Restaurant Listings: Casual
Hint: To see restaurants in this section in a particular area of town, click on the category name indicating "Hoover," "Downtown," "South," etc., below each listing.
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611 Doug Baker Blvd. (Village at Lee Branch, off Hwy. 280, between Inverness and Greystone)
It's a chain with over 100 locations, but you won't find fondue regularly anywhere else in Birmingham. Designed for sharing, you can have classic cheese fondues for an appetizer, cook your own meat and vegetables fondues for an entree, and chocolate fondue for dessert. Reservations advised for weekends.
2200 First Ave. North (Goodall Brown Building)
This is one of a small chain of franchised operations, but it's such a nice addition to downtown we had to list it. It's a beautiful space in the loft district, comfortable and sophisticated with a definite urban feel. While obviously the focus is on wine, there's also a menu of light fare designed to complement the wines. Options include baked brie with lavender honey, shrimp and blue cheese wrapped in puff pastry with Thai chili sauce, wild mushroom and manchego bruschetta, oven roasted lamb lollipops and mushroom tart, artisan cheese plate, filet mignon salad. We liked the baked brie, found the wine list a little pricey but thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. The Birmingham News' Fletcher Harvey, in a 2007 review, enjoyed the charcuterie board, calling it "a good value for the price," and escargot vol au vent, which "could have been served a little warmer, but the sauce made up for any shortcomings."
2846 18th St. South, Homewood
An emphasis on wood-fired meats and farm-fresh product from Alabama farmers, featuring sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a few "Fork & Knife" entrees, such as a wood-fired shrimp kabob and chipotle-braised pork. A couple of the more unusual options include their take on the cheesesteak, the Urban Cowboy, featuring their lime-marinated steak and pepperjack cheese; and the BALT, a Blt with the addition of avocado. One of the house specialties is a sweet and tart homemade strawberry lemonade, but they also have soft drinks and a small selection of beer and eco-friendly wines. Also a number of take-home dinners, tubs of salads, and bake-at-home orange rolls by the dozen.
1623 Fourth Ave. North, downtown
Serving Caribbean cuisine for eat-in and take-out, including jerk chicken, curried chicken, brown stew, fried fish, steamed fish, red beans and rice, curried goat and curried shrimp. Dishes are often spicy.