Restaurant Listings: Meat-and-Three
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.
Don't see your favorite restaurant here? e-mail us and give us the details!
5803 U.S. 280 East
As Deeana Crider said in an August 2008 City Scene review, "Lloyd's is frozen in time." The 71-year-old restaurant features steaks accompanies by baked potato, fried onion rings and salad; lots of fried seafood; fried chicken; and traditional Southern vegetables like fried okra, squash, turnip greens and mashed potatoes.
1101 2nd Ave. N., downtown (near I-65)
Founded in 1951, Niki's serves 13 meats and 32 vegetables daily cafeteria style, plus traditional Greek dishes like pastitsio, souvlaki and Greek-style chicken, as well as breakfast. According to Southernfoodways.com, "Born in Greece, George Sissa grew up in Birmingham, where his father ran a handful of restaurants downtown, including the Terminal Café. George bought Niki’s Downtown from the Hontzas family (the same Hontzas family line that still has Niki’s West) in the late 1980s and is serving up some traditional Greek fare, Southern specialties, and the absolute best fudge pie anywhere."
233 Finley Ave. West (just north of downtown, near the Farmer's Market)
Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although it's billed as "Niki's West Steak & Seafood Restaurant," it's better known -- and nationally recognized -- for its extensive steam table. Frequently honored for its meat-and-three in local newspaper polls. From Gayot.com: "Lemon-pepper catfish, baked Greek chicken and country-fried steak are recommended, and it's hard to miss with the vegetables." Roadfood.com says, "The theme of Niki's place mat is oceanic, and the baked fish Creole is terrific, but it's vegetables that star." But we go there for a fix of old-style fried shrimp and seafood that reminds us of childhood memories of Panama City Beach.
2651 Pelham Parkway (Hwy. 31)
Breakfast and lunch. Owned by George Sarris, previously owner of the Sarris Seafood & Steak. Desserts by Karen Bean, who owned Karen's Cafeteria, formerly in this space. Lunch entrees include two fresh vegetables. Sample entrees are beef sirloin tips over rice, chopped sirloin steak with onions, baked Greek-style chicken with rice, fried snapper, blackened grouper, roast beef, turkey with cornbread dressing, stuffed pork loin, and souvlaki. We found it to be pretty average.
1603 Center Point Parkway (Eastgate Shopping Center)
According to City Scene's 2004 review, white tablecloths and fresh flowers dress up a cinderblock storefront. Go early, or you risk chicken and dumplings with gummy dumplings and dried-out macaroni and cheese. High marks, however, for beef stew, chicken pan pie, squash casserole, fried green tomatoes, creamed corn, green beans, fried okra, and carrot cake. Lunch only.
348 Finley Ave. West (just north of downtown, near Farmer's Market)
Breakfast and lunch. Lunch is a long steam table with "a million or more vegetable choices," wrote City Scene's Tom Gaskin. Entrees include items such as chopped chicken and dressing, baked chicken, fried chicken, chicken livers, grilled or fried grouper, grilled or fried snapper, shrimp Creole, beef tips. Review gave high marks to fried grouper, shrimp Creole, fried green tomatoes, creamed corn, squash casserole, lemon pie, and recommended it for "hearty, local, well-prepared food at very reasonable prices." Formerly owned by the Hontzas family, but a fellow Greek with years of experience in the Birmingham restaurant scene, Adam Lyberopoulos, is now the owner/chef.
328 12th Street South
Breakfast and lunch. "A Southside tradition since 1973." Family owned and operated, this "meat 'n three" features menus with eight entrees and 15 vegetables served daily. There is also a wide selection of homemade desserts including several varieties of pies, banana pudding, and baklava. A full breakfast is also served every weekday.
1801 4th Avenue South (downtown/Southside)
A newer offshoot of Ted's Cafeteria, offering lunch and take-home dinner specials.
1006 Oxmoor Road, Homewood (Edgewood)
Quick and casual meat-and-three -- order and pay at the counter, and it's served on styrofoam and plastic. A June 2009 review in City Scene said the food is a good value, with quality on the better side of average.
75 Church St., Crestline Village, Mountain Brook
Tracy's was long the place to go for meat-and-three in the Southside/UAB area, and in July 2007 opened a second location in Crestline Village. The Southside location closed in fall of 2008 (although that's not reflected on their web site). Besides its famous steam-table lunches, Tracy's offers salads and sandwiches as well as hot breakfasts cooked to order. A July 2007 City Scene review of dinner at the Crestline location praised the "filling, down-home weeknight dinners" and "the friendly folks behind the counter," singling out grilled chicken, collard greens, ripe backyard tomatoes, boiled cabbage, lima beans, chicken pot pie, squash casserole, cheeseburger, peach cobbler. Fried okra and fried green tomatoes were were inconsistent.