Birmingham and Jackson, MS
We are going to see the inlaws and will stop through Birmingham for a night. We are staying in the 5 points area. I would love a good casual lunch and dinner recommendation. We will have our 1 yr old with us so we can't go anywhere too fancy.
Then we will go to Jackson for a few days. I would love some good dinner spots and also a lunch place that serves oysters. My wife and I are hoping to get out by ourselves for a night while we have some babysitters. Thanks!
The immediate 5 Points area has some really excellent choices, some good choices, and, unfortunately, places you should stay away from at all costs (IMO). Definitely avoid the 5 Points Grill! They have okay sandwiches, but everything else is inedible. It's too bad they have such a primo spot on the corner with outdoor dining.
Jim & Nicks has good bbq (not fabulous, though) and is very family friendly. Cosmo's pizza has excellent pies. Try their "Favorite" with proscuitto & sundried tomatoes. Yum! Chez Fon Fon is a bistro with a fairly traditional menu. It's not stuffy and their pate' is wonderful. They also have the best hamburgers in the city voted by local readers. La Mesa is fairly new and I haven't eaten their yet. I've heard generally good things. It's a small plates kinda place. Highland's Bar & Grill is most definitely not a child friendly place. It's one of only a few fine diing establishments in town. If you like thai, try Surin West for either lunch or dinner. Their duck is always cooked to perfect! They have good sushi too. Bottega is actually 2 restaurants in one location. They offer a more expensive "fine dining" room next to the "Cafe" which is more casual. It's italian and both are very good. The Cafe's mac & cheese is rich enough to be an entree. 26 is very good for a casual lunch. It might be a bit noisy for dinner with a baby though. Ocean (next door to 26) has some of the best seafood in the area. The lobster pot pie is to-die-for. Hot & Hot Fish Club is what I would consider upscale casual. A bow-tie away from fine dining.
That's about it for the immediate area (excluding the pancake house, starbucks, etc.) There are plenty of places just a couple of miles away that you would probably enjoy too. The Lakeview area is close (8-12 blocks) or so It really depends on your tastes, ethnic-food preferences/aversions, willingness to drive, etc. Below are a few sites that lists many of the areas restaurants AND their menus. Peruse them and then ask back about specific places.