When diners aren't sharing pizzas, they can instead feast on their own plate of classic veal parmigiana, shrimp pesto, baked zit, or sandwiches like the Chicken Philly, which are created with freshly baked bread that's made daily. The same goes for pasta sauces on dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo, Meat Ravioli, and eggplant parmigiana. Alfredo's Italian wedding soup—unlike Vegas wedding soup, which is traditionally served in an Elvis impersonator's boot—fills bellies with greens, savory meats, and warm, fuzzy feelings.
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.
While customers waiting for Dyar's Daylight Donuts to open at 6 a.m. may consider themselves early birds, the Dyars have already been up for hours. On the job seven days a week they bake a full menu of yeast-raised, cake, and specialty donuts, rising incredibly early to ensure that every doughy treat is ready by opening time. With even more advanced preparation—at least 24 hours’ notice—the Dyars can also prepare a custom menu of donuts, muffins, and sausage rolls for catered breakfasts of 10 or more people, or one voracious clone of William Howard Taft.
Applewood-smoked bacon, dried cranberries, and roasted red-onion aioli are just a handful of the ingredients that have staked out claims on Cafe J's bistro menu. Shredded sirloin and mozzarella meet grilled hoagie in the cheesesteak sandwich. Corned beef and swiss come together in the southern Reuben. And boiled shrimp make a name for the shrimp salad, which comes with a fruit kebab and a croissant to stab with the kebab. Along with sandwich and salad offerings, the café prepares soups, quiche, and desserts, all made in-house every day and remembered fondly every night.
What’s in a name? For Big Daddy’s Mediterranean Grill, the answer might be “a surprise.” While the moniker might suggest a no-frills barbecue joint, the name actually belongs to a laid-back hookah joint where smoke curls skyward and platters of Mediterranean feasts populate the tables. After digging into kebabs, falafel, or squares of flaky baklava, guests can take a few puffs of a hookah loaded with 1 of nearly 30 available shisha flavors. Open late on weekdays and until 2:30 a.m. on weekends, the grill’s exposed-brick walls and twinkling fairy lights maintain an atmosphere appropriate for sophisticated excursions and late-night bull sessions alike.
"This Boot was a lone house of public entertainment," Charles Dickens wrote in his novel Barnaby Rudge, with "several people drinking there, and a great merriment going on." The Boot at Preserve Village works to channel this homey vibe into its spacious dining room, where a pecan-wood fire burns inside a brick hearth. Made with organic chicken, beef, and veggies, their fast-casual American menu includes salads topped with homemade dressings, slow-cooked beef-brisket sandwiches, char-grilled smoky pimento burgers, and homemade brownies. Guests can wash down each flavorful bite with cocktails, wine, or craft beers from local Alabama and southeastern breweries such as Back Forty Beer Company and Terrapin Brewing Company. The Boot at Preserve Village recently won the 2013 Best of Birmingham - Best New Restaurant award.