The dining scene in Birmingham, Alabama, is being revitalized. Formerly vacant buildings are being transformed into the hottest dining options in town as part of an ongoing citywide movement to resurrect old commercial spaces. Birmingham has also moved up a few notches on the culinary map—to add fire to the food craze, Food & Wine magazine recently announced that it’s moving most of its operations to Birmingham from New York. It will join other Time Inc. publications like Southern Living that are already based in the city. With all those new food-focused editors, the city is bound to be upping its culinary game even more in the future.
Whether you are in the mood for soul food or a classic hot dog, here are four new spots to treat your taste buds in the Magic City.
The Pizitz Food Hall
The Pizitz Food Hall opened its doors in February with a wide variety of culinary treats that encompass a good portion of the globe: Its 14 food vendors serve everything from biscuits to dumplings. Tacos star at Choza Taqueria, Ghion Cultural Hall specializes in Ethiopian cuisine served on communal platters and eaten with bread instead of utensils, and ramen is the highlight of the menu at Ichicoro Imoto. For breakfast, try one of the sweet and savory biscuits at Alabama Biscuit Company or a Belgian waffle from Waffle Works. The upscale mall-style food court is located on the first floor of the newly renovated Pizitz Building, an eight-story former department store that also features apartments. The food hall is open seven days a week.
Roots & Revelry is the labor and love of chef Brandon Cain, known for his other culinary ventures in town, including Saw’s Soul Kitchen, a barbecue joint, and Post Office Pies, a pizza place. The budget-friendly fine dining restaurant opened in February and is located in the newly renovated Thomas Jefferson Tower, a former 19-story hotel on the west side of downtown. Dinner menu highlights include the pork belly PB&J, Korean hot chicken, and grilled octopus. Weekend brunch options include avocado toast and chicken and waffles. Be sure to request a table on its spacious patio that overlooks the city and linger for a drink after your meal in the parlor area.
This classic hot dog joint opened last August with counter-style seating in an exposed brick building. Menu options range from the Winky Dink Dog, topped with pimento cheese, mustard, and onion, to the Diablo Dog, with jalapeño, bacon, cheese, and tortilla strips. All dogs are 100 percent kosher beef or tofu. If you’re feeling creative, you can also build your own dog. They are open from Tuesday to Saturday and serve food from lunch until late at night in the historic Avondale neighborhood, which dates back to 1887 when it was home to workers from a nearby textile plant. The neighborhood consists of a roughly seven-block commercial area that’s walkable and located only two miles east of downtown Birmingham.
Big Spoon Creamery was started in 2014 by a couple who are both chefs. They had $500 and an ice cream tricycle. Two years later, they upgraded to a food truck, and in April, they opened the doors of their brick-and-mortar location in Avondale’s MAKEbhm building. They specialize in artisan ice cream, shakes, and ice cream sandwiches. The hardest part is deciding between their seasonal and specialty flavor options like goat cheese fig and summer sangria sorbet. The best part: The cones are homemade.