Sneak peek: Michael’s Restaurant is back in Birmingham where it belongs (photos & video)

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Bernadine Birdsong, owner of Michael’s Restaurant. Photo by Matthew Niblett

I love Homewood, especially the Soho area.  But whenever I saw Michael’s Restaurant on the corner of Aloft, I yearned for the day when the legendary restaurant would return back to Birmingham.

Well, my wish has been granted.

Beginning Monday, August 3rd, Michael’s will officially be back in Birmingham at their new Parkside District location adjacent to the Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum.

Legendary Restaurant

If you are new to town, Michael’s Restaurant was one of those storied Birmingham’s restaurants that got their start in the 1950s.  Founded by Greek restaurateur Michael Matsos, several versions of Michael’s restaurants popped up around over the years with locations on Bessemer Highway and at the old Eastwood Mall. Still, the place I will always remember was Michael’s anchor restaurant on 20th Street near the Parliament House Hotel

Visit with Owner Bernadine Birdsong

Bernadine Birdsong, owner of Michael’s Restaurant. Photo by Nathan Watson

In anticipation of their grand opening, Earlier this week, Bham Now was given an exclusive tour of the new Michael’s Restaurant on Parkside. 

We met with Bernadine Birdsong, the owner of Michael’s. 

“It is a great opportunity to be the restaurant connected with the Southern Negro League Museum,” said Birdsong.  “It has been a long journey, but we are finally here, and I’m very excited about it. We are continuing all (Michael’s) traditions. We still have the steer butt steak which Michael’s is famous for, the award winning bread pudding and Birmingham’s best wings. What has changed is the location. We now have this amazing view on Parkside.” 

Looks like an Art Gallery

Entrance to Michael’s Restaurant. The artwork on the wall is by Nan Braswell, The painting on the wall in front is by Mini Armstrong. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Inside the new Michael’s, on the first floor, you could mistaken it for an art gallery. There are works of art brought in from the previous Homewood location by Nan Braswell. The featured wall is done by a good friend of Birdsong’s artist Mimi Armstrong. In the stairwell, the restaurant has Gees Bends Collective quilts

The Views

View from the Rooftop at Michael’s Restaurant. Photo by Matthew Niblett

Once you’ve explored the first floor, the next highlight is the rooftop. There is additional artwork by Armstrong – classy and striking. Then there is the view. 

 Think the rooftop bars/seating at Wrigley Field.  You can watch a Birmingham Barons game from the location, but even better than the Cubs, you get a nice view of the Birmingham skyline, if you walk around.

Connected with Bo Jackson and Baseball

Bo Jackson 34 Steak Line will be used by Michael’s Restaurant. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Of course, Michael’s is known for its cuisine, especially it’s steaks. Where are they getting their high quality steaks from? Birmingham’s most famous athlete Bo Jackson. 

“We have made an arrangement with Bo Jackson featuring his 34 signature steaks- his steak line. Michael’s will be the first place in Birmingham to carry it exclusively,” Birdsong added.

Other new traditions?  Michael’s is also the home run sponsor for the Birmingham Barons. After every Baron homerun, Bo will do a special announcement.

Dates and Hours

Michael’s Restaurant outside entrance at Parkside. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Obviously, in the midst of the national reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael’s is doing a mixture of curbside and dining. Here are the details

Curbside: Monday through Friday for lunch 11:00am to 2:00pm  

Dinner: Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 to 9:00 on the rooftop only.  

Brunch: Sunday – 10:00 to 3:00pm

Welcome to Michael’s

In a final comment to us, Birdsong summed up her excitement about bringing back Michael’s to the Magic City.

“I welcome people to come. I’m most excited to have Michael’s back in the city. It belongs here in Birmingham. It feels right.”

Our thoughts exactly.

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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.
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