5 reasons Alpha Charlie is a military, veteran + family favorite

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Alpha Charlie Grill
Caleb Corder, General Manager, Alpha Charlie Grill. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Since it first opened in June, Alpha Charlie Grill, right next to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, became an instant hit with military personnel, veterans and families in the area. Two reasons: they feed service members on base in Birmingham at least once a month and you’ve got a great view of the planes. We talked to Specialist Jordan Barker, with the Army 20th Group, and Caleb Corder, General Manager, to find out more about why people love it.

Know before you go

1. Specialist Jordan Barker, Alpha Charlie Grill’s biggest fan, connected his superiors to the restaurant

Jordan Baker is Alpha Charlie's
Specialist Jordan Baker (Jordan Baker)

Jordan Barker works for the Army National Guard’s 20th Group in Birmingham and is one of Alpha Charlie’s biggest fans. He’s currently a junior enlisted soldier working toward getting promoted to sergeant.

He and Alpha Charlie Grill’s owner Brian Kemp have been friends for a long time, since before Barker joined the military. When he heard what Kemp was planning, Barker let his superiors know his friend was opening up a restaurant just down the road from base.

When Alpha Charlie opened, Barker said “They went to check it out, and everybody loved it.” In fact, he said, “Everybody that works at the base full time goes in pretty much every other day, if not every day, for lunch.” 

2. Alpha Charlie Grill provides lunches for the base on drill weekends

Alpha Charlie Grill
Service members are frequent visitors at Alpha Charlie (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

Barker explained that when they have monthly drill weekends, Alpha Charlie Grill provides lunches from the restaurant to the base, which is less than three minutes away. 

The base here in Birmingham is called a Joint Force Headquarters, so both Air Force and Army National Guardsmen are there. On drill weekends, they have anywhere between 80-200 people in town. 

“It’s extremely convenient and the food’s always good. We all really enjoy it in my unit because we’re going all every day on the drill weekends. The food’s always different. Since Alpha Charlie has been there, it’s been great because they’re able to handle a large amount of people at one time and they’re able to bring something different every day and every month.”

Specialist Jordan Barker

3. Lots of the names come from military or flight terms

The Medivac at Alpha Charlie Grill
The Medivac is turkey, bacon and gouda on ciabatta bread. Yum. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

Alpha stands for A and Charlie stands for C in the military phonetic alphabet.  Here are just a few of the military-themed items you’ll find on the menu: 

  • Brrrrrrrrt Strawberry Cake (named after the noise an A-10 plane makes)
  • Medivac (when someone gets transported to the hospital via plane or helicopter)
  • Pre-Deployment Breakfast
  • Oorah Coconut Pie (named after a US Marine Corps battle cry)
  • Red Flag Exercise (an advanced two-week Air Force combat exercise)

4. Owner Brian Kemp is a friend of the military

The Tarmac (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now) + The outside area is covered by a plane wing (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

Current and former members of the military receive a 10% discount at Alpha Charlie.

“My Dad’s a trucker and we are all grateful Americans. The freedom we have to do what we do comes directly from what they fight for. We’re honored to give back with discounts.”

Brian Kemp, Owner, Alpha Charlie

5. The whole restaurant has an aviation theme

The aviation theme runs throughout Alpha Charlie. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

“We built this place to feel like an airplane hangar or garage, with rustic wood, tables, chairs and other fixtures made from airplane parts.”

Daniel Harp, Alpha Charlie

Here are some of the aviation-themed items you’ll find on the menu: 

  • Birdstrike Chicken Salad
  • Hanger Chicken Sandwich     
  • Puddle Jumper
  • Runoff Green Salad
  • The Tarmac

Lots of families enjoy coming over to eat at Alpha Charlie after a visit to the Southern Museum of Flight. They even give the kids a cute paper airplane to play with, and they’ve got cornhole in the outdoor dining area.

Stop by and eat at Alpha Charlie Grill today

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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