10 Spots: New Restaurants for the New Year

by Jason Horn



Named for the candy store that occupied its downtown space back in the 1930s, this frozen-yogurt parlor brings a much-needed weekend and nighttime vitality to the neighborhood. If you’re not into the cold stuff, try one of its delicious cupcakes or fruit-topped Belgian waffles. 200 20th St. N; 205-909-0312;

Ollie Irene

Mountain Brook Village’s new gastropub is the most promising restaurant to open in town in years. The rustic-yet-elegant, Southern-inflected dishes—all made with local produce—and deliciously clever cocktails are both top-notch. Both the burger and the catfish number among Birmingham’s best dishes. 2713 Culver Rd., Mountain Brook; 205-769-6034;

El Barrio

The guys behind downtown’s beloved Trattoria Centrale are opening this new Mexican spot just around the corner from their flagship. At press time, it had just launched. It’ll serve authentic tacos quickly at lunchtime, with a more extensive table-service menu, plus signature cocktails, local beers, and kegged wine, for dinner. 2211 2nd Ave. N; 205-868-3737;

Avondale Brewing Company

After months of anticipation, the taproom of the city’s newest brewery is finally open. Enjoy its excellent Spring Street Saison while you take in a game on TV or relax on the massive patio out back. It’s also the first place you can taste new and experimental brews before they’re released more widely. 201 41st St. S;


Taylor Hicks may not be the first person you’d think of as a restaurant owner, but his Crestline eatery, in the former location of Open Door Café, is really tasty. Try the house-made potato chips with cream cheese and smoked salmon or the over-the-top fried mac & cheese.1115 Dunston Ave.; 205-745-3920;

Pinches Tacos

An authentic taqueria with locations in Southern California decided to open a new outpost…in Homewood. You can get tacos, burritos, or tortas with a variety of fillings, but the chicken mole and pork carnitas are the best. Come by Sunday for brunch and bottomless Mimosas.

300 Hallman Hill E, Ste. 109, Homewood; 205-536-6511;


Yes, the pizza is tasty—especially the Bajalieh special, with bacon, red onion and Wickles sweet-spicy pickled peppers—but the best thing about this Lakeview joint is its commitment to local beer. All the taps are devoted to Alabama breweries, and the selection is one of the best in town.

725 29th St. S; 205-715-9300;

Shindigs Catering

Food trucks are really starting to take off in this city, and this one is the best. Manned by a pair of chefs who’ve worked at Hot & Hot Fish Club, Ross Bridge, Little Savannah, and other favorites, it dishes up excellent burgers, steamed buns and more specials made from local ingredients. Various; 205-538-1170;

MetroPrime Steakhouse

When a steakhouse employs an in-house butcher to cut the filets and ribeyes, that’s a very good sign. And this enormous Five Points South restaurant also offers seafood, more casual lunch and brunch dishes, and a nice cocktail list, to boot.

1035 20th St. S; 205-623-5288;

Church Street Coffee & Books

When the Crestline Village Starbucks closed, a group of former employees teamed up to replace it with something much better. The new coffeehouse bakes a wide variety of amazing pastries in-house, blends its own chai tea, creates original java drinks from locally roasted Primavera Coffee, and sells a well-edited selection of literature. 81 Church St., Mountain Brook; 205-870-1117;

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