Address: 2721 Cahaba Road
Avo is California shorthand for "avocado," one of the iconic products of the Golden State -- the originator, as with so much else, of the rebirth of the local and slow-food movements in the United States. Opened in 2009, Avo continues this quality-focused tradition with its modern American cuisine, using the best local and state products from Alabama along with select seafood, meats and produce from other parts of the US to create simple yet elegant meals in a clean, modern space that makes use of sustainable building materials and low-energy lighting, heating and cooling. A full corner bar, secluded lounge and covered outdoor terrace overlooking the heart of Mountain Brook Village offer guests distinct dining experiences, including a unique Sunday brunch.
Downstairs, whiskey-soaked and country-ham-smoked Dram deftly combines one of the country's most extensive whiskey lists with gourmet burgers and Kentucky and Tennessee's distinctive Upper South cuisine in a comfortable neighborhood hangout of refurbished wood from an old Bluegrass tobacco barn.
The principals at Avo+Dram -- close friends would be more apt -- have worked together in Birmingham and Nashville for over a decade now. Chef Ben Kirk, a native of East Tennessee, cooked in the Smoky Mountains, Key West, California and Nashville before helming the kitchens at Avo+Dram, while General Manager Bret Bright, another East Tennessee native, followed a similar path through Knoxville, San Francisco and Nashville before coming to Alabama. Nashville-based (and Nashville native) operations chief Deana Sheucraft is an industry veteran since her college days in Kentucky, while owner Tom Sheffer hails from the Bluegrass State and though student and resident many years in Boston, returned South to start restaurants in Nashville and his current home of Birmingham.