The History Of Greek Restaurants In Birmingham Alabama

The Greeks have run the restaurant scene in Birmingham, Alabama for over a hundred years. Along with the Italians, the Lebanese and the odd Alabama hillbilly, the men and women of the Greek diaspora have maintained a near-stranglehold on that old town’s dining scene since the early 20th century.

When I was a kid in the 80s, restaurants like the Smokehouse, the Char-House, the Social Grill and John’s downtown were considered the finest places in all of Birmingham to get an honest meal at a fair price and if you loved lemon juice and oregano you were really off to the races.

That’s without even reckoning in the dozens of Greek-run hot dog shops scattered chockablock across town; each with their own secret family recipe for chili sauce.

To this day you could spend a month in Birmingham eating three meals a day in solely Greek owned restaurants and, barely scratch the surface.

If you need an genuine bowl of Avgolemono in the Deep South then Birmingham is where the conversation begins.

For years Southern Foodways Alliance has been thoroughly covering the history of Greek restaurants in the Magic City. If you like to read about old legends like Gus Koutroulakis of Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs or Theo Hontzas of Smokehouse (full disclosure, Theo was one of my mentors when I was a young cook getting started in the industry) then step right this way.

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