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. While you’re meeting here, enjoy our robust dining scene with these suggestions. (Restaurants with an asterisk require a reservation well in advance of your visit.)
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: The Foodie Meeting Agenda
- 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 top 10 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. If you stay long enough — and you will — you can have a Georgia O’Keeffe chicken salad melt at Oscar’s in the museum.
- Then, it’s time to introduce yourself to Vulcan, the largest cast-iron statue in the world. Vulcan Park and Museum sit high atop Red Mountain, with 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 Stitt'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, which features grilled chorizo meatloaf, and Café Dupont, where they’re big on the popular “slow food” movement. It also means a trip to Ovenbird, a very trendy spot. You’ll have to hunt a little to find this gem, but it’s worth it.
Still Hungry? Here Are More Food Itinerary Options
- Begin with the breakfast buffet at Todd English P.U.B., one of several dining spots conveniently located in the Uptown district adjoining the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
- Once you're well-fueled, it’s off to Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum to see the world’s largest collection of antique and contemporary motorcycles. The multistory 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 an incredible dish of cheese grits piled high with turnip greens, barbecue pork, and onion rings. Oh, good heavens!
- Roll out of Saw’s BBQ and go take a nap. Or better yet, explore some downtown shopping. Yes, Birmingham has major mall shopping, but we’re talking about places such as Reed Books, a shop that has everything from rare books to Piggly Wiggly costumes.
- 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.