10 meat and three restaurants we love in Birmingham, including Johnny’s, Eagle’s and the Paw Paw Patch

Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Johnny’s Restaurant’s Instagram page

Collard greens cooked into submission, mounds of mashed potatoes with gravy lakes and trays of crispy fried chicken. What? A James Beard Foundation semifinalist too? If you haven’t tried these meat and three restaurants in Birmingham, then get to it.

1. Bogue’s Restaurant

Loved by America for breakfast, equally loved by Birmingham for lunch!

  • Address: 3028 Clairmont Avenue South, Birmingham Alabama 35205
  • Hours: Monday through Friday 6 a.m.-2 p.m. | Saturday 6 a.m.-noon | Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Bogue’s Restaurant’s Facebook page

Situated at the entrances of Highland Park and Forest Park neighborhoods, Bogue’s Restaurant has been dishing out Southern hospitality and comfort food since 1938. Bogue’s gets attention nationwide for its breakfast, but Bham Now reminds you not to miss its tasty meat and veggie plates at lunch.

2. Carlile’s Barbecue

Daily meat and three specials, barbecue and the WINNING burger of Birmingham Burger Fest 2018

  • Address: 3511 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35222
  • Hours: Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Carlile’s Barbecue’s Instagram page

The brothers Carlisle opened Carlile’s in Birmingham in 1945 after returning home from serving in World War II. Why the spelling? They got the idea from the Armed Forces’ misspelling of the family name in one of their records.

3. Eagle’s Restaurant

Authentic soul food from the Rucker Family since 1951

  • Address: 2610 16th Street North, Birmingham, Alabama 35204
  • Hours: Sunday through Friday 10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. (closed on Saturday)
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Eagle’s Restaurant’s Facebook page

If food guru  Andrew Zimmern visits a restaurant twice, it’s got to be good. That’s Eagle’s. Zimmern first featured Eagle’s on his show “Bizarre Foods America” in 2013, and he returned for a second helping this June. Only a mile from the Jefferson County Farmers Market (in the same neck of the woods as Niki’s West), the vegetables are always fresh.

Alongside your fave meat and three fare, Eagle’s serves soul food dishes that other establishments tend shy away from—oxtails, chitterlings and pig feet, ears and neck bones. And they do it awesomely.

Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Peach cobbler and banana pudding. Photo via Eagle’s Restaurant’s Instagram page
4. Fife’s Restaurant

Keeping downtown Birmingham full and happy since 1956

  • Address: 2321 4th Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Simple on the outside, brown paneling on the inside, Fife’s is a meat and three for locals in the know. (Ahem, now you’re in the know.) They make a mean breakfast, too.

JH Daniel, content producer for Bham Now, likes Fife’s for a cheap breakfast downtown, especially before heading to the library or the courthouse. Gotta fuel up for that research!

5. Fried Green Tomato’s

This is what we call a sequel!

  • Address: 615 Montgomery Highway, Suite 132, Hoover, Alabama 35216
  • Hours: Sunday through Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (closed on Saturday)
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Fried Green Tomato’s Instagram page

Opening in Hoover in 2015, Fried Green Tomato’s is the spinoff of the famed Irondale Cafe, which is next on our list. With the same owners and equally yummy menus, how do you choose between the two? Well, are you closer to Irondale or Hoover?

6. Irondale Cafe

The real-life inspiration behind the Whistlestop Cafe in Fannie Flagg’s “Fried Green Tomatoes”

  • Address: 1906 1st Avenue North, Irondale, Alabama 35210
  • Hours: Sunday through Friday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (closed on Saturday)
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Irondale Cafe’s Facebook page

Irondale Cafe began in 1928 as a hot dog stand. Miss Bess Fortenberry purchased the business in 1932 and, with the help of Lizzie Cunningham and Sue Lovelace, grew it into a thriving meat and three. The book/movie connection? Fannie Flagg is Fortenberry’s niece.

Bham Now’s own Cindy Martin loves the fried okra at Irondale Cafe. “It’s perfectly prepared so that it is slightly crisp but tender too. You can tell that it is made from scratch,” she says.

7. Johnny’s Restaurant

James Beard Foundation 2018 semifinalist for best chef in the South!

  • Address: 2902 18th Street South, Suite 200, Homewood, Alabama 35209
  • Hours: Sunday through Friday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (closed on Saturday)
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Chef Timothy Hontzas (left). Photo via Johnny’s Restaurant’s Instagram page

Chef Timothy Hontzas keeps it local, fresh and seasonal at Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood. Opening in 2012, Johnny’s continues a family legacy of meat and threes that began with Hontzas’ grandfather (that’s Johnny!) and pays homage to his Greek heritage. Order Southern faves alongside spanakopita and keftedes (meatballs).

The Parmesan grit cakes at Johnny’s are a Bham Now staff favorite. Top ’em off with a dash of hot sauce.

8. Niki’s West Steak and Seafood Restaurant

A veritable smorgasbord of meat and three goodness

  • Address: 233 Finley Avenue West, Birmingham, Alabama 35204
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Niki’s West’s Facebook page

Fried chicken, Greek chicken, beef tips, colorful fresh Southern veggies and towering pies. Whatever comfort food you’re craving, you will find it on the steam table at Niki’s West. And if not, you can order steaks and seafood off the menu at this beloved Birmingham institution founded in 1957.

“I love everything at Niki’s West because it tastes like my Nana’s. Try their Trout Almondine off the menu.”—JH Daniels, content producer, Bham Now

Now run by brothers Pete and Teddy Hontzas, who took over the business from their father Gus, Niki’s West is another example of the Hontzas family legacy of Greek-Southern deliciousness in Birmingham.

Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Mmmm, chocolate pie. Photo via Niki’s West’s Facebook page
9. The Paw Paw Patch

Dine in. Drive thru. Carry out. It’s yummy any which way.

  • Address: 410 Greensprings Highway, Homewood, Alabama 35209
  • Hours: Monday through Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Pop quiz: Paw Paw is (1) the tasty fruit of a native American tree, (2) your grandfather’s nickname or (3) part of the name of a must-try meat and three serving country cooking on Greensprings Highway. Answer: 1, 2 and 3.

10. Sweet Tea Restaurant

Valet service available on Sundays—nice touch!

  • Address: 2205 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233
  • Hours: Monday through Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. | Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide
Photo via Sweet Tea Restaurant’s Instagram page

Sweet Tea puts out a bountiful spread of meat and veggies, and it’s convenient to downtown, UAB and Southside. Then there are the desserts …

 This Bham Now writer is a pushover for a good seven-layer cake, and Sweet Tea has ’em in several flavors.

Tell Bham Now. What’s your favorite Birmingham meat and three? What do you order there?
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