CNN Travel highlights Birmingham in surprising foodie cities story

Birmingham
Iconic sign on the side of John’s Restaurant on 112 Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd, photo by Pat Byington

What a great way to start the year for Birmingham’s food scene!

On January 3rd, CNN Travel posted a video and story featuring famous chefs and food experts describing their list of the best foodie cities that were not the usual suspects, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Fransisco.

Profiled front and center in the article… the Magic City, of course!

Here is a link to the CNN story for our readers:

From Buffalo to Birmingham, veteran chefs highlight surprising foodie cities

Heaping Praise

Calling Mayor Woodfin and the city council!

Ya’ll need to consider giving popular foodie television host Andrew Zimmern, a key to the city.

He loves Birmingham’s food scene, and as he says in the CNN Travel video:

“I found Birmingham a very exciting town to eat my way through…. Birmingham is a gold nugget in a river of mud.”

And that is just in the video.

Post Office Pies was named one of the best pizzerias in the U.S. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Here is the “Birmingham excerpt” in the CNN Travel story.

Man of many hats — restaurateur, television host and food writer to name a few — Andrew Zimmern is super into Birmingham, Alabama.

Sure, he’s a fan of Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q and Frank Stitt’s well-regarded spots — Chez Fonfon and Highlands Bar & Grill — but Zimmern insists there’s more to the Southern city than well, its Southern food roots.

The city has “gone from hot to blazing hot,” he says.

“There has been a development underneath all the well-known restaurants there that has just bubbled up and exploded. I find Birmingham a very exciting town to eat my way through,” Zimmern says.

Zimmern likens Birmingham’s current rise to recent food trailblazing cities Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine.

Geoffrey Zakarian, a chef and owner of restaurants in New York City, Miami and Atlantic City, also praises Birmingham’s growing culinary cred.

Birmingham’s Food Scene Keeps Growing

It truly is amazing how far Birmingham’s Food Scene has progressed, especially in the last five to ten years.  To provide a little context, we unearthed a 2015 video by Zagats describing the industry’s growth back then.

What’s Next Birmingham?

2020 is about to get even better by the end of January and beginning of February with the re-launch of Hot and Hot Fish Club and Sol Y Luna.  The foodie movement in the Magic City continues to grow and become more and more creative and competitive.

Who knows – maybe we could topple Chicago and New York City one day!

Compilation of Stories

Legendary chef and restauranteur Frank Stitt sitting at “Frank’s Table” a sculpture honoring him commissioned by the National MS Society. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Want evidence of Birmingham’s rising food scene?  Here is a compilation of stories over the past year by national publications documenting the foodie movement in Birmingham.

Trip AdvisorBirmingham named ‘up and coming foodie city’

Esquire  – Birmingham’s Automatic Seafood & Oysters named one of best new restaurants in America

Wine Enthusiasts – National publication Wine Enthusiast features Birmingham’s “top tier” drinking and dining hot spots

Food and Wine – Food and Wine names Rodney Scott’s BBQ one of the most important restaurants this decade

Far and Wide – Far & Wide names Birmingham’s Miss Myra Pit Bar-B-Q ‘top pick’ for best sandwich in Alabama


  • 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.