A Fresh Approach

Chef Darryl Borden with Park Crest designer Chase Beard Photograph by Beau Gustafson

Chef Darryl Borden with Park Crest designer Chase Beard
Photograph by Beau Gustafson

Written by Joe O’Donnell

Darryl Borden was only 20 back in 1987 when he came to Birmingham from his native Destin, Florida, to create one of the city’s most famous fine dining restaurants, Bombay Cafe. Borden became a fixture on Birmingham’s high-end restaurant scene, later adding The Canteen and Veranda to his stable of establishments.

Borden moved out of the restaurant business in 2006 when he developed the food service business Gourmet Express, and then began working as executive chef for About Thyme Catering, primarily in Tuscaloosa where the company specialized in catering for the University of Alabama athletic department. He also worked as personal chef for Alabama’s head football coach Nick Saban.

Borden is now back in Birmingham as executive chef for Park Crest Catering in Hoover. With his well-rounded background in weddings as well as social and corporate functions, Borden knows how to deliver a successful event based on the client’s needs. But he came to Park Crest last February for a deeper reason than merely skill and experience.

“The passion of the Beard family [owners of Park Crest] drew me to this catering business at this point in my career,” he says. “They have so much faith in this place and have put tremendous energy and resources into building Park Crest.”

Nestled on the hilltop at the confluence of Lorna Road, Highway 31, and Interstate 65, Park Crest is an oasis of style and grace away from the traffic and bustle of Hoover.

“What has been created here is one venue with plenty of opportunities,” Borden says. “We can even do multiple events [from 50 people to 2,500] around a single wedding, an intimate family brunch to the major reception. It is in the heart of the city, but you’d never know it.”

The other key to what makes Park Crest different, Borden says, is their fresh approach to food at events. “We bring it right out of our kitchen and out to the guests,” he says. “That’s one of the strengths of our style of on-premise catering. It makes a huge difference in quality.”

The Park Crest property is a hidden gateway to Hoover. Several restaurants such as the Grandview and Grammas Italian Restaurant occupied Park Crest before the Beard family purchased the property in 2006. The family converted it into an event venue, perfect for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and private and corporate events. The Beards added gardens with stunning views of Shades Mountain. The gardens can be used for outdoor ceremony and reception options, and the private Park Crest Place is available for indoor events.

Additionally, the Carriage House is an all-new 20,000-square-foot building that boasts two levels of interior spaces with vaulted ceilings, reclaimed wood, crystal chandeliers, a 36-foot double-sided fireplace, audio-visual capabilities, and separate bridal and groom suites. This venue also includes large furnished outdoor terraces overlooking pristine valley views, bar, dance floor, and state-of-the-art amenities. The downstairs has the feel of an upscale industrial warehouse with its tall exposed ceilings, brick and stucco walls, and French barn doors. The downstairs also features a large fully stocked bar complete with draft beer, a stage and dance floor, space to showcase Park Crest’s Car Collection, and a groom suite—a fitting complement to Borden’s culinary creations.


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