Andrew Zimmern loves to eat in Birmingham.
The celebrity chef and TV host has thrown a spotlight on the city several times in the past, on shows such as “The Zimmern List,” “Bizarre Foods: America” and more.
Now Zimmern, 60, offers his kudos to more than a dozen Birmingham restaurants via his newsletter and blog, Spilled Milk.
“One of my favorite spring destinations has to be Birmingham, Alabama,” Zimmern said in a Wednesday Facebook post. “It’s one of the hottest and tastiest small food cities in the country and makes for a fun food vacation. Over a long weekend, you really get a sense of what a place is about. I love The BHAM!”
The Facebook post included a link to Spilled Milk, which details Zimmern’s thoughts on the best food Birmingham has to offer. He heaps praise on Eagle’s Restaurant, Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q, the Irondale Cafe, Saw’s Juke Joint, Ovenbird, Automatic Seafood & Oysters and more.
While it’s true that Zimmern seem a bit behind the times — one of his picks, Sam’s Super Samwiches, is still prepping a new location and another, Highlands Bar & Grill, has yet to reopen post-pandemic — it’s still a kick to see his choices for the best places to eat in Birmingham. Here are a few examples:
Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q: “This isn’t news to anyone: Miss Myra’s is lauded by every magazine, website, travel guide. And it is that good. The smoked chicken in Alabama white sauce is spectacular, the ribs are outta’ sight and the banana pudding is without peer.”
Eagle’s Restaurant: “Nestled in the shadow of a nearby cast iron pipe factory and catering to its workers, no place speaks to Birmingham’s roots quite like Eagle’s. It’s a no-frills, long-standing meat-and-three. Think mains like pork chops, pork necks, turkey wings, spaghetti and meatballs, and beef tips and rice served with hearty sides like mac and cheese, collard greens and butter beans.”
Saw’s Juke Joint: “Enjoy dinner-and-a-show, Birmingham style. Saw’s Juke Joint is the third incarnation of Mike Wilson’s 2009 original restaurant. With regular live music and an unpretentious ‘upscale dive’ vibe, it hearkens back to barbecue’s more raucous, crowd-pleasing roots. Go for the perfectly smoky, low & slow barbecue (pulled pork and ribs, arguably the best in town), and stay for the live music.”
Blue Pacific: “I love food with a story, and Blue Pacific has a fantastic one. In 2015, Sam Aroonsakulwongse started making Thai food out of a Hoover Mart. Yes, a gas station. Once word spread about his incredible Thai food, the line went out the door. Today, it’s no longer a gas station but a restaurant (though the original Hoover Mart sign remains). Go for chicken wings, curries, and pad Thai — I know pad Thai seems really ubiquitous, but this one is a gem.”
Zimmern’s list in full, in the order he presented it:
- Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q
- Irondale Cafe
- Bogue’s Restaurant
- Sam’s Super Samwiches
- Highlands Bar & Grill
- Market at Pepper Place
- The Essential
- Bandit Patisserie
- Eagle’s Restaurant
- Automatic Seafood & Oysters
- Trattoria Zaza
- OvenBird (and Hot & Hot Fish Club)
- Blue Pacific
- Saw’s Juke Joint
- Shu Shop
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