Construction work has started on downtown’s newest restaurant, a venture of Tom Saab (managing chef at the Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham) and Joey McClure Commercial Real Estate. Located in a 20th Street storefront between 2nd and 3rd Avenues North (above), a peek at a preliminary menu promises a French/Low Country riff with items such as crab cake sliders, chicken and mushroom crepes, and chocolate souffle. The interior has been designed by LCS Designs, and will have a full bar. Lunch and dinner (both table service) are slated to start later in the fall.
Around the corner, rumor has it that the Meelheim Building (above, 2nd Avenue North between 20th and Richard Arrington) is being eyed by new tenants: a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, and event space upstairs. This restaurant would also serve both lunch and dinner.
And around the other corner on 3rd Avenue North between 20th and 19th Streets, the Speakeasy bar (rear signage, above) is poised to change hands, get renovated, and reopen as a bar/lounge with event space above. We’re big fans of the sign on the alley facade, and hope the new owners have an equally compelling graphics package.
Finally, while on the topic of food and drink, the Birmingham City Council mercifully delayed consideration of new regulations for food trucks yesterday. These regulations would particularly affect those trucks that regularly serve downtown; other cities (a food truck in downtown Washington, DC, above) have managed to find equitable ways to regulate this dynamic, growing movement. In our opinion, food trucks and “bricks-and-mortar” restaurants complement each other and are two totally different business models. They should both be encouraged to thrive, not hampered with excessive regulation or pitted against one another. More restaurants, more bars, and more food trucks make us happy.
[thanks to mrTinDC for the food truck photo]