Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Restaurant MeMe

Jill at Who Could Ask For Anything More passed on a tag for an
Oh-so-Delish restaurant meme.
Here are the rules:
*Link to the name of the person that tagged you
*Include state and country you live in
*List top 5 favorite local restaurants
*Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged
This is a piece of cake for me... If I know anything, we know local restaurants! There are a lot of great restaurants in the Birmingham area. Like most cities, more and more restaurants are chains that move into town~ all very good and very successful. So, rather than highlight the Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris, and PF Changs... I am going to list our favorite locally owned places.

I have posted before on our favorite local hang-out. Margarita Grill is the place to go for great mesquite grilled food and a fun atmosphere. Their steaks are wonderful, I like the grilled chicken k-bobs, and of course they do tacos of every kind. The guacamole is almost as good as mine, and the cheese dip is the best. Mention to Javier and Rodrigo that Sandi & Bill sent you... guaranteed free chips and salsa! To get to the grill~ it is off I-65 at hwy 119, the Oak Mountain State Park exit. We'll meet you on the patio!

The Fish Market is a local favorite. It is known as the best inexpensive fresh seafood in town. We are never disappointed. The 'old' fish market was in a cramped building near UAB; they have since moved around the corner to a huge renovated warehouse on 21st st south. There is also a location in Calera on Hwy 31. Both have been decorated with wonderful photos of George and many of the locals in Greece, huge pots and urns, and Greek olive oils. You have to make a trip into the girls bathroom at the downtown location... to see the cool fountain. With enough sweet tea that won't be a problem.

If you like Thai food Surin West in 5 Points South is the place to go. It is in the heart of old Birmingham on 11th street south. The decor is funky Thai, bright colors, wonderful artwork. My favorite is the spicy beef salad.... make sure you have extra water on hand! Bill likes the Masaman Chicken, and the basil rolls. They have a great fresh sushi bar, with plenty of wasabi to clear the sinuses.
O'Carrs Deli is a local bakery/deli that is the hot spot at lunchtime. The original location is in Homewood, and is well worth the wait. The tiny restaurant packs in carpool moms and suits alike, everyone shares cozy seating. Sandwiches and a soup of the day are always on the menu. My favorite has to be the chicken salad and fruit plate, a large serving of yummy chicken salad piled with a selection of fruit from strawberries to star fruit. Save room because you will want to top it off with a piece of warm cheesecake and a cup of coffee. Their slogan is Eat By Color~ easy to do with a menu so full of fruits and veggies.

The Irondale Cafe is the same cafe that our family owned for 30 years. It is still known as the WhistleStop Cafe and sits on the train tracks in Irondale. Jim, the new owner, has changed things some; but still serves the famous fried green tomatoes and fried chicken. If you are looking for a taste of the south this is the place to go. While you are there, pick up some of our batter mixes- you can make you own authentic fried green tomatoes at home.

Bill has got one more to add~ and as co-contributor to this blog I'll allow him to bend the 5 restaurant rule.

Mr P's Deli is off Shades Crest the Bluff Park area. It is not only a great little sandwich deli but a fantastic butcher shop. If you are in the market for fresh Italian sausages or a unique butcher cut of meat Pilleteri's is the place to go. They serve more than 50 types of sandwiches and burgers, and have a grocery market with lots of Alabama products. Get a bottle of wine and a couple of steaks to go!
What a fun post! I am selfishly going to pass this on to friends in areas I'm likely to visit.We are always looking for great restaurants.


Just A Beach Kat in Paradise

Show Me State Of Mind in Montgomery

Where else but the cape~Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard

Flip Flop Floozie in Savannah

I'd like to see Southern Hospitality also in Birmingham.

Where do y'all eat?



It's a FLIP-FLOP World said...

I will try but my hubby and I do not go out to the fancy restaurants downtown mostly because we cannot afford them. I will give this a stab though. It will have to wait till I feel better. I am sick now with a very bad sore throat and feeling awful. Thanks for thinking of me. Sandy

Rhoda said...

Hey, Sandi, OK....I'll play next week! You already picked 3 of my favorite locals too, Surin, Fish Market & O'Carr's, so I will have to think of some others that we have been to. We don't go out to eat all that regularly.


justabeachkat said...

Thanks Sandi! I'm gonna put on my thinking cap and I'll make my list as soon as I can.

Oh, how I LOVE Thai. I've never been to Surin's, but next time I'm there I certainly will. Sounds yummy!

Hope you're having a good weekend.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You make them all sound wonderful! Wish I was there for several days!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Sandi- Glad you joined in on this one. Fun, huh? I've only been to Birmingham once, and can't remember where I ate, but it was good.... I'd love to try the Whistlestop sometime!

Steffi said...

Very nice reataurantes.If I am someday in future in the near of one I will visit it ;O).

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Good gracious glad you didn't pick this little town there's nothing to eat!!! I'd better head to Birmingham.

dot said...

I've never ate in fancy places either but being originally from Alabama, Lambert's Throwed Roll at Foley is a fun place to eat. For the best catfish Ezelle's in Butler.
In Georgia the Lady and Son's (Paula Deen's place) was a big disappointment. So was the NuWay Hotdog place. lol. You can tell I'm just a country girl by the places I eat!

Adriann said...

Sounds like good eatin to be had in B'ham. I might have to try them out sometime.

sandi said...

Sandy~ I'm really interested in some local Savannah places!
Rhoda~ To funny! Now you have to try Margarita Grill
Kat~ Looking forward to you picks.
1/2 cup& shabby~ come on girlfriends
Jill~ thanks for letting me in!
Steffi~ and I will do the same in your part of the world
Dot~ we just got a new Ezell's in B'ham...I guess it is worth a try!
Adriann~ you can stop at the peach farm on the way

Kristen said...

What a fun one! Those look like tasty places.

Carla said...

I'm going to have to file this post just in case I'm ever in your neck of the woods. Yum!

justabeachkat said...


I finally got around to doing my list. Thanks again.


Sugar Bear said...

I absolutely love that you highlighted the locally owned places. I'm not really into chain restaurants. Give me a good ol fashinoned locally owned and operated hang out any time!

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

My sister and I were in Irondale Cafe a couple of weeks ago. I had some great blackberry cobbler. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I had lost you too. Glad I found you again.

tut-tut said...

How's that upscale Frank Stits place, Bottega? Is that as good as I've read?

Andi said...

Wow...these all sound like yummy places to eat! Thanks for the great recommendations if we're ever that way! I'd love to know some locally owned Savannah places as well to try on our next visit there.

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Kristen &Carla~ now you know where to eat if you are passing through
Kat~ I am so excited to have a list of Destin restaurants
Karla~ I know how hard it is to run a family place!
Susan~ glad you ate at the cafe...they have changed it up a bit haven't they?
Tut-tut~ Bottega is very good... kind of hip-casual-expensive.
Andi~ I'm hoping for some too!

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

Thanks for visiting me-I'm so glad, as now I've found your fascinating blog!!

Rhoda said...

Hey, Sandi....OK, I posted my restaurant meme, so don't miss it. I saw a new Surin's has just opened on 280, just passed there today & there it is! Had no idea. It's down close to Healthsouth.


MorningSong said...

I have heard of the Fish Market but haven't tried it!! This is the most useful meme yet! haha

Have a great day!

Kari said...

Okay, Sandi, here's a question from the village idiot...what the heck is a "MeMe"?

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Sophie~ come back and visit!
Rhoda~ closer to home? this could be dangerous.
Morning Star~ I asked about my favorite places
Kari~ no stupid questions... I think it is prounounced like dream or gene... and it is basically stupid questions that get passed around to other bloggers.

Cheryl Wray said...

Okay, I LOVE The Fish Market. Yummy!!! And of course I love the Irondale Cafe; Delaney's travel team practices right down the road from the Cafe so I can pop in there for some fried green tomatoes to go pretty easily!
One of my summer things to do was to take the girls to two new ethnic restaurants. I love Thai, but they've never had it so I think I'm gonna do Surin West for Thai (and then I saw that there is a new Indian restaurant in Hoover that I might try!)
Loved your list!!

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