Category Archives: Restaurants

Michael’s Restaurant: Restaurant Showcase

Beef tips with your choice of sides are on the new lunch menu at Michael’s in SOHO. Photo by Madoline Markham.

By BETH EDDINGS

A vibrantly backlit Birmingham skyline at dusk lines a wall at Michael’s Restaurant. The image reveals the heart of the steakhouse and bar: it’s a local, family-owned business full of history.

Michael Matsos opened Michael’s Sirloin Room in 1958. Its Southside location quickly became a hot spot for both quality food and the famous sports figures and Hollywood entertainers it served.

“Outside of Birmingham, you’re not going to know the name Michael’s,” said General Manager Eric Murphy.  “It’s affiliated with Birmingham. It’s affiliated with Alabama football. Bear Bryant hung out at the original Michael’s, and Bob Hope hung out there with him. It was not uncommon to see a big name person when you came into Michael’s.” Continue reading

Restaurant Showcase: The Little Donkey

Homewood native Joshua Gentry holds an order of Chiliquiles (pronounced “chili-killies”) as he stands by shelves of fresh produce and a machine that grinds corn in Little Donkey’s kitchen. Photo by Madoline Markham.2821 Central Avenue

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

A machine from Mexico grinds corn to be freshly pressed into tortillas. The smoker cooks only whole hogs from nearby farms with humane practices. A wood-burning oven bakes bread for street sandwiches. The kitchen at Little Donkey renders fat from pigs for tamales, squeezes the limes for their margaritas, and grills and smokes arbol chilies and habanero peppers for earthy tones in their salsa.

“We wanted real Mexican food that isn’t dumbed down and all melty cheese,” Chef and Managing Partner Joshua Gentry said. “We wanted to be respectful to this culture and their food.”

The kitchen goes through six cases of tomatoes a day and boxes of organic avocados that are shipped the day they are picked in Mexico.

Something about this fresh, local, authentic concept has attracted huge crowds since the restaurant opened in the old ABC store location in April.

“I thought we would have to be out on the street explaining our food to people,” Gentry said. “But we are busy like it’s spring break or something.”

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Edgewood Catering/What’s 4 Supper

By ANNA CATE LITTLE

Rob and Kelly Bright started Edgewood Catering in 2003. Photo by Anna Cate Little.

Pharmaceutical sales don’t usually conjure up images of food, but for Kelly and Rob Bright, it was their meal ticket, so to speak. In 2003, when pharmaceutical reps were luring in doctors by way of catered, in-office lunches, the Brights found their livelihood emerging from their very own kitchen. They knew they liked to cook and must have been pretty good at it, because at a moment’s notice they agreed to cater a 25-person lunch for a drug-rep neighbor and friend. The chicken tetrazzini was a hit, and from there the calls started rolling in.

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The Best of Homewood 2012

By ASHLEY BERKERY, CRAIG KLEIMEYER & MADOLINE MARKHAM

The Homewood Star would like to thank everyone who voted in our first Best of Homewood competition. Congratulations to all our winners.

Best Coffee Shop
O’Henry’s Coffees
O’Henry’s helps us start the day off right with fresh muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls and of course a hot cup of coffee. Their coffee beans are delivered fresh to the store every week, and you can choose from up to 45 coffees by the pound. It’s the perfect study spot and also great for catching up with a friend. 2831 18th Street South, 870-1198. 569 Brookwood Village, Ste. 101, 870-1148.
Runner Up: Hart and Soul

Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Best Hamburger

Best Hamburger
With a variety of hamburgers and hot dogs plus Cajun-style fries cooked in pure, no cholesterol, peanut oil, this place is hard to beat. Also, you can choose as many free toppings as you want for your burgers or dog. And to top it off, they offer the delicious complimentary roasted peanuts. 585 Brookwood Village, 414-8459
Runner Up: Hamburger Heaven

Best Barbecue
Saw’s BBQ
Saw’s Sauce is so good you can now find it at grocery stores all over the country, but all those other places don’t get to eat red or white sauce atop Saw’s tender pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs like we do here in Edgewood. The barbecue institution also offers all the barbecue fixings we love as well as stuffed taters. 1008 Oxmoor Road, 879-1937
Runner Up:  Jim N Nick’s Bar-B-Q Continue reading

O’Carr’s Restaurant: Restaurant Showcase

Cameron and June Carr hold their famous chicken salad and fruit plate. Photo by Brooke Boucek.

By BROOKE BOUCEK

Women flock to O’Carr’s in downtown Homewood for their chicken salad and fruit plate.

“This is where I tell all my single friends to come to lunch and meet all the pretty girls,” owner Cameron Carr joked.

Even so, this popular girly lunch spot has its roots in rock n’ roll.

After opening an ice cream parlor/deli on 18th Street in 1975, Cameron and his wife June started catering for Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Dolly Parton, Styx, Little River Band and other various performers on tour in Birmingham. The couple, who had started off working for Kentucky Fried Chicken, often worked from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. to feed the crew and performers.

“I remember Styx wanted green M&M’s so we had to go through packages of M&M’s just to pull out the green ones for the show,” Carr said. “We even catered a requested Thanksgiving dinner for Billy Joel to eat with his crew.” Continue reading

Taste of Homewood set for Feb. 23

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Ruth Chris Steakhouse serves a taste of their menu at last year’s Taste of Homewood at Rosewood Hall in SOHO.

Love for Homewood can usually only be rivaled by love for a a Pastry Art baby bite, Demitri’s barbecue, a Pinches taco, a Nabeel’s gyro, an O’Henry’s coffee, a Jackson’s Cookie Dough Egg Roll, an Urban Cookhouse orange roll, or whatever your favorite Homewood dish may be. Fortunately, we can get a taste of all Homewood’s dining scene in one place once a year.

The annual Taste of Homewood event will take place Thursday, Feb. 23, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Rosewood Hall in SOHO.

There will be food and drinks from around 50 vendors. Entertainment will be provided by Alan Barlow.

“Taste of Homewood gives you the opportunity to experience Homewood’s best in food service and catering vendors and an opportunity to socialize with other folks from Homewood,” said former Homewood Chamber of Commerce president Phillip Poole. “It’s a wonderful showcase for what our city is all about.”
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Where to find king cake in Homewood

Homewood Gourmet owner Chris Zapalowski with a king cake. Photo by Brooke Boucek.

Traditional New Orleans king cakes are available around Homewood.
The cake is traditionally  eaten forthe Feast of Epiphany in January through the Mardi Gras Day, the day before Ash Wednesday. The hollow, circular shaped cakes represent a crown and are decorated with purple, green and gold colored sugar. These classic carnival colors represent justice, faith and power.

Inside each cake, a small prize is hidden, usually a plastic baby, pecan half or a dried bean. According to tradition, the person who finds the small prize is to provide the king cake at the next party.

Homewood Gourmet sells authentic King Cakes with an older Creole tradition prize of a half pecan. The plain cakes with cinnamon brown sugar are $25, while the cream cheese cakes are $30. The cakes are 16 inches and should serve about 15 to 20 people. Call 871-1620 to place an order.

Savages Bakery sells king cakes for $17.95 that should serve 6 to 8 people.  The cake comes in cream cheese or cinnamon with the baby and decorative beading on top. Call 871-4901 to place your order.

Publix on Green Springs will be selling two different sized king cakes. The large ($7.49) serves about 15 people, and the smaller cake ($5.49) should serve 8 to 10 people. For more information, call 944-1101.