In an interview with the Birmingham News, concert promoter Brian Teasley explained the vision behind Bottletree Café: "We wanted to open a place that would serve food we wanted to eat, show films we liked to see, and play music we wanted to hear." It turns out Teasley, along with co-owners Merrilee and Brad Challiss, has pretty good taste: according to Esquire, which ranked the café as one of the country's best bars, "This place is already stealing thunder from every small music venue in the region." FlavorWire backed up this endorsement by ranking Bottletree Café as one of The 10 Greatest New Music Venues of the 21st Century. Since opening in 2006, the venue has hosted Rogue Wave, Band of Horses, and other indie-leaning rock groups.
But the accolades don't stop there. The venue also has attracted praise for its vegetarian-centric menu. Birmingham Weekly rated the café's brunch among the city's best and devoted a full-out love letter to the lunch menu, which was reintroduced in August 2012. The award-winning vegetarian chili ranks among house favorites and makes a repeat appearance in cheese-smothered nachos. Tofu plays a centric role in entrees and desserts, and black-bean patties made a fiber-rich substitute for beef in burgers, or a biodegradable substitute for frisbees in games of disc golf.
Mamma Nem’s has dedicated 159 years to satiating diners with an elegant southern-inspired menu, a soul-stirring cornucopia of cuisine drawn from Creole, South Carolina, and deep-south cooking traditions. Sink incisors into robust sandwiches such as slow-simmered pork festooned with jalapeno cole slaw and O’Neal’s signature barbecue sauce ($8) or a fried-green-tomato BLT ($7) that, for once, isn’t just a VHS copy of Fried Green Tomatoes smothered in lettuce and mayonnaise. Smoked barbecue chicken ($11) gives formidable bibs a run for their money, and Mareo’s jerk chicken ($10) casts off its aggressive reputation to play nice with sensitive taste buds. Dinner dishes are escorted by Mamma’s homemade cornbread and any two savory sides, such as fried okra, black-eyed peas, and collard greens, whereas equally hearty breakfast and brunch platters include Big Momma’s pork chops and grits ($10).
The flavors of Mexican, Caribbean, and Tex-Mex cuisines mingle on Mexibbean Island Grille's small but mighty menu. The kitchen prepares tacos four ways: Mexican style with onions and cilantro; fajita style with cheese and grilled peppers and onions; Texican style with lettuce, cheese, and tomato; and island style with cabbage, lime, and chipotle cream. Plates of spicy jerk chicken join Texacali chicken-fajita sandwiches smothered in pepper jack cheese and grilled veggies, and drinks such as soda and tea quench thirst or help tamp down cowlicks.
Inspired by Southern-cooking traditions and flavors found right on its owners' Harpersville farm, The Pantry by Stone Hollow Farmstead designs "eat clean" cafe menus that transform local produce into fresh, sustainable, seasonal farm foods. Each day, its charming cottage-style Crestline Village home fills with the aromas of hearty soups as well as "one-pot" meals, which are simmered in traditional cast-iron cookware. These meals celebrate the work of Stone Hollow's farmers while highlighting the diversity of Southern agriculture. This eatery also doubles as a specialty food boutique, serving artisan products such as goat cheeses, preserves, and honeys that are made in small batches at the Farmstead. Onsite events such as recreational cooking classes and twice-monthly food and drink tastings give visitors even more ways to interact with local food that are easier than trying to speak fluent "cow" so they can finally ask where all that milk really comes from. The Pantry also moonlights as a one-of-a-kind venue for parties and events.
Tony Ray's Pizza epitomizes the classic pizzeria: think tables draped in black-and-white checkered cloths, and mouthwatering photos of pizza strewn across the walls. And the menu is just as classic?two dozen toppings weigh down hand-tossed crusts, thin crusts, and deep-dish pies. But among the 10 specialty pizzas churned out by the kitchen, there are a few unusual flavor combinations Tony?s white chicken pie, for example, combines chicken, spinach, cheese, and alfredo sauce, while the Memphis barbecue chicken pizza combines sweet and smokey flavors like honey barbecue sauce, bacon, and green pepper.
For those craving something other than pizza, the eatery also serves 10 oz. angus burgers, jumbo chicken tenders, fried chicken, meatball and chicken bacon ranch subs, which come toasted and paired with chips made from scratch. And for those who don't feel like leaving the comfort of their own home, Tony Ray's can deliver pizzas to front steps or slide them in through extra-large mail slots.
Chefs at LeVi'an Grill & Bar treats guests to comforting dinners of grown-up pub fare, dishing up baked potatoes smothered in barbecue chicken, grilled tilapia over wild rice, and club sandwiches on pita bread. Guests can mingle over cocktails in a stylish lounge decked out with leather furnishings, or they can soak in the sounds of the live blues and jazz acts that perform each week.