Thursday, August 17, 2017

REVIEW: The Craft Burger

As their facebook page reads "Simple, fresh ingredients, cooked with craft. No precious over-priced fanciness. Just plain good. AN HONEST BURGER FOR AN HONEST BUCK."

I ventured out with a friend to have lunch at Brava Grill off of Caldwell Mill Road and wouldn't ya know it.... SWITCH-A-RONI! They were not there anymore.
Their meaty replacement had taken over the location with a new spot that specializes in hand crafted burgers & much more.

The Craft Burger is a new, fast-casual, burger joint that keeps it simple. Their menu is not 10 pages long or too complicated. They offer a variety of burgers, "craft dogs", sandwiches, salads, beer, wine & shakes.

The decor didn't really change, except for a few minor differences. However, the concept is a lot different that the previous restaurant.

On my first visit I tried the Turkey Burger: seasoned ground turkey on a bun accompanied by their house made basil mayo, arugula (no tomato for me) and a side of their seasoned fries. This was a pretty good turkey burger. I typically don't order turkey burgers at restaurants because they just never compare to my personal "secret"  recipe. However, I finished every bite of this one. Kudos!

*Click photos to view larger images*
My friend opted for the buffalo chicken salad: A very generous portion of Romain lettuce, red onion, tomato, fresh sliced cucumber, shredded cheese and a good sized helping of moist , grilled chicken chopped and tossed in buffalo sauce, with a side of ranch dressing.

On a separate visit, I decided to try the Craft Burger: ground top sirloin, grilled to moist perfection, on a bun with onion, a slice of American cheese, onion, lettuce and their "secret" craft sauce. Wonder what's in it? πŸ˜•


I also had a hand made cookies & cream milkshake. It was a little camera shy so no pix.
However, if you're a shake lover I will let you know that you WILL be impressed with the straws for the milkshakes. FINALLY... a large enough straw.

The staff was great! Friendly and very proud of the menu and all of it's offerings.
I was disappointed that Brava was gone, but I think The Craft Burger is here to stay. They should see a great deal of success here in this busy shopping center.

For more information about The Craft Burger,
visit & "LIKE" their facebook page at
Follow them on twitter at @TheCraftBurger

Thanks for reading & sharing.
Most of all, thank you for supporting these business owners.
Their staff depends on your patronage. I do this for them.

The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
"Anonymously Raiding a Restaurant Near You"
Phone: (205) 995-0003
Hours: 11-8 Daily

If you received this review via email, please go to to view the colorful full version of the site.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

EVENT: King Of The Grill BBQ Cook-Off

My favorite things in the world, Mom, Dad & Barbecue. I won't say in which order I rank them. I don't want to offend my parents πŸ˜‰ HA!

The Growing Kings organization is hosting their very first King Of The Grill Barbecue Competition and you do not want to miss this. This event will combine fundraising with the opportunity to enjoy lots of barbecue samples provided by all of the competitors.

Growing Kings is a Birmingham based mentoring organization that has approximately 500 kids in grades 4-12 participating in various developmental & education activities. Founded in 2009, the organization has worked hard to transform the lives of young men throughout our city so that they may become productive members of society under the guidance of passionate mentors.

At this time cook team slots are STILL available. Restaurants and corporate sponsors are more than welcome to sign up. The registration fee starts at $250 for "general" cook teams. The competition will be judged by individuals from Platinum & Presenting level sponsors.

The event will take place on Saturday August 26, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Parking will be available around the perimeter of the competition. Just go to the area blocked off on 55th Place South 35212 between 1st Ave North & 1st Ave South.

Dishes will be judged based on Taste, Aroma, Appearance, and Team Spirit. Teams will competing for a chance at six different highly coveted titles: Best Chicken Dish, Best Pork Dish, Best Beef Dish, Best Sauce, People’s Choice, and Best Overall. Along with bragging rights, the winning teams will be presented with a custom King of the Grill trophy.

EARLY BIRD $15.00 TICKETS are available now, but going fast! There are only a limited number available.

For more information on this event, please email

Can't make it to the event?
The kids would love your donation. Visit

Thanks for reading & sharing this story!

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
"Anonymously Raiding An Event Near You"
Connect on Twitter @GrowingKings
On Instagram @growingkings
On Facebook  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SNEAK PEEK: The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Prior to opening, I was invited to test out the menu at the new Birmingham location of The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar located in the Summit Shopping Center (7/24/17). Now I know you're asking yourself "Why on earth would anyone want to merge a sushi menu with a burger menu?"
A genius. That's who!

I know the mascot is funny looking and some people just might not get it. However, once you get a taste of this outstanding fusion menu, you will definitely taste the greatness.

For this adventure, I enlisted one of my comrades to accompany me. It's always a great experience to share a meal with someone with a culinary background & an appreciation for "different" food & beverage concepts.
As a part of the soft opening, we were required to make reservations via the reservation system.

After arrival and a short wait, we received a text message as soon as the table was ready.

As we took our places amongst all of the other preview party attendees, we noticed the trendy, indoor scenery. The interior of the restaurant was colorful and inviting. The helpful staff members, including corporate trainers, were all dressed in black and scurrying around to take orders and deliver delicious meals.

We ordered an appetizer of Blackened Tuna Nachos: 5 wonton chips with Crab Rangoon Dip, avocado salsa, tomatoes, seared rare blackened yellowfin tuna and micro greens.
I would highly recommend this to even a person who has no desire to try something out of the norm. It was in my opinion, an amazing appetizer.

 *Click photos to view larger images*
Blackened Tuna Nachos 


 Our entree's consisted of the Texas Longhorn Burger: Half-pound beef burger, cheddar cheese, onion strings, jalapeΓ±o bacon, tangy BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, brioche bun & a side of sweet potato fries. 

The 2nd entree was  from the Burgushi menu. The Fusion Specialty Bento Box: A combo meal featuring both a small burger and sushi, including the featured mini-burger of the week; which was the Jalapeno Popper Show Stopper Burger, sweet potato fries, Thai cucumbers, edamame and choice of a 4 piece Fusion Specialty roll. In this case, the  Blackened Tuna roll.

Both were spectacular entree's.

To top things off, who could resist the options listed on their Hand Spun Milkshake menu. We both tried the vanilla Cake Shake: Vanilla bean ice cream hand-spun with the guest's choice of Vanilla or Chocolate birthday cake mix. And YES, this milkshake contains bits of cake. Thank me later. 

Birmingham is proud to welcome the Cowfish family to the community. With their attention to detail, their amazing hospitality, they are sure to be a huge success and become one of Birmingham's "go-to" spots. Not only do they cater to sushi & burger lovers, but they offer a wide variety of filling sandwiches and entree sized salads. Need a gluten sensitive or vegan option? Cowfish has got you covered! Just look for the indicators next to the menu items.
Thanks for reading & sharing, 

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
"Anonymously Raiding a Restaurant Near You"

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar 
105 Summit BLVD
Birmingham, AL 35243
(205) 967-3600

Twitter @The_Cowfish
Instagram @thecowfishsbb/ 


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1st Annual Magic City Mac & Cheese Fest

The first time I heard about this event I could not believe my eyes! A festival dedicated to one of my all time FAVORITE foods! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Community Grief Support of Birmingham in conjunction with Avondale Brewing Company will be hosting the first annual Magic City Mac & Cheese Festival on Sun, August 6, 2017 from 1-4 PM. 

This festival is less of a competition and more of a celebration of one of America's most popular dishes. 
Attendees will have the opportunity to try several versions of mac & cheese prepared by some of Birmingham's most popular restaurants and chefs. 

Early Bird tickets are still available at $15.00 per adult. Children ages 6-12 will be admitted for $5.00 and kids 5 & under will be admitted FREE! 
Buffalo Rock will be on site with non-alcoholic beverages for sale. Stop by the bar at Avondale Brewing Company to pick up your favorite local brew. 

Early ticket purchases are HIGHLY suggested as this event is sure to draw a huge crowd. Tickets will be $20.00 at the gate. 
Although this is technically not a competition, all of the mac & cheese recipes will be judged by a group of pre-selected tasters. (What a hard job)

"Community Grief Support is a safe place where people grieving the death of a loved one can find hope and healing and meet with others who have had this experience and understand. Together they learn how to regain control of their lives in an environment of care, comfort and healing." They offer counseling for individuals, couples & families.

Be sure to stop by the donation table. 
Can't make it to the festival? Donate to CGS at

Drink Responsibly. Get A Lyft!
Avondale Brewing Co is located at 
201 41st Street South
Birmingham, AL 35222 
* Streets will be blocked off so arrive early for the best parking selection*

Thank you for your support & thank you for sharing this info! 

The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
Anonymously Raiding A Restaurant Near You! 



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Come Celebrate As D's Tamales Turns 10!

If you are a loyal customer of D's Tamales in Hueytown, Alabama then this message is for you.

On Saturday July 15, 2017 D's Tamales will be closed for business but open for fun! Come help  celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the restaurant. The staff would like to thank all of it's regular customers who support them day in & day out by giving you a day of fun-filled activities, prizes, music & more! The fun will take place from 11-2 on Saturday.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a chair. This will come in handy as you chomp down on your free food! (while it lasts) Prizes will be awarded throughout the day via random drawings.

There will be children's activities & a wing eating contest for the first 10 people to sign up. The wing eating contest will begin at 1:00 p.m.(tentatively depending on weather). If you'd like to participate, just look for the sign up sheet.

Come out, bring the kids and some comfy chairs. Kick back for a few hours and enjoy the day.
If you can't make it out, stop by for lunch or dinner. They are open from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. on week-days. They have some of the BEST authentic tamales in town!

The Birmingham Restaurant Raider is proud to be one of the media partners for the 10th Anniversary Celebration at D's Tamales! 

This was one of the first of many restaurants reviewed by The Birmingham Restaurant Raider. 
Happy Anniversary!

Follow them on Twitter @DSTAMALES


258 Forest Road
Hueytown, AL 35023
Get a LYFT

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Event: Zoo, Brews & Full Moon BBQ

Get ready Birmingham! It's time once again for the 3rd annual Zoo, Brews & Full Moon Barbecue event at the Birmingham Zoo! This event is a barbecue & craft beer lover's dream.🍻🍻🍻

This is one of the most popular events in the city. Attendees will have a chance to have a catered dinner provided by  Full Moon Barbecue. There will be entertainment by Alabama based Park Band Music. A live demonstration by Avian Adventures Free Flight Bird Show. Also making an appearance will be the Talladega Super Speedway pace car  & street team.

Sounds like a ball of fun, right?

In addition to all of that, over a dozen craft beer breweries will be on hand to provide some of the best cold brews from all over the state & the southeast. Not into craft beer & wine? Well, don't despair. There will be lot's of non- alcoholic beverages for you!

In case you can't get a sitter πŸ‘Ά, there will be a kids activity area and the exciting new
Pirate Train Ride, friendly animals and MORE!!!

This event will take place on Saturday June 17, 2017 from 5:30p.m-8:30 p.m. at the zoo.
Purchase your tickets EARLY! 
Infants (under 3): FREE
Under 21: $20
Designated Driver: $20 (purchase under 21 ticket)
Over 21 after April 21: $35


The Birmingham Zoo also offers memberships packed with tons of benefits! 

For more information on regular zoo hours, booking a meeting space or a special event call the friendly folks in the office at (205) 879-0409

Thanks for reading & sharing!
~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
"Anonymously Raiding A Restaurant Near You"

Don't have a designated Driver? Get a LYFT

Saturday, June 10, 2017

REVIEW "Get Your Fix At Cookie Fix!

MMMM... Have I got a warm gooey story for you! There are certain smells that are easily identifiable to me: fresh cut grass, mom's famous meatloaf and fresh baked cookies.
I recently had the pleasure of stopping in to visit the team at Cookie Fix, one of Homewood's newest go-to spots. Located in the popular SoHo section of town, Cookie Fix has already developed an impressive clientele and an even more impressive reputation. When you walk inside, the smell of fresh baked cookies smacks you right smack dab in the face.

They are a "small batch" cookie shop that features a selection of daily hand crafted cookies that are available in "ready-to-bake" dough form or hot & fresh out of the oven. They even sell mini cast iron skillets to use when baking the individual cookies.

The staff was amazing. They gave great details about the business and the process. A friendly face is definitely always the icing on top of a dining experience.
My box of cookies included:
  • Traditional Chocolate Chip
  • The Presidential Chocolate Chip
  • Oatmeal Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel
  • Healthy Peanut Butter: flour-less with lower butter & sugar content
  • The White Trash: white chocolate, pretzel & toffee
  • The M&M Chocolate Chip
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk
  • And their brand spanking new item, The Coffee Oreo Chocolate Chunk
 I know that was a mouthful. I had a little taste of them all and YES..... They were all amazing.
 The bad part about this is that the cookies are so large that you might be forced to share.

* Just a little serving suggestion by yours truly, all of these would go great with a scoop of Bluebell Bride's Cake ice cream and I think you will definitely be in heaven.

For more information on how you too can get your Cookie Fix, visit their website at
2854 18th Street South
Homewood, AL 35209
Follow them on Facebook
Twitter @cookie_fix

Thanks for reading & sharing!

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
"Shhhh....Anonymously Raiding A Restaurant Near You!"
Don't Drive Get a Lyft

*Click to enlarge Images*

Fresh Baked Specials

Hand crafted & ready for the Cookie Fix ovens

Ready To Bake

Pick up a cookie fix t-shirt

The mini cast iron cookie skillet


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Fig Tree Cafe' " The Total Package"

I'm often asked to describe the best place in town to grab a________________ (fill in the blank)
Most of the time I can narrow down a place that has great seafood, great drinks or great steaks.
Well, I'm excited to tell you guys that a couple of weeks ago I found a place that has great EVERYTHING.

The Fig Tree Cafe, a recently renovated  Birmingham based restaurant in the Cahaba Heights area, has managed to nail everything. Expect the unexpected at Fig Tree. This team strives to create one of the most memorable dining experiences ever. Chef JP Holland, a self taught chef, works effortlessly to ensure patrons nothing but the finest quality when it comes to the farm-to-table dining experience. In order to do that, they go several steps further by being hands on when it comes to how the cattle is raised & what they consume. Their cattle is not fed your average run-of-the mill diet. I won't give away the secret, but I could definitely taste the quality in every bite.
The Fig Tree offers a wide variety of locally produced ingredients in pretty much all of their dishes.

We decided to let the chef recommend  & prepare dishes for us. We started out with an order of insanely delicious crab cakes. OMG! I can still taste them. They were made with "fresh from the dock" succulent crab claw meat. Next we were delighted to try the (Alabama grown) fried green tomatoes, accompanied with the PERFECT version of a remoulade sauce.

Delivered from the custom built bar, our cocktails consisted of two of their signature cocktail specials. One was the the Citradelic Martini containing Titos Vodka, ginger syrup, lemon & basil. Also on the table was the Cucumber Mojito, a mixture of Bacardi rum, cucumber lime mint puree, Agave nectar & soda. Drink mixing definitely is a craft here. Any cocktails that contain fruit contains only the freshest fruits. The cucumber flavor in the mojito was just right. Both drinks were perfect pairings to our main entree's. πŸ‘Œ

My entree consisted of their "fresh-from-the-dock" salmon. This was a large, thick cut of perfectly grilled salmon placed upon a bed of fresh, perfectly grilled veggies. Again, their seafood is NEVER frozen.
My dinner companion had the 12 oz rib eye steak accompanied with delicious truffle fries. Not a combination I expected, but it was a great selection.

In addition to amazing, high quality food & drinks, the cafe offers private dining for  larger groups, an impressive brunch menu, and more!
If you're looking for a great spot for a special occasion or to impress that someone special,
The Fig Tree in Cahaba Heights is the total package.
Reservations are HIGHLY recommended.
The best dates to get into this popular spot are Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. Otherwise, you just might find yourself on a wait.
Thanks again to Justin, Brandon & Chef Jon for the outstanding hospitality.
For more information about the Fig Tree Cafe, visit their website at

Reservations can be made by calling (205) 249-0312 OR look for them on  
Get a LYFT to The Fig Tree Cafe
Thanks for reading & sharing,

The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
"Anonymously Raiding A Restaurant Near you"

                                                     * Click Images to Enlarge*

C/O Intermark Group
C/O Intermark Group

The 12 oz Ribeye (always fresh)
Fried Green Tomatoes w/ Remoulade Sauce

Crab Cakes

Citradelic Martini
The Bubbly Selections

The Salmon