Tim Hontzas has the distinction of making me the finest cornbread I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. No, it’s not as good as my father’s but it’s still a masterpiece of southern cooking. In a new short film (7 some odd minutes) documentarian Ava Lowrey goes ‘fly on the wall’ style and shoots Chef Hontzas in his Homewood (Birmingham) Alabama meat and three restaurant.
Hontzas comes from an old-line, Greek family who have been in the trade for nearly a century.
The chef’s opening line from the short is a great takeaway, “They say at one point in the 70s, if it wasn’t for the Greeks, people in Birmingham would starve” Spoken like a true Greek restaurateur.
Of course it’s pure hyperbole but the food landscape in Birmingham certainly would look mighty different if it wasn’t for the Greeks. And the Lebanese. And the Italians. And the Black folks whose soul food cafes have been scattered across the city since the 19th century.
On a ramble across the South last summer we stopped into Johnny’s and were well-fed though the meal was not without flaws.
We only get to break bread in Birmingham a couple times a year but we always clear out one lunch for Johnny’s Meat and Three in Homewood.
2902 18th St S
Homewood, AL 35209
Hours of operation