A Slice of Family

Brothers Jeff, Chris and Jason Bajalieh

Like their father and mother before them, the Bajalieh brothers know success in the restaurant business is all in the family.

By Joe O’Donnell

The work day is winding down in Lakeview, but the wood-burning ovens at the neighborhood’s newest restaurant, Slice, are still going strong, getting ready for the night shift.

Brothers Jeff, Chris and Jason Bajalieh opened Slice, a restaurant that focuses on the All-American combination of pizza and beer, as a companion to their downtown eatery, Sol’s, named after their late father. The three brothers will split their time between the two restaurants.

“We’ve been around food and restaurants our whole lives,” Jeff says. “We needed to expand, and the opportunity opened up to do this great restaurant that serves pizza and beer, which go together perfectly. It fits the neighborhood really well.”

The building on 29th Street in Lakeview has been completely redone inside and out with the addition of decks for alfresco dining in front of and along the side of the restaurant. Inside, the look is nice and upscale but very comfortable and casual. Black Architecture designed the building; Wilkerson & Co. handled the build-out. The sauce and the dough are homemade, Chris says.

“What I love about the restaurant business is that you are making people happy” he says. “With good food and good service, they’ll come back.”

The Bajalieh brothers watched their father employ that same philosophy for decades at Sol Bajalieh’s downtown sandwich shop in the basement of the old John Hand Building at the corner of First Avenue and 20th Street.

Sol Bajalieh arrived in the United States in 1965. He opened Sol’s Sandwich Shop & Deli in 1968 and kept at it for almost 30 years, becoming a fixture on the downtown scene and providing his sons with an inspiration that lives on.

Sol’s wife, Nadia, still works in the business, now alongside her sons.

The new restaurant adds to the fun and hip Lakeview vibe. The restaurant features full table service, live music planned for three nights a week, and only Alabama-brewed beers on tap from locals Avondale Brewing, Good People, and Blue Pants, Yellowhammer and Straight2Ale from Huntsville.

Chef Terrell Brazelton creates magic out of the Woodstone ovens. The pizzas range from the simple to the sublime. The Margherita is fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil. The Lakeview is beef tenderloin, carmelized onion, roasted cherry tomatoes and asiago, and is finished with arugula, red onion and horseradish sauce. The Bajalieh Special combines bacon, grilled red onion and Wickles pepper rings. The Polo Pesto features braised chicken, artichoke, roasted cherry tomatoes, feta and toasted pine nuts.

Sol Bajalieh at the door of his original down town sandwich shop

In all, Slice offers 16 varieties of pizza, build-your-own options, 22 regular toppings and 21 premium toppings ranging from chili and lime-braised pork to portabella mushrooms. In addition, there are salads and two dessert calzones. During lunch, you can order a selection of pizzas by the slice.

“You have to be dedicated and you have to keep it simple and good,” Jeff Bajalieh says. “I learned that from my father. There is so much value in seeing someone enjoy a good meal, seeing them smile.” •

One Response to “A Slice of Family”

  1. Cathy Tovias says:

    Jeff, just wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed Slice the two times I’ve been there. The atmosphere is casual but upscale and both the pizza and salads are to die for. I especially enjoy the Dijon salad dressing. I got to meet you only briefly at Kay’s wedding with Katie but hope to see more of you during football season. Best wishes to all your family and your businesses. PS. I’m Katie’s cousin and I’m old as dirt so you won’t remember me.

Leave a Reply