this rainy day—New Old Fashioned and Lobster Stuffed Black and White Ravioli. Both the cocktail and the ravioli are highly recommended separately. And together, their flavor profiles are quite the match, as Managing Partner Michael Gambino suggested they would be.

ovenbird chicken Chris Hastings is the keeper of a new flame at OvenBird.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Chris and Idie Hastings open their second restaurant, OvenBird at 2810 3rd Avenue South, at Pepper Place. Ovenbird is a refined yet rustic restaurant that offers a well conceived and beautifully executed indoor–outdoor dining experience of small plate fare cooked over a live coal fire. It is named for rfuous hornero, “red ovenbird,” a South American bird that builds its oven-shaped nest with a side entrance shaped like an “O.” Coincidentally, OvenBird has another namesake in a poem by Robert Frost, “Oven Bird.” And the poem’s passing of time theme also befits the restaurant. Ovenbird has been in development for two years. Twenty years have passed since the Hastings opened their first restaurant, Hot and Hot Fish Club. And a live fire restaurant has been Hastings’ dream since he was a boy, cooking over campfires.
bamboo on 2nd sashimiDecades of experience poised Bamboo on 2nd for overnight success.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Bamboo on 2nd is a new, wildly popular Asian fusion and sushi restaurant located at 2212 2nd Avenue North. Given bamboos are among the world’s fastest growing plants, the restaurant is aptly named. Bamboo on 2nd opened in July, and immediately grew to maximum capacity nightly. Seating 70, with no reservations taken, the restaurant is almost full when we arrive at 5:30 p.m. on a weeknight. So it is advised to arrive early or expect to wait, and they cannot accommodate large groups.

5 point public house oyster bar oysters George Reis opens 5 Point Public House and Oyster Bar.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

5 Point Public House Oyster Bar is a casual, beer centric, chef driven menu, oyster house. It boasts a raw bar of fresh, Gulf Coast and Chesapeake Bay area oysters alongside local pub fare and a wide selection of craft beers, including local brews and keg-style wines on tap.


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.
flip burger smoking cocktails Flip Burger’s drinks are white hot delicious.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I can’t eat at Flip Burger without ordering a cocktail—or two. And today we are here to do a cocktail review. So who’s counting?
seasons 52 ahi tuna tartarePair Ahi Tuna Tartare with Gewurztraminer at Seasons 52.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson 

We frequent Seasons 52 Fresh Grill for lunch and often make a meal of shared flatbreads and appetizers with cocktails and wine. Located at The Summit Lifestyle Center, Seasons 52 changes their menu weekly to keep up with the seasons. Options include organic foods and cocktails as well as gluten free, vegan and vegetarian menus. And nothing on their menu is more than 475 calories.
JT's lounge cocktails Handcrafted cocktails at JT’s Lounge include local ingredients.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I love classic hotel bars. They provide travelers a convenient spot to recover from the trip and catch up over drinks and nibbles and a convenient place to “get away” for locals.
vino wild salmon daily specialVino’s Wild Salmon Farfella is healthy and flavorful.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Vino is one of my favorite restaurants. It is also a neighborhood favorite in Mountain Brook’s English Village. But this well kept, tasty secret is getting out and bringing more and more patrons from outside the neighborhood.
wine loft birmingham lebanese wineUncork an organic wine with a heroic history. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson 


Tonight at the Wine Loft, Certified Sommelier, Stella Nystrom shares a beautiful Chateaux Musar Jeune Rough 2011—and its amazing history.
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.
Seasons 52 Birmingham organic cocktails Chill with Seasons 52 organic, summer spirits.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Seasons 52’s summer cocktails boast organic vodka and summer fruit and vegetables.  

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill—located at The Summit—is known for its wine bar and an award winning wine list. But don’t overlook their seasonal cocktails. Today we take a mid afternoon break away from the summer sun in their cool, dimly lit bar and look over the cocktails and seasonal cocktails menus. And we select the Cucumber Basil Smash and Strawberry Basil Infusion. Both include Prairie Organic Vodkas.
Iron City Grill fried green tomatoesIron City Grill mixes music with local food products.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Iron City Birmingham will entertain you and sustain you. It boasts a large entertainment venue, bars, and a full service grill. There are two entrances. The main entertainment entrance is 513 22nd Street South—landmarked by its massive marquee. And the entrance to the Grill is located at 2208 6th Avenue South. Iron City Grill serves lunch and dinner Mondays through Fridays, dinner on Saturdays, and is open only on concert Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Iron City Grill also has live music on Thursday through Saturday evenings and on Friday during lunch.  
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.
Pair Zin with Steak Au Poivre at Village Tavern.

 
By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Tender steak, creamy potatoes and a big, red wine make a classic meal. At Village Tavern, this classic is fulfilled in a pairing of Steak Au Poivre and St. Francis Zinfandel, 2009.
Savor fresh fare in a swank ambiance at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Seasons 52 Fresh Grill recently opened to a packed house at 245 Summit Boulevard at The Summit. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, boasting live music nightly and a wine bar. The menu is seasonal and weekly, with 52 menus of chef’s dinner specials, thus the name “Seasons 52.” All dishes are planned for calorie count—with nothing on our menu more than 475 calories.
Discover awesome new pours at The Wine Loft.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mike Dunnavant keeps the wine and his passion for it flowing at The Wine Loft. Every time I stop in, he has new and interesting wines on his glass list. And tonight is no exception. Seated on the leather sofa in the private tasting room, we have a nice view of the red wine cellar. This room can be reserved and is no extra charge.
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.
Vino is an intimate and artistic spot for a Mediterranean dinner and wine.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Vino is an intimate dining spot, which celebrates its first anniversary this month. This dinner restaurant boasts a global wine list and handcrafted cocktails paired with fresh and healthy Mediterranean fare.

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.

My favorite beef tenderloin tacos just got bigger! 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

A longtime favorite dish is the Soft Tenderloin Tacos at Village Tavern. Tender bite sized tips of beef tenderloin overfill three warm flour tortillas—in this dish found on the appetizer menu. The tacos also include shredded lettuce, a luscious lime crema, hot salsa and fresh guacamole. Bowls of the creama and salsa are served on the side for those who want to add more. In addition to the beef tenderloin taco, options of fresh fish and chicken soft tacos are also available.

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.

Village Tavern's Birmingham location is home to the company's corporate executive chef.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mary Grace Viado is the corporate executive chef for the eight Village Taverns across the United States. As corporate executive chef for the company, it is Viado's job to create and execute recipes.