Reviewed by: Patience Itson
Happy Monday, Birmingham! It’s a new week and holiday cheer is in the air. While you bundle up to brave the winter weather, we’ve got you covered with the buzziest happenings you may have missed from the past week, including Krispy Kreme on 280 closing, MELT moving to Mountain Brook and more.
What’s happening: On Wednesday, December 14, Pardis and Frank Stitt’s Bottega restaurant officially reopened for the first time since the pandemic. While Bottega Café and Chez Fonfon have been open, the fine dining room has been closed until now. The reopening welcomes in a few interior changes, including new white tile flooring, a new beautifully crafted ironwork railing and more.
Why it matters: Bottega is one of Birmingham’s most beloved restaurants and its safe to say that this has been a highly-anticipated reopening.
BONUS: Dreaming of the reopening of Highlands Bar and Grill? You won’t have to wait long. The Stitts plan to reopen the 2018 James Beard “Most Outstanding Restaurant” award-winner by Spring 2023.
What’s happening: Lovers of the classic glazed Krispy Kreme donuts unfortunately have one less place to grab them. The location in Hoover on Highway 280 has officially closed its doors. In a comment from a company spokesperson, Krispy Kreme confirmed the news:
“As we continue to implement our omni-channel model to better serve our guests and achieve long-term growth, we have closed our location at 5357 Highway 280 in Birmingham, Alabama.”
What’s happening: Longstanding Birmingham bar + sandwich spot, The Garage, is changing ownership. Kay Woehle, daughter of the establishment’s original landlord and prominent Birmingham architect Fritz Woehle, sold The Garage to long time patron Bob Ryan.
“After careful consideration, I’ve decided to sell the bar to long time patron, Bob Ryan. Many of you know him as “Irish Bob”. Bob has purchased the bar and has brought on Chelsea Bishop as the manager. I’m so excited about this new chapter and the energy Bob and Chelsea will bring. Bob will carry on the tradition of The Garage…it’s uniqueness, it’s vibe and everything we all love about the bar.”Kay Woehle, previous owner, The Garage
Why it matters: Voted as Birmingham’s best kept secret in our 2022 Nowie awards, The Garage is a truly unique bar with incredible sandwiches, cold drinks and welcoming charm. Under new ownership there will be a few changes, notably bringing back live music on Sunday afternoons and the ability to use debit and credit cards (the bar is currently cash only).
What’s happening: Popular local restaurant MELT is closing their Avondale location after 8 1/2 years. You can visit the Avondale location now through December 23rd. In the new year, MELT will be starting a new chapter, with plans to move into Lane Parke at Mountain Brook Village. According to the Instagram post, all of the smiling faces you love in Avondale will be at the new location in Lane Parke.
Why it matters: With MELT’s departure comes an opening for a new business in the Avondale Entertainment District. Keep an eye out for what’s to come in its place.
What’s happening: Birmingham On-Demand, a microtransit ridesharing program, is expanding its coverage area and hours thanks to a partnership between the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) and the City of Birmingham. On-Demand riders can enjoy new evening hours from 8PM to 11PM in the City Center zone as well as a larger coverage area, including Avondale and the west side of the city after 7PM.
Why it matters: Since its introduction in February of 2019, Birmingham On-Demand has served more than 130,000 rides to residents, visitors and workers in The Magic City. The rideshare program uses advanced software from Via—the global leader in TransitTech—to match multiple riders in one vehicle if they’re headed in the same direction. Due to the efficient share trips, Birmingham On-Demand is able to offer rides at a flat fee of $1.50.
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