9 national chains our audience wants to see in Birmingham

Let’s talk about our dream national chains in Birmingham, shall we? (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

When we announce new businesses in Birmingham, whether we’re sharing the local love or talking about chains, we frequently get questions about a few chains Birminghamians want to see in The Magic City. We polled our audience to see what chains YOU most want to see open. Keep reading to see if your favorite made the list.

Our audience wants to see these national chains in Birmingham

National chains in Birmingham - Bham Now Facebook poll
9 national chains our audience wants to see in Birmingham 8
National chains in Birmingham - Bham Now LinkedIn poll
9 national chains our audience wants to see in Birmingham 9

Clearly, our audience has a lot to say. We received over 1,000 answers on Facebook and LinkedIn—and most of those answers were repeats.

In no particular order, here are nine of the top-requested chains our Facebook and LinkedIn audiences want to see come to The Magic City—plus updates on if and when we can expect them.

9 national chains our readers want most

TJ Tower
Which of these chains would you like to see in Birmingham? (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

1. IKEA

When we asked our Instagram followers what they wished would open in the now (nearly) vacant Brookwood Village, IKEA was a top answer—and can you blame them? The Swedish furniture and home goods store is the world’s largest furniture retailer.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’ll make its way to Birmingham anytime soon. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, finding a building suitable for IKEA is a major part of the challenge along with the metro area’s population falling well below Ikea’s threshold of two million people.

“As we endeavor to expand our presence here in the United States, we will continue to evaluate opportunities as they arise. However, IKEA has not announced any plans for a store in the Birmingham area.”

Ticia Bradley, IKEA

The closest IKEA location: Atlanta’s IKEA is about two and a half hours away and is located at 441 16th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30363.

2. ZARA

Another popular request when we announce new retail options in Birmingham is ZARA. The apparel company didn’t respond to our request for comment, but it looks like in 2022, they’re rebounding their brick-and-mortar stores and have reopened 99% of them according to Modern Retail.

The closest ZARA location: Atlanta has multiple ZARA locations, all about two and a half hours away. The Lenox Square ZARA is located at 3393 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30326, and the Perimeter Mall ZARA can be found at 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346.

3. Raising Cane’s

Eugene's Hot Chicken
Nope, it isn’t Raising Cane’s, but nothing beats Eugene’s Hot Chicken in my humble opinion. (Cecilia Wood / Bham Now)

As someone with family in Louisiana, I understand the hype behind Raising Cane’s. This fast-food restaurant specializes in chicken fingers and reminds me of a cross between Guthrie’s and Zaxby’s.

Luckily for Birmingham Raising Cane’s fans, our closest location is just an hour away in Tuscaloosa. The restaurant didn’t respond to our requests for comment, so for now, we’ll have to save the chicken finger cravings. Thankfully, we’ve got great options for fried chicken right here—like Eugene’s Hot Chicken, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Little Donkey and SAW’s.

The closest Raising Cane’s location: The Tuscaloosa Raising Cane’s is located at 210 McCorvey Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.

4. Dillard’s

Dillard’s has multiple locations in Alabama, but none are in Birmingham. For now, you’ll need to visit one of their other statewide storefronts.

“We do not have any Birmingham openings in the near future. Thank you for reaching out and for the vote of confidence!! I’ll pass these thoughts from our Alabama customers along.”

Julie Guymon, Corporate Spokesperson, Dillard’s

The closest Dillard’s location: Oxford, Alabama’s Dillard’s is an hour away at 700 S Quintard Ave, Oxford, AL 36203. Huntsville’s Dillard’s is an hour and a half away and located at 2801 Memorial Parkway SW, Huntsville, AL 35801.

5. Nordstrom

There is good news for Nordstrom lovers—for the most part. Birmingham is home to a Nordstrom Rack, a Nordstrom-owned store with clothing on major clearance. Of course, most of our audience is still looking for the real deal.

Nordstrom didn’t respond to our request for comment, but they did plan to open their first Alabama store in the Riverchase Galleria in 2007, so clearly, the Birmingham market isn’t off their radar.

The closest Nordstrom location: Nordstrom Rack is located at 4612 Highway 280, Birmingham, AL 35242. The closest full-blown Nordstrom is two and a half hours away at 3500 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30326.

6. Kroger

Birmingham celebrated when Trader Joe’s opened at The Summit in 2015, but our readers want even more affordable, fresh grocery options—including a second Trader Joe’s and a Kroger.

“Kroger is excited to continue serving our customers in both existing and new geographies in new ways. We continue to expand our e-commerce business through delivery and other shopping options in response to customer demand to fulfill our brand promise of being Fresh for Everyone. We are committed to serving more customers across America and will continue to explore different approaches to achieve that goal.”

Kroger Spokesperson

The closest Kroger location: Auburn-Opelika is home to two Krogers—one located at 300 N Dean Rd, Auburn, AL 36830 and the other at 2460 Enterprise Dr, Opelika, AL 36801.

7. Fazoli’s

Another national chain in Birmingham that topped our readers’ wish list: Fazoli’s, a fast-casual Italian restaurant chain. Alabama is an open market for Fazoli’s franchisees, and their general site and trade area guidelines would make Birmingham a prime option. Fazoli’s hasn’t responded to our comment, but we’re hopeful that Birmingham makes their list.

The closest Fazoli’s location: Prattville’s Fazoli’s is under two hours away at 789 Business Park Dr, Prattville, AL 36066.

8. In-N-Out

The Standard
It might not be In-N-Out, but The Standard at The Pizitz whips up a mean burger. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Birmingham loves a good burger, but our audience is dreaming of seeing one particular national chain in Birmingham—In-N-Out. Unfortunately for our East Coast burger fans, it doesn’t look like the burger chain will be coming to Birmingham in the near future.

“We currently do not have any plans to open a location in Birmingham, Alabama, although we know it is a wonderful city. For the near term, we will likely focus our restaurant growth in our existing operating markets.”

Mike Abbate, In-N-Out, Assistant Vice President, Real Estate and Development

The closest In-N-Out location: You’ll have to take quite a drive to Texas, where there are 40 stores. After a nine and a half-hour drive, you can dig into animal-style fries at Houston’s In-N-Out at 7611 FM 1960 W, Houston, TX 77070.

9. Torchy’s Tacos

As a major taco lover, Torchy’s Tacos is now at the top of my must-try list after seeing so many of Bham Now’s readers rave about it. The Austin-based chain is planning on expanding to Florida and Arizona in 2022, but for now, we’ll have to leave the state to experience them.

The closest Torchy’s Tacos location: Memphis’s Torchy’s Tacos is three and a half hours away and located at 719 S Mendenhall Rd, Memphis, TN 38117.

Remember to support local ❤️

Golden Boy Pizza
Thankfully, we have plenty of amazing local businesses to support. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

While we’re talking about national chains in Birmingham, it’s important to keep showing our local businesses the love they deserve. If you’re looking for new local businesses to check out, be sure to head to our local business directory with over 830 businesses. Plus, add your biz for FREE to be included in Bham Now stories.

What national chains do YOU want to see in Birmingham? Let us know by tagging @BhamNow.

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Cecilia Wood
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