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Jul 3, 2010 04:58 PM

Nikki's, Irondale Cafe or BHam BBQ.............

Passing through Monday. Where would you stop for lunch.

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  1. Nikki's on Finley! Irondale Cafe is really overrated. Nikki's on Finley is much much superior.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ms. Finiky

      I agree with Nikki's on Finley. One of a kind. Back to your barbecue question: Saw's is great.

    2. Speaking of 'cue, has anyone been to M&M Barbecue and Catering on 1st Ave North near 41st?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Dax

        I've had lunch there (come to think of it, I think it's a lunch-only place) a couple of years ago and was a little underwhelmed.

        (a.) I've only been there once
        (b.) Everybody has so-so days

        If you decide to check it out, please report back...

        1. re: deepfriedkudzu

          M&M's barbecue is not the star of the show there. They do a daily meat and 3 that ranges from good to great. Old fashioned style: Chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, country fried steak, lasagna-if memory serves.

          Nice folks running the place and they've been serving the neighborhood for a good long time.

          Back to the original question though. Passing through Bham with only one lunch before getting back on the road?

          Bright Star in Bessemer for Snapper Throats, a Greek Salad and one fresh vegetable from a long list. Not cheap by any stretch but it houses Nikki's.

          Does anyone know what happened to the families that owned Smokehouse across from Nikki's. The Hontzas' and Gerontakis' ? The Smokehouse Hontzas were cousins of the Hontzas that currently own Nikki's West. They sold the ol icon a few years back and upon my return visit, after a stroll down the steam line, I turned and walked out. Shameful to see what happened to best meat and 3 in Birmingham.

          At any rate.So many questions I'll start a new thread down the road.

          Bright Star Restaurant
          304 19th St N, Bessemer, AL 35020

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            Ah, you know I just got on to mention that M&M really should be considered a meat & three place more than a barbecue place. Thanks, scrumptiouschef, as you're exactly right.

            And not only that, but you're exactly right about Bright Star, which is where I had supper tonight (the trout amandine is up to $26. We eat there 8-12 times a year and just noticed that there seems to have been a pretty big increase in menu prices). Over in the alcove where the showcase is was a historic marker that I guess that they're about to put up - not sure when, Jimmy and my father-in-law were talking about it.

            Want to mention, too, that August 26-28 or 29 is their Taste of New Orleans annual event, and Tory McPhail of Commander's is coming in as chef. Nice. See you there!

            Did anyone else see - I think my husband said it was in the Bham News today - that Walgreens will be going in on Clairmont but that the firehouse will be spared? It's planned that Bogue's will move in to the firehouse. Pretty interesting...

            As far as the Smokehouse, it's my understanding that the sweet older man who ran it forever sold it to his nephew. I think that was about four years ago. I'm not certain if the nephew still runs it, but you're right that it has declined. Really declined.

            Bright Star Restaurant
            304 19th St N, Bessemer, AL 35020

            Bogue's Restaurant
            3028 Clairmont Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205

            1. re: deepfriedkudzu

              Thanks for your response DFK. Since it's forbidden that a hound would ever mention that they may have their own site I'll mention it for you.


              Is a sweet trip through the Deep South. Lots of eating and drinking going on by the kudzu family. Well worth a visit even if you only want to check out some first rate photography.

              Just to stay on topic. I'll bet either the Hontzas or Gerontakis clan have regrouped and opened up another restaurant in Alabama. I'd be willing to bet they have nothing to do with the current pitiable state of Smokehouse.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                Gerontakis now owns Gus's Hot dogs in Crestline

      2. Can't wait to get inveterate blogger Littleman's trip report on the lunch he had passing through B'ham a week or so ago.

        Which lunch establishment did you hit up Littleman?

        1 Reply
        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          We were headed to Oxford, MS from Pine Mountain, GA. On the way down we stopped at Jim and Nick's which was good but nothing special. On the way back everyone got hungry early and we ate at Golden Rule in Sylacauga. It was much better than J&N's. We thought we would make it up to I 20 and hit Irondale Cafe or Nikki's going around on the W side of Bham but we had to stop early to feed the crowd with us.

          Golden Rule
          50 Oxford Exchange Blvd, Oxford, AL 36203