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Meat Me in Birmingham

14 April 2008

For years, BBQ and grilling in Birmingham meant the likes of Dreamland, Full Moon, and Golden Rule.  Two recent entries into the region, one traditional and one international, bring cooked meat to a new level.  These are now my two favorite new restaurants in town.

You’ll find me at least once a week at lunch, dinner, or drinks at Moe’s Original BBQ which opened several months ago in Vestavia Hills.  Beyond the world-class banana pudding, one claim to fame is that they cook their food every day fresh and sell it until its gone.  They have closed plenty early on some weekdays when there’s a run on their BBQ pork, some of the most tender pulled pork imagineable.  Of course, they’ve got ribs and great sides too.  The restaurant got its start in Vail, CO and then expanded to Orange Beach, AL.  Thankfully, the owners (residents of Vestavia) decided to open up a location in their own backyard… and soon they will have a 4th location open in the Birmingham’s central city business district.

About 12 blocks south of Moe’s new downown location in Five Points South is what I think is the most exciting new restaurant in recent memory.  FiRE+iCE Improvisational Grill opened about 3 weeks ago and thankfully for my family took out a 1/4 page advertisement in the Birmingham Weekly in this past issue.  We had visited a Mongolian BBQ restaurant on a family visit to California and fell in love with grill-to-order meat and noodles, wishing there was *something* like it in Birmingham.  So, looking at this advertisement, imagine our surprise that that something had arrived!  We dropped in around 3pm on Sunday afternoon just after they were clearing out the ‘brunch’ items, but we enjoyed a great meal and equally awesome service.  It wasn’t the least expensive option for dinner for 4 in town, but the lunch special price of $7.95 will move this to the top of my list of business lunch locations in the future.  The food was by far better than the place in California and is much more than just noodles and meat.  Read this explanation to understand the concept.

This restaurant is the 5th location of a concept started in Boston, MA.  3 locations in New England, 2 out west (Livermore, CA will open soon), and now 1 in Birmingham!!  Their next restaurants aren’t queued up for Atlanta, San Francisco, or New York… no, they’re at two international cities: Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Panama City, Panama (not Florida).

So, I offer y’all the above ven diagram to show what two great restaurant concepts have in common… our region.  I’d love to know what caused the proprieters of FiRe+iCE to choose Birmingham.  If you know, drop me a line… or, look for me at either restaurant enjoying a great meal and tell me in person.

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