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Dec 17, 2010 12:50 PM

Lunch in Birmingham AL

Passing thru on a road trip near 20 and 65 Hwys. and looking for a good place for a casual lunch. Preferably local place-no chains. Thanks Birmingham!

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  1. Get off I 20 around Exit 125 and go S to 1st Avenue. Turn N on 21st Street to John's for good comfort food for lunch or dinner. Closed on Sunday.

    John's City Diner @ 112 21st Street North, Birmingham, AL 205 - 322 - 6014.

    8 Replies
      1. re: Littleman

        We haven't been to Johns City Diner, but used to go to John's a few times a year. Do they still have the cornbread sticks to go with the cole-slaw (which I see is now a side dish?) And what about the sweet rolls?

        1. re: Jannae

          I quit going to John's when they stopped being classic, old-line Birmingham and had their renovation...what, six or seven years ago now? It was such a big change that I think it put a lot of people off, me included. If I'm remembering correctly, their outpost in Trussville closed just this year. I tried it once. Eh.

          If you look at the entrees on John's menu now ( it's so jumbled:
          chicken & waffles
          mojo tacos
          crispy duck
          ...but to be honest they have 'diner' in their name so I realize they're trying to find a good mix. I just remember when they were like some sort of downtown cousin to the Bright Star. Good Greek food. Lots of fish. Those fabulous old blue/turquoise booths. Waiters who had literally been there for decades.

          Jannae, I think they are still doing the cornpones and sweet rolls but can't be certain.

          I would not, though, suggest John's for an out-of-towner looking for one lunch in Birmingham.

          SCgal, casual no-chain lunch is easy to come up with -- would you like to be a little more specific? Are you looking for meat & three? Barbecue? There are a couple of places not too far off the interstate and you could eat at a Frank Stitt restaurant for lunch in a casual setting for not too much more money than anything else...

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

          1. re: deepfriedkudzu

            I am looking for the same thing. I am bringing a group to Birmingham in the Spring and want a non-chain restaurant. Suggestions please for groups? Thanks!

            1. re: haileyjm

              What part of town. I love Highland's Bar and Grill.

              1. re: Littleman

                I don't think Highland's is currently serving lunch. Chez FonFon and Bottego Cafe are the only Stitt places that serves lunch.

                1. re: sheilal

                  Urban Cookhouse
                  Brick and Tin
                  Trattoria Centrale
                  Chez Fon Fon
                  Bottege Cafe
                  these are all located a matter of mins from the I-65 I-20 interchange and all have websites w/ menus.

                  1. re: sheilal

                    Oh, and for a more upscale type lunch Cafe Dupont is a great option!

        2. I love local and especially family run resturants. I started a blog about my favorites in Birmingham. The blog is Birminghams Best Lunch. I try to list meals I really like not just the resturant.

          My very favorite hamburer is at Sammy's Sandwich Shop ( be sure to get the right Sammy's) - Hot Dogs is a longer list, there are many, Tacos I like Camp Taco - cool new food its Urban Cookhouse - odd sandwich's Momma Goldberg (small chain) - for Philly Cheese go to Gus's in Crestline - Bar Food, Otey's in Crestline (blackened chicken sandwich rocks) - Chinese Takeout - Chop Suey Inn - Deli - Chappy's unless you want a Ruben then its Max's.

          If you want to read more try

          Chop Suey Inn
          813 Green Springs Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35209

          Sammy's Sandwich Shop
          4921 Messer Airport Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35212

          1 Reply
          1. re: birninghamsbestlunch

            Sorry, BBL, but I don't agree on several of your best lunches, especially Chop Suey Inn and Chappy's, and in my opinion there are many better taco places than Camp Taco(although I realize I'll get a fierce argument on that one).
            Even if I disagree, however, I do look forward to checking out your blog.

            Chop Suey Inn
            813 Green Springs Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35209