Hands down, Brick & Tin is one of my current top five favorite Birmingham restaurants, and this is primarily because of their Brisket Panini. I usually like to try different things when I frequent a restaurant, but their brisket is so good that every time I go I struggle with what to order (#firstworldprobs).
Chef and owner Mauricio Papapietro, who worked alongside Chef Chris Hastings at Hot and Hot Fish Club and Chef Frank Stitt at Highlands Bar and Grill, opened the downtown location of Brick & Tin in the summer of 2010. When doing the demolition, hidden gems such as century old brick walls and tin ceiling tiles were discovered and kept, hence the restaurant’s name. And when opening his second location in Mountain Brook back in 2014, another brick wall was found and kept as part of the bakery’s enclosure.
A fast-casual but first-rate restaurant, Brick & Tin offers tasty, seasonal sides, source their ingredients from local purveyors, and use meat from animals that were humanely raised in pastures and free roaming ranges. They also bake all of their own bread at their Mountain Brook location, and a perk of visiting the Mountain Brook restaurant (besides the later weekday hours and being open on the weekends) is their bakery. Tucked away in the left back side of the restaurant, you must try one of their baked goodies when you go. I’ve gotten something different each time – strawberry macaroons, pistachio shortbread, peanut butter cookies, and it’s all so good!
A little pro tip (especially if you’re looking for a good date option and it’s a pretty day), call in your order at the Mountain Brook location, and when you pick it up, take it and picnic nearby at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. You can sit out at the tables by the reflection pool on the right as soon as you enter, or take a blanket and picnic among the roses or the rhododendron garden.
What to Eat When You Go
There are some variations between the downtown menu and the Mountain Brook menu, and because the Mountain Brook location is opened on the weekends, they also offer brunch on Sundays, which is amazing!
As I mentioned above, the Brisket Panini is the staple ($10). They braise the Aspen Ridge beef (which you can get at Western), allowing it to soak in a brine for 48 hours before cooking it in the oven. For more about their technique, check out this al.com article.
With any of their paninis, you get a a choice of a seasonal Salad, Soup, or Side. They do an incredible tomato soup and potato leek soup, and their side is often a couscous dish, such as the cherry, herb, and nut couscous (see the accompanying picture) that I enjoyed this winter. Their options change regularly, so be sure to read the sign in the restaurant or ask what they are (if ordering on the phone).
I also like their New Orleans Panini (salami, capitol, mortadella, provolone, and olives on focaccia), the Bourbon County Panini (sharp cheddar, white cheddar, Swiss and bacon-whiskey marmalade on pain de mie loaf), and the Tuscan Panini (roasted Portobello, oven dried tomato, pecan pesto, and provolone on focaccia).
The Mountain Brook location also offers plates in the $16-$25 range, which rotate, but for now, it includes Spring Pasta (pancetta, almonds, asparagus, sweet peas, shitake mushrooms, and pecorino Romano with spaghetti), Sauteed Salmon (served with curly spinach, fingerling potatoes, spring onions, sicilian olives, and pimenton yogurt sauce), and Crispy Pork (served with cheddar grits and spring vegetables relish with fresh mint).
- Downtown: 214 20th St. N.
- Mountain Brook: 2901 Cahaba Rd.
- Monday-Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. & 5 – 9 p.m.
- Mountain Brook
- Monday-Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.