One of the best things 2021 had going for it was that it wasn’t 2020. That said, while the Birmingham area saw 60+ openings in the past year, we also said goodbye to some longtime favorites. Here are 11 local spots that closed in 2021.
In the what-year-is-it-anyway fog many of us have been in since 2020, Birminghamians are still missing Brennan’s Irish Pub, Urban Standard, Brio Tuscan Grille + Fancy’s on Fifth. These favorites closed in 2020, along with our sense of the world as we knew it.
Here are the 11 Birmingham-area businesses that closed in 2021:
1. Piper and Leaf at The Pizitz is one of the spots that closed in 2021
Back when the Bham Now team worked at Forge, Piper & Leaf’s American’s Best Cold Brew award-winning nitro cold brew was a huge hit. Sadly, on April 8, they closed their shop at The Pizitz, but you can still find them in various locations across North-Central Alabama and the country.
2. Pho Que Huong
On April 24, Pho Que Huong closed its doors for the last time, according to the Birmingham Business Journal. For 25 years, this Green Springs Vietnamese restaurant was a destination spot for pho, spring rolls and Vietnamese-style coffee. Like so many other places, they weren’t able to survive COVID-related staffing shortages.
In early June, we wrote about the hiring situation in The Magic City, asking “Why is it so hard to hire in Birmingham right now + when will it get better?”
On August 17, Bywater Oyster Bar & Grill in Helena posted the following:
“After much hard deliberation, we have decided to close for the foreseeable future. We truly appreciate the love and support that we have gotten from Helena, but under current circumstances we just can’t provide the experience to our guests like they deserve. Please continue to follow us and we will keep you updated as situations change. Love you all!”
4. Eli’s Jerusalem Grill at The Pizitz
On September 11, Eli’s Jerusalem Grill at The Pizitz closed its doors, but luckily, you can still get this delicious Israeli food on Highway 280.
According to ABC 33/40, Sam’s Super Samwiches in Homewood closed September 25, and owner Sam Graphos passed away October 5.
Fortunately, for fans of this place, which had been a Homewood staple for over 50 years, we found out in early December that they’d signed a lease just blocks from their former home.
Location: 830 29th Ave South, Suite 155, Homewood, AL 35209
6. The Atomic
Nobody was happy to hear about plans to close The Atomic in the fall of 2021—least of all the Bham Now team. Some were such regulars that no fewer than three of our crew—Irene Richardson, Randall Porter + Matt Niblett—had drinks named after them. But don’t just take our word for it. The Atomic won numerous accolades throughout the years, including:
- Best in Birmingham
- Best in the State
- 3 James Beard nominations
Although nothing will replace The Atomic, we’re eager to check out The Margaret, brought to you by Pam Stallings, owner of The Nick.
7. Daniel Day Gallery is one of the spots that closed in 2021
I only went to Daniel Day Gallery once, for a mental health awareness comedy show + concert, and it was amazing. It was fun to wander from room to room, and the outdoor music venue was the perfect spot to gather with friends. Since it closed in October 2021, Birmingham doesn’t have anything else like this.
8. Did Ollie Irene close or not?—we’re not sure
When we polled our readers to find out which businesses closed this year, a couple of people mentioned Ollie Irene.
On November 5, this beloved Crestline restaurant posted a “closed tonight” message on Instagram + Facebook, and haven’t been opened since.
Unfortunately, they did not respond to multiple requests for confirmation, so we don’t really know if they’re closed temporarily or for good.
9. Magnolia Cafe is one of the spots that closed in 2021
In early December, we learned about three restaurant closings in one week. Magnolia Cafe, located in Altadena Square, was a family favorite meat and three for 25 years.
In this case, a 42% rent increase and a COVID-related decrease in catering, which made up 75% of their overall business, left the owners with no choice but to close. December 5 was their last day.
10. Kemp’s Kitchen in Trussville
On November 29, Kemp’s Kitchen in Trussville had a fire that caused them to close their doors at that location. The good news?
- No one was hurt.
- They’re moving operations over to the Gardendale location.
- They plan to “rebuild from the ashes.”
11. Tip Top Grill
Last but not least was the news that Bluff Park’s iconic Tip Top Grill was closing. Everyone loved the view, and those biscuits sure were good, too.
Now tell us, Birmingham, what did we miss? Which places closed in 2021 that broke your heart? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know.