10 SPOTS: for Downtown Dining

Rogue Burger

by Jason Horn

Rogue Tavern

You wouldn’t expect one of Birmingham’s best music venues to serve some of its best burgers as well, but that’s the case here. The monster meat patties can be had topped with everything from green chiles and guacamole to Asian slaw and teriyaki.

2312 2nd Ave. N; 205-202-4151;

Trattoria Centrale

Besides making some of the city’s best pizza, this always-busy spot makes a fantastic Sunday brunch. Be sure to come by on a Friday evening to taste the seasonal dinner dishes, which rival the fanciest restaurants in town (in taste, but not price).

207A 20th St. N; 205-202-5612;

Urban Standard

Yes, it’s a favorite source of sandwiches and coffee during the work day, but this spot stays open until 10 p.m. with some tasty entrees for supper. Keep an eye out for special events, such as concerts and beer dinners—they’re a treat.

2320 2nd Ave. N; 205-250-8200;

Café Dupont

When it opened in 2003, this elegant restaurant helped launch the current downtown food renaissance. Chef and owner Chris Dupont, an Alabama native, turns locally grown produce into an ever-changing array of amazing dishes.

113 20th St. N; 205-322-1282;


Named after a candy store that occupied the space in the 1930s, this new sweet shop with a gorgeous art-deco look opened in July. It serves baked goods, fresh-made Belgian waffles slathered with fruit or chocolate, and an assortment of frozen-yogurt flavors and toppings.

200 20th St. N; 205-909-0312;

Lyric Hot Dogs & Grill

This 54-year-old classic has long outlived its namesake theater, but it still serves reliably delicious dogs, fries and other sandwiches, as well as hearty breakfasts. Don’t miss the wonderfully greasy patty melt, which is easily the best in town.

1808 3rd Ave. N; 205-251-9952;


Birminghamians are no strangers to Greek-tinged meat-and-threes, and downtown’s contribution to the genre is a gem. Whether you order chicken livers, collards and cornbread or a big plate of moussaka, you’ll leave stuffed.

1101 2nd Ave. N; 205-251-1972

Surin’s Thai Bowl

The menu is basically identical to its cousins in Five Points South, Crestline Village and on 280, but the downtown iteration of this spot caters to working folks in a hurry. The best thing to order is the succulent catfish, crisp-fried and topped with a sweet ginger glaze.

2100 3rd Ave. N; 205-297-0996

Yeh Man

Just around the corner from the Carver Theatre sits the city’s one and only Jamaican restaurant. Good thing it’s a good one. Hearty Caribbean fare like pigeon peas and rice, jerk chicken, and meat pies are delicious and amazingly inexpensive.

1623 4th Ave. N; 205-323-3120


Chris Dupont of Café Dupont recently opened his second downtown spot, bringing head baker Corey Hinkel over from Anniston. It’s our gain, as Hinkel makes magnificent breads and pastries. You also must try the lunchtime sandwiches, whose filling options change every day.

1820 4th Ave. N; 205-323-4110

2 Responses to “10 SPOTS: for Downtown Dining”

  1. Mauricio says:

    There’s also a great panini place called brick & tin on 20th Street N. Serving fresh, made-to-order sandwiches on a variety of breads that are made from scratch every day, this place sources only all natural, humanely raised meats and purchases vegetables locally from an array of local farmers. Also open for dinner Friday nights.

  2. Wow, thanks very much for posting this! It is going to help me when I am thinking about going to Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Wayne! I am from Trenton, NJ so I am not familiar with Fort Collins. Next time I visit my family will be so much better! Very Stupendous!

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