If there’s one extraordinary benefit to meeting in Birmingham, it’s good food. Good, beautiful food. The kind you write home about -- if people still wrote home. So, while you’re meeting here, enjoy our robust dining scene with these suggestions. Restaurants with an asterisk (*) denote that you need a reservation well in advance of your visit.
- Start the day at Satellite Coffee Bar in the Avondale neighborhood near downtown. Order the Brown Butter Old-Fashioned Doughnuts, which recently made a Food Network’s Top Ten list.
- While the caffeine’s pumping, make your way to the Birmingham Museum of Art. You’ll find collections of Asian, African, European Decorative, and Modern and Contemporary Art that span 4,000 years.
- Stop in at The Fish Market-Southside for lunch. This casual establishment is a great example of the Greek influence on Birmingham dining. Try the Athenian Snapper or oysters fresh from the Gulf.
- Then it’s time to introduce yourself to Vulcan, the largest cast-iron statue in the world. Vulcan Park and Museum sits high atop Red Mountain and has an observation balcony for a panoramic view of the city and suburbs.
- *Highlands Bar and Grill won the 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Restaurant in America. It’s where Chef Frank Stitt began all this Birmingham business of fabulous food. It should be on your list of places to dine before you die.
- In the event you didn’t call early for reservations at Highlands, try its next-door neighbor and another of Frank’s places, Chez Fonfon. The French bistro is not at all fussy and consistently wins awards for its Hamburger Fonfon.
- Your Foodie Meeting might also include El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar for their grilled chorizo meatloaf and Bettola, where artisanal Italian dishes make for happy diners. You also should consider a jaunt over to the Birmingham neighborhood of Mountain Brook for drinks and dinner at Sol Y Luna. Order the Tomatillo Lobster Taco.
Still Hungry? More food itineraries:
- Begin the day with the breakfast buffet at Todd English P.U.B., one of several dining spots conveniently located in the Uptown district on Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex campus.
- Well fueled, it’s off to Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum to see the world’s largest collection of antique and contemporary motorcycles. The multi-story displays are delicious eye candy.
- It would be a shame to come to Birmingham and not have the world’s best barbecue. Go to any one of the three Saw’s locations for perfect pork sandwiches. At the Avondale location, called Saw’s Soul Kitchen, you can have this incredible dish of cheese grits piled high with turnip greens, barbecue pork, and onion rings.
- Roll out of Saw’s BBQ and go take a nap. Or better yet, explore some downtown shopping. Yeah, Birmingham has major mall shopping, but we’re talking about places like Reed Books, the shop that has everything from rare books to Piggly Wiggly costumes, or Charm on 2nd for their PG-rated socks.
- For your evening pleasure -- and it is -- we hope you’ve made reservations for dining at *Hot & Hot Fish Club, which is neither a fish camp nor a private association. It is one of the city’s great restaurants with one of the city’s best chefs, Chris Hastings. You may have seen him on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” beating the stew out of Bobby Flay.