Exclusive preview of The Preservery Birmingham in 5 Points South, opening at the end of July

Chef Dre Foster, owner of The Preservery Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The wait is over.

Chef Dre Foster, owner of The Preservery Birmingham in Five Points South, will be opening her “elevated soul food restaurant with an international twist” on Sunday, July 21, 11:00 AM t0 3:00PM.

To celebrate, on Thursday, July 25, a ribbon cutting is planned with the Five Points Alliance at the 2005 11th Avenue South location.

Site of The Preservery Birmingham at 2205 11th Avenue South location, adjacent to Chez fonfon and Highlands Bar and Grill. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Meet Chef Dre Foster

The Preservery Birmingham owner Chef Dre Foster. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Originally from California, Foster has lived in Birmingham since 2007.

“This is home,” she told Bham Now in a recent interview.

Before starting The Preservery, Foster had worked in the Army Reserves as a medical specialist, and for local bank in town as an underwriter.

After her father passed away from pancreatic cancer, she decided to leave her corporate job and start her journey toward opening up a restaurant.

Foster added, “Opening a restaurant was always something I wanted to do when I retired. I wanted to do it with my dad, but he ended up passing away. I decided, life is short – I need to do this now. Cooking has always been in my blood. My grandmother and dad were really good cooks, I shadowed them in the kitchen – so it has always been there.”

The Preservery
Photo from The Preservery Birmingham Facebook page

From Big Pitch to The Preservery at Five Point South

Dre Foster, executive chef. Via- www.thepreserverybham.com.

Creating a restaurant from scratch is not easy. Programs offered by Rev Birmingham, such as the Big Pitch and the REVeal Kitchen at the Pizitz Food Hall, and Create Birmingham’s Co.Starters program were instrumental in Foster’s development of The Preservery.

“Since we started working with Chef Dre in 2017, we have been looking forward to the day that she opened the doors of her own brick-and-mortar space,” said David Fleming, President and CEO of Rev Birmingham. “From the Big Pitch to REVeal Kitchen, Dre proved over and over that she had what it takes – and our whole team is delighted to see her realize her dream for The Preservery.”

And in just a few days that dream will come true.

The Name – The Preservery

The ornate bar at The Preservery Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

So, what can patrons expect at The Preservery? According to Foster, the name best describes the place and its food.

“The name preservery is a combination of two words. My grandmother taught me how to make preserves, which is on the menu, and the preservation of soul food heritage. I’ve realized that all cultures have their version of soul food. You’ll see that in our artwork (around the restaurant) all different cultures handling food. That’s why our menu, even though it is soul food, has an international fusion. That’s where the name comes from.”

Honoring Foster’s Father

The natural sunlight and view of the Storyteller water fountain at 5 Points South. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Along with meals that include The Preservery’s already famous fried chicken, shrimp and grits and banana pudding, the interior of the 5 Points South restaurant is warm and inviting.

Even though it is not specifically a seafood restaurant, in honor of Foster’s father who served in the Navy, the interior features nautical embellishments: anchors feature prominently in the decor, barstools have ships’ wheels and upholstered chairs and banquette are deep rich navy blue.

View of the side room at The Preservery Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
In honor of Chef Dre Foster’s father service in the Navy – ship wheel chairs. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
In honor of Chef Dre Foster’s father service in the Navy. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

There are also beautiful watercolors paintings of Birmingham cityscapes , a gift from Bob Moody, owner of the building Preservery will be occupying.

Uniting the Community

The Preservery Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

More than a restaurant, in the memory of her father, Foster wants to unite the community through her meals.

“I want to welcome everyone, especially the folks who have followed us for our entire journey, from the small private dinners to the festivals to Pizitz – to The Preservery at Five Points South. I want this place to unite people. I think food is the great equalizer. We all let our guard down. Over a common plate of food, we realize we are not so different at all. That’s what I want everyone to see and feel while their here. That we are all family.”

The Preservery Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Follow The Preservery

We can’t wait for the opening on July 21st and the ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 25th. Make plans to take in a meal at The Preservery at the end of July. What a wonderful addition to Five Points South and Birmingham.

Visit their website and Facebook page for details and updates.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.