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 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
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
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
Posted in Business Spotlight, Community News, Restaurants
Tagged Alabama, Best Barbecue, Best Brunch, Best Chicken Salad, Best Cleaners, Best Coffee Shop, Best Garden Shop, Best Hamburger, Best Meat and Three, Best of Homewood, Best Place to Exercise, Best Salon, Best Wings, Birmingham, Brio, Downtown Homewood, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Garden Shop of Homewood, Homewood Diner, Hunter's Cleaners, Oak Hill Bar and Grill, O’Carr’s, O’Henry’s Coffees, Restaurant, Restaurants, salon U, Saw’s BBQ, The Homewood Star, Zaxby’s
By MADOLINE MARKHAM
Sam’s owner Sammy Graphos wears a Birmingham-Southern shirt in support of HHS graduates he knows who now go to school there. He serves hot dogs, breakfast, and other “samwiches” from his 40-year-old restaurant on 18th Street daily. Photos by Madoline Markham.
Inside the narrow alley-shaped storefront of Sam’s on 18th Street is a wall that marks four decades of business. Plaques commemorate owner Sammy Graphos’ award-winning hot dogs and hamburgers as well as his and wife Sue’s involvement in the MS Walk. Photos of Graphos’ grandchildren and customers’ Christmas card photos are updated each year. There are signed photos of Bear Bryant and Mason the tornado dog, whom customer Dr. Bill Lamb rescued after the April 2011 tornados.
Forty-five-year Homewood resident Graphos, 70, has been working behind the grill at Sam’s Super Samwiches for 43 years. The first three years he co-owned the restaurant with his brother Pete, then called Sneaky Pete’s, before selling out that franchise.
Graphos now serves the kids of the kids who grew up eating his hot dogs “regular” (sauce, sauerkraut, mustard and onions) or “special” (with spiced ground beef) and his fresh-made hamburger patties, also topped with sauce.
Hot dog restaurants like Pete’s, Gus’ and Lyric all coined a similar sauce when they opened in the mid-1900s, but Graphos said his is the best.
By KATIE STEWART
Connie Kanakis, who co-owns DoDiYos with George Sarris, in front of the restaurant’s 45-seat bar. Photo by Katie Stewart.
Walking in to DoDiYos, you can’t help but feel like a part of the family. The smells wafting from the kitchen are reminiscent of scents from your own home cooking. Sitting down at your table, it’s impossible not to realize the legacy of the Greek families behind the restaurant.
“Their recipes are still cooked in this kitchen,” said Connie Kanakis, one partner of DoDiYos. “We wanted to honor them and their generations of taste. What better way to do that then naming the restaurant after them?”
Three items on the Mediterranean menu in particular memorialize the family of partner George Sarris.
Sarris’ mother, whose name translates to Dorothy in English, is the “Do” of the restaurant name. She was famous for her chicken with orzo made with onions, garlic, olive oil and tomatoes, as well as some herbs. The dish is still made the same way at the restaurant. Continue reading
By MADOLINE MARKHAM
Homewood Gourmet owners Chris and Laura Zapalowski. Photo by Madoline Markham.
Homewood Gourmet serves the kind of food a really good home cook with lots of spare time would make—with the added flair of a chef. Its homemade sandwiches, salads, desserts and dinners taste gourmet but not so gourmet that you couldn’t bring their food to a party and pretend you had made it yourself. It’s real food that tastes good.
“We try to make as much as we can,” said chef Chris Zapalowski, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife and fellow chef, Laura. The couple bought it from longtime chef and owner Franklin Biggs last year.
You can stop by the storefront right off Highway 31 near TCBY for a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich and seasonal soup or, our favorite, a Baby Blue Salad; there’s a good reason Southern Living published the recipe for baby greens with honey-balsamic vinaigrette, blue cheese, spicy pecans, oranges and strawberries. Continue reading
By MIA BASS
Nabeel’s owner John Krontiras. Photo by Madoline Markham.
With its house-made Greek dressing, gyros and other signature dishes, Nabeel’s is, without a doubt, a Mediterranean staple. And with the care for customers marked by the name plates on the booths commemorating regulars and its central, walkable location, it is, without a doubt, Homewood. The only point of confusion is that it is owned by not a Mr. Nabeel but by John Krontiras, who bought the restaurant from Nabeel Shunnarah 19 years ago.
This restaurant is a melting pot of Krontiras’ Greek heritage, his wife, Ottavia’s, Italian heritage and a nod to original owner Shunnarah’s Lebanese upbringing. The original menu under Krontiras consisted of only two items: The Camelrider (the original sandwich coined by Shunnarah) and the Greek Salad, using only the finest fresh feta cheese and olives.
An integral part of the Homewood community, Nabeel’s supports functions for local organizations like the Exceptional Foundation, Homewood Police Department and Homewood Senior Center. Continue reading
By Alison Grizzle
Veal Parmigiana at Lovoy’s.
Some of my earliest childhood memories of Lovoy’s restaurant entail “Aunt Anne” sitting at the cash register and the red-and-white checkered table cloths with the paper placemats that made for great coloring tablets. My family often reminds me of the night there when I drew a picture for the president – a sketch of the White House with a picture of grits on the dining room table.
For years, I ordered the baked manicotti. Once the plate hit the table, it was only minutes before it was clean. The plate was not only clean of the manicotti but also all of the sauce, which I would sop up with the basket of garlic bread that was delivered with every meal. One of the great things about Lovoy’s is that the meal was never a surprise. I always knew that it would be exactly what I expected and would never be a disappointment.
As I grew older and learned that variety added a bit of spice to the restaurant experience, I started to explore other dishes and have found just as much pleasure from the Italian sausage and green peppers, ravioli, and baked lasagna. I also learned to slow down and not hoard all of the garlic bread. Regardless of my order or my eating strategy, Lovoy’s has never left me dissatisfied.
Lovoy’s has a long, rich history in Homewood and is truly part of the city’s tradition. The restaurant recently moved to SOHO, and their recent facelift has given the restaurant a fresh, classy look while maintaining the high-quality, delicious food that we have all grown to expect.