Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blaze Pizza: Serving At The Speed Of Light

Birmingham's south side is growing faster than you can imagine. With several medical facility & business expansions happening, restaurant growth is at an all time high.
Blaze Pizza is one of the new kids on the block. The restaurant is  located on the corner of Richard Arrington Blvd & 7th Avenue South near UAB hospital, on the street level of The Waites, a mixed use residential & retail development. 

The restaurant's "Fast Fire'd" custom built pizza concept is definitely a hit with the busy locals in the area. In a society where everyone wants good food fast, Blaze Pizza is happy to accommodate. With an oven flaming at 535 degrees, pizzas are hot & ready to eat in 180 seconds.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere is bright with a moderate amount of seating. There is table seating and large booths in the rear of the restaurant. Actually they are large enough to probably seat 6 to 8 people. The menu boards are clearly visible right above the assembly line. 

Staff: The staff at the Birmingham location is filled with rock stars. Every customer that walked in was treated like a welcomed friend. The customer service standards here appear to be extremely high. I overheard as the concept was explained to all first time guests. The more you know, the more you go! Everyone was amazing!

What I had: The assembly line is filled with tons of fresh pizza toppings. More than my eyes could handle.

I opted for one of the pre-designed Signature pizzas. My delicious Green Stripe Pizza was hand crafted using fresh dough, topped with garlic, mozzarella cheese, chunks of chicken, red peppers, arugula with a drizzle of pesto. I decided to modify mine a little by adding green bell peppers, onions and olives... and extra cheese.

My side salad consisted of the Tomato & Mozzarella salad: wild baby arugula, romaine, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, red peppers and balsamic dressing.

 For dessert, I tried the S'mores Pie. Mmmmm just hot, gooey sweetness all smushed together!  You get the idea. 

To wash it all down, I had a cup of ice cold blood orange lemonade. 

Additionally they serve beer & wine and have countless other pizza combinations. 
For more information about Blaze Pizza, visit BlazePizza.com   

Visit them between the hours of 10:30 a.m. & 10 p.m.
707 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd South
Birmingham, AL 35233
(205) 378-3888
 Follow them on social media @BlazePizza 

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


Monday, April 9, 2018

The 2018 Mudbugs & Music Event

It's that time again! The 2018 Mudbugs & Music event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation is happening on May 5, 2018 at the popular Cahaba Brewing Company
This annual pet friendly event welcomes craw fish lovers from far & wide. 

Come join us as we raise money for the Arthritis Foundation and enjoy live music from The Dozens Band  and Stephen McCullough.

Along with craw fish from Shindigs, there will be tons of kids activities as well as a silent auction & more! 

I get excited about local fundraising activities. I'm even more excited about this event because the 2018 honoree for this years event is someone that I have personally known since before she was born. Ella Grace Young, is a very talented young lady who  lives with JIA (juvenile idiopathic arthritis). 

After learning about this honor, we had a conversation about the event and what it means to her. 

Ella Grace
"Being the honoree of this event definitely makes me feel a part of a community. A lot of my friends think that only older people get arthritis, but being a teenager with JIA (juvenile idiopathic arthritis), I feel a part of a community of kids my age that are all dealing with the same thing. Camp Mash is a summer camp for kids with arthritis just like me. In fact, I met my best friend at camp and she doesn’t even live in Alabama! Knowing that so many other people my age are dealing with arthritis is comforting.  It also makes me so thankful to God that I can participate in events like this and those in the future."


"I hope that the organization of Mudbugs and Music and all future events like it will open up an environment for other kids to feel the upsides of dealing with arthritis. I know how weird this will sound but besides dealing with the pain, I am kind of thankful for having JIA!  With the way the Arthritis Foundation has supported me and so many other kids, I am actually happy that I’m able to be apart of things like this."

When asked if she plans to eat any of the craw fish, she responded,  "The irony is that I’ve never actually had craw fish before but I do plan on trying some at Mudbugs and Music!"

MAY 5,2018
1:00-6:00 p.m.
Cahaba Brewing Co
4500 5th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35222

Click here to purchase MudBugs & Music Tickets 
If you can't make it to the event, click here to DONATE 

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

PROFILE: A Place To Hang Your Apron

This story is VERY near & dear to my heart. 

From childhood to adulthood, I ate at the Costa's Barbecue near Finley Boulevard in Birmingham. From blocks away, you could smell & see the smoke billowing from the chimney. Not only was it a place to get good food, it was a place where I had memorable moments with family, colleagues and developed many new friendships. The food & service were great! The ribs, the chicken, the veggies, the pies..... Ahhhh, the memories. 

Unfortunately they closed a few years back. 
Fast forward to 2018, this property is now available  & waiting on a new occupant! 

I recently did a phone interview with the current owner, Curt Ruttle, who is very familiar with the history of the Costa's brand and is passionate about making sure the building is occupied by someone with a potentially successful, but unique concept.

Here are the details: 
  • Although Costa's began it's operations from this site in 1983, the building is still in GREAT shape. 
  • Seating Capacity - approximately 85
  • It has drive through window capabilities
  • It has an alarm system
  • Several pieces of equipment will come with the building
  • There is approximately 4,100 square feet on the main level
  • The upper level is approximately 800 square feet inclusive of office space and dry storage
  • High visibility location with nearly 30,000 vehicles traveling the area daily
  • One block away from the historic Alabama Farmer's Market
  • The address is 2201 4th Place West Birmingham, AL 35204 
  • Surrounded by tons of established businesses
  • Only minutes from Downtown, UAB & Birmingham-Southern College
  • Fast access to I-20 & I-65
If you are not looking to open a meat & three, this would be a great option to expand your existing business, transition your catering or food truck business into a brick & mortar location. There are already two popular meat & three concepts in the area.

Smokehouse Steaks & Seafood is directly behind it and their business is booming. However, they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Nikki's West is a block up and their business is booming as well. Lots of people coming to eat in this area.
There are major future renovations planned in areas surrounding this property. 

A corporation just bought the Food Terminal directly behind this property and they will be adding over 500 employees to their roster over the next year and they will be working 3 shifts. The Hwy 78 bridge expansion  will be completed within the year as well.

If you would like to set up an appointment for a showing, please contact, Curt Ruttle via email cruttle007@gmail.com. Serious business inquiries only.  

Share this story with an aspiring chef! 

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

*Click on the interior & exterior photos below to enlarge

Monday, March 26, 2018

HOP TO THE CHOP: Celebrate Easter Sunday at Perry's Steakhouse & Grille with Pork Chop Special

Hop to the Chop this Easter with a Delicious Meal at Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
Opening at 11 a.m. Easter Sunday

This Easter Sunday, gather around with the whole family for an all-day dinner menu at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille (4 Perimeter Park South, Birmingham, Ala. 35243). On April 1, Perry's will open at 11 a.m. to serve guests their favorite succulent steak and seafood dishes. In addition, a three-course Easter Supper Special will be served for $34.95 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and includes a choice of salad, Perry's Famous Pork Chop and the popular Dessert Trio, making it the perfect meal for ending Lenten fasts. Easter Sunday Social Hour in Bar 79 will also be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., with $9 cocktails and Bar Bites.

To start, choose between the Caesar Salad, Butcher’s Chop Salad, Pear and Candied Pecan Salad, Wedge Salad, Spinach and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette Salad or Kale Salad with Jalapeño Mint Vinaigrette.
Moving on to the main course: Perry's Famous Pork Chop. A mouth-watering prime chop measuring seven fingers high as an ode to the measuring system used by butchers back in the day, the pork chop is sourced from Midwestern farms and butchered in house from the pork loin. Once cut, it's rubbed with proprietary seasoning, cured and roasted on a rotisserie with pecan wood for up to six hours until its sweet, smoky and sizzling. Upon order, the chop is glazed, caramelized, topped with Perry's signature herb-garlic butter and carved table side. The pork chop is plated as three portions: the "eyelash" (the most marbled, tender, melt-in-your-mouth section above the eye of the chop), three baby-back ribs and the center-cut loin for the ultimate comforting indulgence.

Finish on a sweet note with Perry's Dessert Trio featuring three of Perry's finest sweets: Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée served with fresh berries, Praline Cheesecake and Perry's Chocolate Crunch, which is crunchy milk chocolate covered with a dark chocolate ganache, served with homemade whipped cream, toffee and peanut brittle.

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille began as a modest butcher shop in 1979 and has remained true to its meat market roots with its butcher-fresh USDA-aged prime beef.  In addition to Perry’s Famous Pork Chop, a recipe perfected over 39 years, the award-winning menu also features a symphony kabob of Filet Mignon, Lobster and Shrimp, Chateaubriand with three signature sauces, fried asparagus and other classics with a modern twist. A variety of desserts include flaming creations prepared table side such as the Nutty D’Angelo.

Located at 4 Perimeter Park S., Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille’s regular restaurant hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Bar 79 is open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On Fridays only, Perry's is open for lunch, offering its lunch and dinner menus as well as a special lunch-cut serving of its signature Pork Chop complemented with whipped potatoes and homemade applesauce for $14.95 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reservations can be made online or by calling 205-968-1597.

About Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille has earned a faithful following by perfecting prime since 1979. Beginning as a small butcher shop, Perry’s has grown into a renowned group of award-winning restaurants featuring USDA Prime beef, table side carvings, signature selections, flaming desserts and handcrafted cocktails at its Bar 79. Specializing in a Rare and Well Done experience, Perry’s currently operates 14 steakhouse locations in Birmingham, Chicago, Denver and across Texas, as well as the two original butcher shops now known as Perry & Sons Market & Grille. For more information and updates on Perry’s Steakhouse, please visit www.PerrysSteakhouse.com.

Follow Perry’s Steakhouse on Facebook (Facebook.com/PerrysDining), Twitter (@PerrysDining) and Instagram (@PerrysSteakhouse).

Via: Perry's Press Release

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

EVENT: The 2018 Magic City Wine Fest

It's that time again! 
The 2018 Magic City Wine Fest is approaching and wine lovers from near & far will convene at The Birmingham Zoo on May 12, 2018. 

Presenting sponsors Jaguar of Birmingham & Land Rover Of Birmingham welcome you to this 2nd annual event benefiting The Birmingham Zoo which will feature wines from across the world. Wines will be provided by International Wines & Craft Beer.

There will be food available for purchase from a variety of Birmingham area restaurants. 
According State law and ABC regulations there will not be “unlimited free samples.” Therefore, the ticket price is your admission to Magic City Wine Fest. Once inside the festival, you will be charged $0.01 for each one ounce serving.  This "Penny a Pour" donation will be collected at each wine table where guests can drop a penny in for each drink.

Entertainment will be provided by jazz legend, Vann Burchfield, a musical Guinness World Record holder. 

This is a rain or shine event. No one under 21 will be allowed. 
The event will take place from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Ticket categories available will be  as follows:
  • VIP $69.00
*Fees & taxes will be additional. This event WILL sell out.


 Purchase tickets: http://www.magiccitywinefest.com/Tickets

The Birmingham Zoo
2630 Cahaba Road
Birmingham, AL 35223

Monday, March 19, 2018

Guest Post: Elizabeth Wood Covers Healthy Dining in Birmingham

 If I didn't know better, I'd think that you'd cheated on your "first of the year, gonna start eating healthier" challenge that you set for yourself. It's okay!
There is still time to get back on track. If you have diet restrictions or maybe need to eat a little less of this or that, it can be a real struggle especially if you eat on the go.

When dining out in Birmingham, there can be lots of temptation. After all we have some of the most notables chefs, restaurants and food festivals in the nation.

Check out this article on choosing healthier options while dining out in Birmingham by guest writer Elizabeth Wood, founder, co-owner & baker at The Joyful Food Company.

Eating healthy can be hard enough to do at home, but when you are on the go, it becomes even more difficult. If you have dietary restrictions, it becomes harder still. My family follows a mostly Paleo diet for health reasons. In fact, our health journey was the inspiration that led to me opening The Joyful Food Co. As we've navigated this lifestyle, we've learned a few tricks along the way.

If you are dining out with a group, you may not get a say in where you end up, so it's important to have an idea of what to order in many different situations. If I'm going to a new spot, I like to view the menu ahead of time online and call with any questions--this is especially important if you have a dietary restriction. Try to call during a slower time (not lunch or dinner) so that the person helping you will have more time to answer any questions you have.

Restaurants like steakhouses, BBQ places or popular casual dining spots will typically offer large entree salads that you can top with a grilled or smoked protein. Salad dressings can be a source of lots of extra fat, calories and preservatives, so sometimes, I bring my own along!  If you haven't planned ahead for that, ask for oil and vinegar or olive oil and a lemon wedge to squeeze on your salad. Another safe option is to order a grilled protein with a vegetable, for instance at Redlands Grill, a NY Strip with a side of broccoli would work well!

When going out for Mexican food--Tecate is our local favorite--avoid the chips! Ask the server to not even to bring them--they are too hard to avoid when they're on the table! Fajitas are a great healthy option--choose your favorite protein and ignore the tortillas.  Meat, veggies, salsa, and guacamole are all delicious and much better to fill up on than chips and cheese.

While fast food is definitely a no-no, fast casual eateries are offering lots of healthy options! For instance, at Chipotle, you can even order a Whole30 compliant meal! Their salad, topped with carnitas, pico de gallo and guacamole is hearty and healthy! Most fast casual burger joints offer gluten-free buns for those of us who can't tolerate gluten, however, the healthiest option is to omit the bun altogether! Have them wrap your burger in lettuce or serve it on a bed of greens. Choose sides that aren't fried, if possible. Locally, Baha Burger offers seasonal fruit, FarmBurger offers apples and carrots with sunbutter and Twisted Root offers a pickle bar!

It isn't necessary to become a hermit and miss out on Birmingham's amazing food scene just to be healthy. The more often you try new restaurants, closely examine the menu, and ask questions of the staff, the easier it will get!

If you are gluten intolerant, check out my blog post listing my 10 favorite Birmingham restaurants to get a delicious gluten-free meal!

Elizabeth Wood
Founder, Co-Owner, Baker

Baron's Catering Team Hit's A Home Run With New Menu Items

Forget peanuts & Cracker Jacks. The Birmingham Barons & Parkview Catering have changed the game with their new contemporary concessions menu.
Executive Chef Nick Tittle has whipped up a few new items that are sure to score points with Barons fans. 

I was recently invited to attend private media event hosted by the Baron's marketing team to get a sneak preview of their "new" concessions bites and try out the existing fan favorites.  

The new Chicken & Waffles features two mini waffles as sandwich buns with a boneless fried chicken cutlet drizzled with sweet maple syrup (syrup available on the side as well). 

 *Click photos to enlarge

The Irish Nachos – a boat of crispy french fries topped with pulled pork, hot melted cheese, savory bourbon sauce, and chives – are the perfect indulgence. Fans can find the Chicken & Waffles in the Magic City Grill food court down the 1st baseline, while the Irish Nachos will be available at every concession stand at Regions Field.

Smokehouse Honey wings & traditional Buffalo wings are also going to be a popular item on the concession menu. The wings are served with ranch dipping sauce and a couple of fresh celery sticks. Thankfully they stuck to tradition when it came to the traditional Buffalo wing recipe. The Smokehouse Honey wings were awesome! I liked the fact that they were lightly sauced, but full of flavor. 

Also new to concessions stands this year is Gold Peak Tea, a Coca-Cola product.  Gold Peak’s product line at the ballpark will feature refreshing green tea, peach tea, and of course sweet tea – a Birmingham staple.

The Barons will also be introducing new alcoholic drink products through partner Miller/Coors.  On a hot summer day, a refreshing Arnold Palmer Spiked (half iced tea, half lemonade) with alcohol in a 24oz can will quench fans’ thirst.  New lime and pineapple flavored crisp light beers from 2 Hats will accompany Peroni, an Italian pale lager, for the more adventurous palate.  

Parkview Catering is the official in-house food service provider of Regions Field and the Birmingham Barons.  In addition to the concessions food, they provide premium catering services to the luxury suites and party areas nightly at Barons games.  They also serve up-scale dining and catering for Regions Field’s over 120 special events yearly including weddings, fundraisers, meetings, and parties.

The Barons open their season on April 11 at 7:05 p.m. at Regions Field.  
The ticket office at Regions Field is open MondayFriday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tickets to upcoming games can be purchased at  http://www.milb.com/tickets/singlegame

Thanks for reading & sharing!
See you at the field! 

The Birmingham Restaurant Raider


Friday, February 23, 2018

That Hot New Spot Called Metro Diner

If you're looking for a restaurant that has it all, Birmingham's Metro Diner is tailored for you. 
Known for their great breakfast and even more amazing lunch & dinner menus, Metro offer an outstanding variety of just about everything to suit every appetite. 

After hearing rave reviews and having many people recommend this place, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and decided to journey down to Metro Diner for lunch. 

I arrived during the peak of the lunch rush and was greeted & seated within seconds. My drink order was taken pretty quickly. It was a challenge to be starving and having to watch all of the other customers receive plates piled high with different menu items such as burgers, chicken & waffles and other mouth watering dishes. 

Atmosphere: Metro Diner has the ultimate "retro" diner feel. The decor is old school yet modern. There is booth & table seating. The restaurant is spacious enough to accommodate a moderate crowd.  

Staff: The server on my first visit was very attentive. The orders are taken table side with an electronic tablet style device. I studied the menu before arriving so the ordering process went like lightening.

What I/ We had: On my first visit I went solo. I had the Meatloaf Plate. If you order this, please warn your taste buds. The flavor is MIGHTY! You'll get 2 thick slices of their famous meatloaf, a warm baguette and a helping of deliciously seasoned grilled veggies & red skinned mashed potatoes that ARE better than your mom used to make. Thank goodness for the baguette bread, I needed something to wipe my plate!

On my second visit I went with a lunch mate. 
I wanted to try something different so I opted for the Chicken Salad-Salad, an extra large scoop of their home-made chicken salad made with grapes, celery, mayo & pecans on a bed of garden salad w/ a vinaigrette dressing. 

My companion had their home-style pot roast, a generous helping of beef roast & slow cooked vegetables with red skinned mashed potatoes and gravy & a baguette. 
Both dishes were extremely delicious, but extremely filling. 

Overall experience: Impressive. Metro Diner is a great place to dine. The atmosphere was good, the food was good and it's definitely a great place to go with a group with different appetites. I definitely plan to go back. The only issue that I had was that they were out of the salted caramel cheesecake on my first visit. I was, however, able to eat a slice on the 2nd trip. I scarfed it down before I could take photos. (Sorry) It's a popular seller and I recommend ordering it when you place your food order just so you don't miss out. 

For more information on Metro Diner visit https://metrodiner.com/
Twitter @metrodiner
Instagram @metrodiner 

180 Inverness Plaza
Birmingham, AL 35242

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

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Eating Healthy Has Great Taste At The Joyful Food Company

Did you make a diet change at the beginning of the year and are finding it hard to stick to eating right? Did you make it through your Whole 30 plan?

Well, if not, don't feel bad. Lot's of people fell off of the wagon after a few short weeks. As your gym membership collects dust and your healthy meal kits sit lonely in the fridge, I just want to let you know that there's hope!

The team at The Joyful Food Company has everything you like to eat and more! As Alabama's only 100% Paleo/Gluten friendly food store, they are capable of catering to many of us with special diet requirements or those of us that just want to "clean up" our diets.

*Click photos to enlarge

Elizabeth & Rebecca, the delightful owners of the Joyful Food Company have developed a delicious menu that is not only healthier than most, but actually tastes amazing! They have baked goods, weekly features, guilt-free snacks and even family sized meals. Among the heat & eat family meals are the ready to bake Shepherd's Pie & their infamously delicious Paleo Chili. These items and more can be found in the coolers inside. 

On my recent visit, I was given the opportunity to learn about all of the wonderful products they offer. Their website displays an impressive menu. Whether you are looking for gluten free, nut free or dairy free products, there is definitely something to suit your needs.

 In addition to their own great grab-and-go products, the store is stocked with several local brands. There are popular items from Hornsby Farms,  Piper & Leaf, hand crafted aprons from Thimbletree Studio and much, much more.

 For my lunch I had the Cranberry Walnut Chicken salad bento box. In addition to the chicken salad,  was a serving of plantain chips, savory nut mix and a small serving of salsa. I'm a chicken salad snob. This chicken salad was THE BOMB! It also comes in much larger sizes in their take home containers. 

 For desert I had a couple of their scratch made Chocolate Chip Blondie's. Now, I know you're wondering how can something that sounds SOOOO good be healthy AND taste good. Well trust me on this one. The Blondie's are made using almond butter, free range eggs, honey, organic/fair trade chocolate chips, sea salt & baking soda. Theses melt in your mouth sweets are definitely going to fly off the shelves.

I topped it all off with an ice cold lime flavored LaCroix Sparking Water from their beverage cooler.

For more information on the products listed above or for delivery, please visit thejoyfulfoodco.com/
Use Promo Code JOYFUL at check out for 15% off your first order. Follow them on Instagram @thejoyfulfoodco/
Check out their Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/thejoyfulfoodco/

Thanks for reading & sharing this story!  
Enjoy additional photos below.

Thimbletree Studios Aprons

Grain-Free Granola Snacks

Piper & Leaf Tea

Elizabeth, Owner/Baker & Rebecca, Owner/Chef

All products are stamped with a shelf-life date.