Category Archives: Restaurants

First Taste: Lime Fresh Mexican Grill at The Summit


Last night our intern Katey and I ventured to try the new Lime Fresh Mexican Grill by Sak’s at The Summit as a part of a media event.

Nach'Yo'Momma's Nachos

Nach’Yo’Momma’s Nachos

Everyone loves Mexican food, but you can find it on seemingly every corner on the 280 corridor; The Summit even has Izzo’s Illegal Burrito and Chuy’s slready. So we went in asking what would make us venture to the lower part of The Summit for a casual meal at a chain restaurant?

As their name says, the food is really fresh, fresh enough for me to set aside my bias toward local restaurants over chains to return, hopefully soon. Lime Fresh claims to use local ingredients where possible, and what we tasted was definitely a step up from your typical burrito chain, but at similar prices.

Skinny Burrito with a side of guacamole.

Katey tried their nachos, and I the Skinny Burrito with a side of guacamole. The chicken, cheese and beans toasted inside a grainy shell didn’t taste like the lighter route of Mexican though. And the super fresh guac was done right with  large chunks of avocado; they also have three specialty flavors of guacamole on their menu. Katey, a nacho fan and Mexican food enthusiast, gave her choice a thumbs up, too.

Selections from the salsa bar

No matter what you order, you get an all-access-pass to chips and their salsa bar; I had a hard time deciding which of the many kinds to try and all were tasty and, once again, fresh. It’s nice to have a choose-your-own topping for whichever of their salads, quesadillas, tacos, burritos and other menu items you choose.

Katey and I decided that we would definitely be back, especially after we saw their specials for cheap tacos and drinks, including their frozen sangria. They also get some points for creative marketing for this sign.


Bistro Provare: Restaurant Showcase

Jason Bierley oversees students serving Salmon Florentine en Croute at a Bistro Provare fixed menu dinner. Photo courtesy of Henry Liu Mitchell.


Provare: to try. It’s what you see advanced culinary students doing as they slide a pizza into a brick oven or top a Napoleon with fresh blackberries in the open bistro kitchen at Jeff State’s Shelby Campus.

When you enter the dining room, which culinary Program Director Joseph Mitchell describes as a European/Tuscan environment, you don’t realize you are on a school campus. Continue reading

Full Moon Bar-b-que: Restaurant Showcase

Terry Taylor and Willie Bradford have worked in front of Full Moon’s wood burning barbecue pit since the location opened in 2001.

At Full Moon, barbecue and sports stars go hand in hand.

Charles Barkley comes by the 280 location regularly to eat ribs back in the kitchen. Gene Bartow was known to have eaten at the original location downtown at least twice a week. Local favorite Bart Starr is a fan.

Photos of football greats and other sports memorabilia line the walls of the restaurant.

“I know a majority of the people in here,” said David Maluff, who owns the restaurants with his brother, Joe. Continue reading

Restaurant Showcase: Food Studio B

Sandwiches like the Cubano Monday special at Food Studio B in Chelsea are served on house-made bread with a salad of seasonal vegetables and your choice of house-made dressings. Photos by Madoline Markham.

Food Studio B owner and chef Sean Butler carves a teres major cut of beef for a paleo meal from their new Chelsea location.

Sean Butler is carving meat amidst shelves of dried fruit, nuts and labels for his snack food lines when I walk into Food Studio B to interview him.

Butler speaks fast, rattling off the farmers he knows and how they fit into his vision for the new space. A man from Rora Farms in Coosa County walks in to deliver eggs. Butler points out his one and only shelf of dried goods. His focus is obvious: Make food from scratch and foster community.

“We want to sit down with our customers and get to know them,” said Butler, who has lived in Chelsea since 2006.

The café, located in the former Chelsea Café location behind the BP on Highway 280, had a soft opening in March and is now serving salads, sandwiches, soups and specials daily—as well as homemade desserts—on weekdays.

Lunch and breakfast are only the start of Butler’s vision for the storefront to be a market, bakery and café.

“We want to be a one stop shop for all things food,” he said.

Continue reading

Restaurant Showcase: Black Market Bar

The Greek Egg Rolls are a popular menu item at Black Market Bar at the Colonnade. Photos by Madoline Markham.


Black Market Bar is, in a word, eclectic.

The covered patio begs passersby to stop in for happy hour drink specials and an order of Baked Feta to share.

Inside the Colonnade storefront, things are darker. The walls—just like the bar name—are throwbacks to film noir. Painted skateboards, posters from 1950s B movies, pinup girls, and art by Birmingham’s Megan Kimber and tattoo artist Kele Sparrowhawk fill the vertical space. Often visitors want to buy art off the walls, but the owners say it’s not for sale.

“This is us,” said co-owner Elise Youngblood, who is also an artist, of the walls at Black Market. “Our houses look like this, too.”

All the employees except Youngblood have tattoos.

Black Market Bar owners George Cowgill and Elise Youngblood.

Unlike the owners’ first bar, Speakeasy, located downtown, Black Market has a full kitchen. It’s worth a visit for the bar or brunch menu alone. Continue reading

Wan’s Chinese: Restaurant Showcase

Three Delight is one of many popular entrees served at Wan’s.


Combining the sweet savor of Shanghi with the spicy flavors of Canton, Wan’s menu is completely influenced by the regions of China where owners Yunan and Xianneng Wan were raised.

Some of their most popular dishes include Mongolian Beef, General Tao Chicken, and Salt and Pepper Shrimp. Chef Wan’s specialties include Three Delight, Ginger Steamed Fish, Dragon and Phoenix, and Happy Family.

Lunch entrees are served with your choice of sweet and sour or egg drop soup along with a traditional egg roll. For dinner, entrees are served with either brown or white steamed rice.

All the food is fresh and cooked to order. Continue reading

Hartley’s Down-Home Kitchen: Restaurant Showcase


Hartley’s owners Caldwell and Amy Hartley hold a plate of their favorites: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens and cornbread.

Portions of fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, turnip greens and cornbread are far from small at Hartley’s in Chelsea.

“You will not leave Hartley’s hungry,” said owner Amy Hartley. “We give you a home-cooked meal without the cooking.”

One man said their food is “like mama’s, but better.”

Customers will come on a specific day of the week for their fried chicken, fried catfish or fried green tomatoes. People say they can taste that their mashed potatoes are real, too.
Continue reading