Category Archives: food

Is the sixth time the charm for Highlands?

Frank StittThe finalists for this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards were announced this morning in Chicago, IL and posted to the organization’s website. Among the nominees for outstanding restaurant is Birmingham’s Highlands Bar and Grill. It is the sixth year in a row it has been a finalist for the prestigious award.

Business Insider posted about the announcement yesterday on their own website (it was syndicated on several others) and were apparently not aware of the restaurant’s current streak, writing it was a “somewhat surprisingly” inclusion. It is co-owned by 2001 winner of the James Beard award for Best Chef – Southeast, and 2011 Who’s Who of Food & Beverage inductee Frank Stitt. The restaurateur, based on this piece shared today, is treating the nomination as old-hat.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony in early May in New York City.

Time to vote Birmingham America’s Favorite Food City

fwcoverFood & Wine Magazine announced late last month that it would be inviting the public to vote in its first-ever America’s Favorite Food Cities survey. The Magic City is competing against 39 other worthy contenders and the winners will be unveiled in the publication’s September 2014 issue. If you think Birmingham, AL has the “most family-friendly,” “most pompous foodies” or “best-looking bartenders,” you need to head over to the magazine’s website and cast your vote.

We have until April 30 to cast our votes, but why wait? It’s only 25 questions and they let you re-take it if you’re not happy with your answers (or if you want to get in one more virtual ballot). One thing to consider though, as eloquently pointed out on the website for Louisville’s edition of Food and Dining magazine earlier this month, participants realize it’s not just another popularity contest but a chance to respond honestly about the cities from which the magazine’s editors want us to pick.

Freshfully shares the wealth with area schools

Freshfully the day before the grand opening 2012Freshfully never loses; it’s pretty much a fact. Wednesday, May 15, the purveyor of fresh produce looks to share its Midas touch with its neighborhood Birmingham City elementary school.

A Facebook event created late last month invites folks to visit its nearly 1½ year-old Avondale Market on May 15. According to the event’s description, 10% of all in-store sales will go to directly benefit Avondale Elementary School. They’ve already held similar fundraisers for both Red Mountain Community School and the Alabama Waldorf School earlier this month.

The two year old business is continuing an unbeaten streak similar to the ones SEC football fans hope for each season. Just last week the store was named one of the winners of Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong initiative, securing $5,000 to improve the physical store’s lighting. This came on the heels of wrapping up an IndieGoGo campaign to add a café, a month after it reopened following a renovation of their space. Their Occupy:Avondale win presented them with the opportunity to open in the space in addition to six months free rent.

You could even say they started off with a (bang). Area schools have the privilege to benefit from their efforts while residents enjoy locally sourced food options. Sounds like a win for everybody.

Almost time to visit the P.U.B.

TEPUBsignTraffic driving by the new Westin Birmingham nearing completion next to Southeastern Conference headquarters in downtown Birmingham noticed a new addition to the city’s collection of neon signs on Monday.

The sign over the entrance to Todd English P.U.B. (short for Public Urban Bar) now lights a portion of the base of the anchor to the city’s newest entertainment district, Uptown. Workers were inside the space last night making sure it’ll be ready for when the hotel is scheduled to open – February 14.

UpTown’s Twitter account and the BJCC’s Facebook account have announced a way for you to score access to an invite-only preview of the restaurant on February 12. Considering the only way to try the food before then is a trip to the other location is in Las Vegas (it opened in March 2010), it sounds like a pretty interesting contest to enter.

Now you’ve got to wonder if the seven-second beer slam mentioned in the Twitter profile for the Las Vegas location will apply here too…

Where do you want to drink tonight?

Birmingham Happy Hour logo.It may not necessarily be a common question for you, but you have to admit that it comes up occasionally, especially as higher temperatures begin to settle into Jones Valley for spring and summer.

After a little less than one year of existence, Birmingham Happy Hour continues to hope it can help make figuring out where to go out for drinks in metro Birmingham after work  just a little bit easier.

The site looks at available food and drink specials as well as provide reviews of popular and as of yet undiscovered spots about town. They’ve also made it easy to keep track of what they’re sharing (and for others to share information with them). via Facebook and Twitter.

Now maybe you’ve got one more tool to help make answering that question of where to meet up after work easier.

Exclusive Brew available for Free The Hops’ Oktoberfest

oktoberfestWe’ve just gotten word that Highland Brewing Company will be bringing their Fall seasonal brew exclusively to the first annual Free the Hops Oktoberfest being held Saturday, September 19th in downtown Birmingham on historic Morris Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets North.

The festival will feature German cuisine provided by The J Clyde, live music from Die Mitternaechters, and more than 25 German and German-style American-made beers. This will be a great opportunity to sample some exclusive and rare beers that will only be available in the state of Alabama during the festival.

Advanced tickets and more information can be found on the Free The Hops website.

More new restaurants open on 280

Bogue's RestaurantAs far as we can tell, Birmingham’s restaurant industry has chosen not to participate in the current recession. Two weeks ago we told you about the new Tilted Kilt pub opening in the old Copeland’s building; now I’ve noticed a few more restaurants opening including the opening of a new Bogue’s Restaurant along Hwy 280, joining locations on Clairmont Avenue and Oxmoor Road.

Bogue’s is one of Birmingham’s oldest restaurants and is known for its great meat and veggie-style comfort food. The new location on Hwy. 280 next to Chipotle Grill in Inverness. Continue reading

Tilted Kilt opening soon on Highway 280

New Tilted Kilt on Hwy 280In spite of the economic downturn, Birmingham continues to see new businesses and restaurants popping up in the Highway 280 area of town.

Construction has started on the newest Tilted Kilt  to soon open here in Birmingham. The new restaurant will occupy the old Copeland’s of New Orleans space on Highway 280. It’s been closed since early last year when the franchise downsized and left the Alabama market.

Originally started at Harrah’s in Las Vegas in 2003, the Tilted Kilt has recently evolved into one of the fastest growing pub/eatery style franchises in the country. It features fast and fun bar-style food (wings, burgers, fish and chips) and of course a wide selection of beers in the style of Buffalo Wild Wings or Locos.

Photo: Josh Self/Flickr

mmm…beer at okafés!…mmm…

okafesbeerThere are been some new additions to the menu at okafés! recently. The coffee house located in Birmingham’s Pepper Place has recently been granted its beer and wine license and already has rather large selections available for both categories. So now there’s yet another reason for folks to head on over there for shows in the coming weeks…

The beer selection pictured here made its appearance late last week, with the wine list following during the weekend.

Photo: acnatta/bhamterminal

Maki Fresh brings new choices to Mountain Brook

Maki Fresh on Hwy 280

My stomach started rumbling as I passed by my old standby eatery, Newk’s on Highway 280 on my way home at about 1:30p.m. So, I turned in and headed toward a parking space,  but as I got out of my car I saw a “Now Open” sign in a catchy lime green color a few shops down.

I had heard about John Cassimus’ (of Zoë’s fame) new concept through the grapevine, and being a fan of that restaurant I decided to give it a try.

Maki Fresh interior

Continue reading