For my third review during Birmingham Restaurant Week, I once again took my mom to lunch at The Gardens Café inside of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Mountain Brook. My mom is one of my favorite eating buddies, as I can be in any sort of mood (and vice versa) and still have a good time. Conversation comes easy with her. Plus, she is a real foodie in disguise and loves to try out new local places.
The Gardens Café is owned and operated by Kathy G., one of our top culinary minds in Birmingham. Back when I used to video weddings for a living (I know… another lifetime ago!) I would find myself working side by side with a lot of her staff at big events. Her niece, Natalie, is also a long time friend of mine. They do fabulous work across the board.
The Gardens Café has a distinct environment when you first walk in, one very similar to the Botanical Gardens itself – you feel like you’ve entered a place that takes visual presentation very seriously. Mix a little bit of contemporary class with the earthiness of flowers & food, and you’ve got this restaurant.
My mom and I chose to sit outside since it is shaded & cooled by the overhanging trees. The special menu they are offering for Birmingham Restaurant Week (pictured below) is fantastic. I picked the grilled flat iron steak with grilled vegetables and blue grits while my mom had the tomato pie. Mine was light and flavorful, and I especially enjoyed the blue grit cake on the bottom as it absorbed the rich sauce. The tomato pie was truly an indulgence and hard for my mom to finish so I had a few bites to help her along. 🙂 We finished off our meal with some cool lemon sorbet topped with fresh berries. Yes – it was as good as it sounds!!
Thanks Kathy G. Mezrano, owner of Kathy G. & Company, for answering the questions below!
What is the inspiration behind starting The Gardens Café?
My inspiration of The Gardens Café restaurant was to create a “Farm to Table” style lunch and catering venue for the city. When the opportunity came to rename and open The Gardens Café it was a chance to open a very progressive and new style restaurant in Mountain Brook Village.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place. How has it influenced the menu?
My chef of The Gardens Café loves to walk in the gardens and watch the seasonal changes from spring to summer to fall and changes her menus based on seasonal ingredients.
What are you favorite items on the menu?
At present, we have a wonderful Tomato Pie with Caramelized Sweet Vidalia Onions on the menu served with a small side salad and Pan Seared Blacked Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce over Summer Vegetable Succotash.
What makes this restaurant stand out from your other food ventures?
The location of the restaurant in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is unique in the city and to be able to seat in our dining room or our patio so close to all of wonderful gardens is very special. And also a great location for private events & weddings!
What would you like to see this restaurant become in the future?
I hope The Gardens Café will grow in business as a partnership with the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to continue to serve a wonderful lunch and to promote our venue for any and all types of catering events.