If you’re looking to enjoy an exquisite chef-prepared meal at a no-frills establishment, you’ve got to try The Fig. Tucked-away in Cahaba Heights, this spot offers a modern twist on southern comfort food and you’ll wanna dig in. Read on to learn more.
A place to gather
For over nine years, The Fig has brought creative farm-to-table dishes to Cahaba Heights and there’s no stopping them soon. Chef and owner Jon Holland sat down with me to share what makes the hidden gem so special.
“I thought about spots in New Orleans or in Italy where you can go down the street and find little tiny restaurants. When I found this spot I was like, ‘I can do that for Birmingham.’ So I committed…I could have a lot more visibility in a different location, but I really wanted that story for Birmingham’s food scene and I think that we really fit in.”Jon Holland, Chef and Owner, The Fig
Admittedly, the space is a bit tricky to find, but once you do, you’re met with a quaint restaurant with a spacious wood patio and good vibes all around. When you arrive off of Cahaba Heights Rd, drive around to the back parking lot and you’ll see the wooden steps leading you to delicious food.
While the menu is southern-based, it’s full of a wide variety of imaginative menu items from the minds of Chef Holland and his talented kitchen staff. Each meal is hand-prepared from scratch and all the chefs in the kitchen are viewed as equals, meaning each member of the team can bring their cuisine ideas to the table.
“We have a term in the kitchen that we call food anthropology, where we try to take the roots of southern food and trace it back. So you might see food inspired by a lot of different regions. Right now, 80% of our menu is southern and homemade, but then I’ve got a tuna dish that’s straight from Italy and we have a brussel sprout appetizer from Japan. We try to keep it a little bit funky with a solid backbone of comfort food.”Jon Holland, Chef and Owner, The Fig
The cherry on top? The Fig goes through extra lengths to ensure the freshest, farm-to-table ingredients, including raising their own livestock!
A lifetime in the kitchen
Chef Jon’s resume is chock full of experience in the food industry. He’s been cooking since he was allowed to be in the kitchen, got his first job behind the grill when he was 16 and never looked back.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with Jon, as his mom, dad and grandfather were all enthusiastic cooks growing up. With backgrounds from Thailand and Mississippi, you can imagine the diverse taste profiles and techniques Jon learned from an early age.
He joked that a golden rule he learned is that you can never have too much bacon grease. I couldn’t agree more.
Over the years, Jon said first-timers have become regulars, and one of the most rewarding things about owning a restaurant is seeing that happen.
“I’m getting to the point now where we’ve been open for so long that I’ve got people who had their first date here, and I’m now seeing their second child. I’ve seen kids grow up. I’ve got a bunch of regulars with nicknames and tons of different stories. It’s fun to know that you’re bringing joy to people and then watching how their lives go.”Jon Holland, Chef and Owner, The Fig
As for the name, you may know the restaurant from its original title, The Fig Tree Café. Now known simply as “The Fig”, the spot has gone through a bit of a rebrand, as Jon feels the former name didn’t fit the essence of what the restaurant has become.
The inspiration for the name comes from the fig trees Jon would pick with his daughter in their backyard when she was little. He also gave a shoutout to the heartwarming children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
Grab a seat at the table
When it comes to trying The Fig for the first time, chances are Chef Jon will come to your table and help you find something you’ll love. One of his favorite recommendations is a classic dish that’s been on the menu since day one: the Chicken Fried Chicken—a seasoned and fried boneless breast with your choice of two tasty sides.
“People love it—it’s super comforting and the collard greens are a great touch if you want that comfort-food feel. We’ll always have a chef’s feature or something that I’m excited about on the menu. I love to give people options, something that represents where we started and where we are now. I’d like to talk to every table that comes in here, if possible, and steer them towards something they’ll love.”Jon Holland, Chef and Owner, The Fig
The chef also gave a shoutout to some of their delectable brunch options:
- The Fig Tree Hash—two over-medium eggs and sausage gravy on top of shredded hashbrowns with onions, peppers, jalapenos, bacon and swiss
- The Crabcake Situation—pan-seared claw meat crab cakes atop fried green tomatoes, with two over-easy eggs and hollandaise.
YUM. Can’t wait to try it for yourself? Book a reservation today.
- Location: 3160 Cahaba Heights Rd, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243
- Hours: Closed Monday | Tuesday-Friday 5-9PM | Saturday brunch 10AM-2PM, dinner 5-9PM | Sunday brunch 10AM-2PM
- Website | Facebook | Instagram
Inside tip: When you arrive, veer left around the Results Day Salon building to the parking lot in the back. If you need a handicap entrance, call 205.969.6711 for assistance.
For more news on local businesses like this delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.