I am certainly not a food critic, but I do love to eat! I adore food and LOVE finding new places to go. Mr. Menace and I have a standing Friday night date night where we go out to eat and often to a new spot that I have heard about. Birmingham has become quite a food mecca in the last few years with some nationally recognized chefs including Frank Stitt, James Lewis, Chris Dupont, and Chris Hastings. The following is a list of my favorite places to eat in Birmingham.
Saw’s Juke Joint
First up is Saw’s Juke Joint. We eat here regularly and we like to sit in the bar area. There is a tiny stage in the corner and we love listening to live music while we eat. Our favorite dish is the Pork and Greens. It is really indescribably delicious.
The bartender, Craig, and the manager won us over completely on the night Mr. Menace ran out of gas. We walked the couple of blocks to Saw’s from where the car stopped after coasting a ways. After Craig got us our drinks, Mr. Menace asked him where to find the nearest gas station. When Craig came back to our table he told us the manager was taking care of everything. After we ate, Mr. Menace found the manager to thank and pay him but Mr. Manager refused to accept payment for the couple of gallons of gas. We will forever remember and appreciate his kindness.
Next up is El Barrio. This upscale Mexican restaurant is definitely in our top five picks. We have loved every dish that we have eaten here. They have great guacamole and salsa, great drinks, and great entrees. There is almost always a wait for a table, but we usually sit at the bar because we like the attention we receive.
Another favorite is Rogue Tavern. This was the first restaurant that we tried in downtown Birmingham and its still a favorite. We love their Lettuce Wraps, Southwest Burger, and the Bloomin Jalapeno Burger. After dinner, you can stick around for some real quality live bands, some of them famous. It is also a popular place during football games, which we avoid. haha It’s just TOO loud
for us old folks.
5 Point Public House
5 Point Public House is a fairly new favorite. It was created by the same award winning chef at the adjoining white tablecloth Ocean Restaurant
which we can’t afford, so you know it is delicious! I love The Baked Six (oysters), and the fried oysters are delicious too. I also recommend the Grilled Cuban, and the Shrimp and Grits.
Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint
When it comes to burgers, you just cannot beat Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint! They only do burgers and they have honed that craft to perfection. I love the Jalapeno Popper, and Mr. Menace loves the fiery heat of the Shocker. I also love the Friday special, The Ponch. My first Fried Oreo experience was here… You MUST try it if you haven’t.
The Filling Station
One night we were wanting Italian and since our favorite Johnny Carino’s* (see below) has closed, I was googling for a new one to try and I found The Filling Station. It is a converted gas station, which in the past were known as filling stations, and it’s slogan “Arrive on Empty, Leave on Full” is quite prophetic. We had the lasagna and ravioli on our first visit and they were both delicious. We later heard rave reviews from a co-worker of ours about the pizza, so we had to go back and give it a try. It was worth it!
…Italian restaurant will forever be known as the place he didn’t propose. Obviously this was before we became Mr. and Mrs. and I was visiting in the Hoover area for the weekend. We had just left the hotel where I was staying after having a disagreement about where the pool was located. That disagreement ended when he suggested that the loser, *a-hem cough cough*, had to get down on their knees in the hotel lobby and admit the winner, bleh, was right.
As I said before, it was our favorite Italian restaurant and we got there fairly early and were seated by the hostess in a booth in a fairly secluded area of the fairly empty restaurant. Mr. Menace, as usual, was fiddling with some gadget, and he asked if I had anything small and pointy that he could use to press a recessed reset button. (I guess maybe it was a watch??) I suggested my diamond stud earring and he said it would be perfect. I removed one of my earrings, which being a stud was quite small, and held it out to him across the table. When he put this hand out on mine, I did not release the earring immediately, and I asked “Are you going to get down on your knees and say please?”
At this exact moment, our waitress walked up.
What she saw: a smiling dapper gentleman holding the hand of an smiling exquisite young lady who just asked if he would get on his knees and say please. She did an immediate turnaround and left as quickly as possible.
I didn’t think anything of it. But Mr. Menace, being the astute guy that he is, asked the waitress when she came back in 10 minutes or so, “You thought I was proposing, didn’t you?” To which she admitted she had. He said, “I wasn’t.”
We all laughed.
And Johnny Carino’s has forever remained “the place he didn’t propose.”
Now that you know where he didn’t propose, you might like to read how he DID propose.