The Pizitz building was built in Birmingham almost one-hundred years ago in 1923 to house one of the city’s favorite department stores. Louis Pizitz started his dry goods company in 1899 and his business flourished, but nothing lasts forever. The company was sold in 1959 and the building was remodeled and added onto, before it fell into a state of abandonment by the end of the millennium.

Developers bought the building in 2000, promising a total renovation. It took a decade, but in 2010 tenants agreed to the $60 million project and work began in earnest. Renamed “The Pizitz”, the building would mostly rent residential or commercial space either catering to the latest trends and the emerging sensibilities of gen-Y.

Plans also set aside tens of thousands of feet at ground level for potential restaurants or shopping areas.

That set aside space became the Pizitz Food Hall, and today it offers visitors a smorgasbord of options, including two full service restaurants and twelve smaller food vendors, most serving exotic dishes from all over the globe. Other retail establishments include Yellowhammer Print Shop and Warby Parker. Pizitz Food Hall is also home to Forge, a creative work space. A recently added outdoor patio space offers an open air option for the city’s downtown crowd.

Opened during the summer of 2017, the Pizitz Food Hall celebrates its one-year anniversary with a full slate of busy vendors. The concept has lived up to expectations, and what was once a depressed area of the city has transformed into an attractive stop for urbanites and food fans and Birmingham’s burgeoning tourist market.

Alabama Biscuit

Maybe less exotic, though definitely more familiar to Birmingham, the Alabama Biscuit Company started four years ago when Jonathan and Meredith Burch set out with their special recipe. “The ABC” uses spelt flour in their biscuits which comes from the nearby To Your Health Sprouted Flour company in Montgomery. The results have been so successful that they’ve outgrown their Cahaba Heights location to add a vendor space in the food hall. Their locally-sourced ingredients are featured heavily in their “Alabama” biscuit, which is topped with maple butter sauce and soaked with roasted pecans. Their biscuits can also be ordered with Stone Hollow goat cheese, a local honey drizzle, or with ham and grass fed cheese. The Burches hope to inspire others to source locally.

Busy Corner Cheese & Provisions

Owner Brian McMillan started in Birmingham at Hot & Hot Fish Club, under two-time James Beard finalist Chris Hastings. McMillan’s Busy Corner Cheese combines its owner’s love of cheese with homage to a bygone era, when food was more slowly and carefully prepared. In addition to cheese, Busy Corner sells or prepares specialty products including pickled items and fresh deli meat. The impressive selection of cheeses often includes those from favorite Southern producers Sequatchie Cove Creamery in Tennessee and Sweet Grass Dairy of Georgia.

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill serves authentic, homemade Middle Eastern dishes, including falafel, kebabs, shawarma, and pita. Owner Eli Markshtein moved to Alabama from Israel when he was only 23. Markshtein brought along his mother’s recipes, influenced by the Holy Land’s different cultures. His original restaurant a success, Markshtein has now expanded into the food hall with his vendor space.

Fero

Fero, the first of the Pizitz Food Hall’s full service restaurants, is the Italian-Mediterranean project of Chef Akhtar Nawab. During Nawab’s time in New York City, he was mentored by Chef David Chang who went on to found the restaurant group Momofuku, before creating and starring in his Netflix-produced series “Ugly Delicious.” Nawab sought out the excitement of Birmingham as the next big “food city,” and so far the result has been a success.

Open for dinner or brunch, Fero serves its visitors a gracious palette of Italian favorites. For example, their Stuffed Peppadews offer a taste of freshly ground sausage and gorgonzola dolce. They also offer Pecorino Fondutta, Bruschetta, and pastas — including ziti, rigatoni, bucatini, and carbonetta.

Ghion Cultural Hall

The Pizitz Food Hall’s second full-service restaurant, Ghion Cultural Hall, announced the much anticipated arrival of Ethiopian food in Alabama. Claimed to be the first of its kind in the state, Ghion Cultural Hall began in Atlanta and is owned by Amanshwa Takele. Ethiopian dishes are eaten by people sitting together and eating at once from a single platter, with hunks of bread used to scoop or absorb the platter’s offerings. As opposed to eating in silence by yourself, this style of communal eating has offered an exciting change.

Ichicoro Imoto

Ichicoro Imoto offers visitors a chance to try authentic, signature style ramen-ya. “Imoto”, which means “little sister” in Japanese, is meant to distinguish the Pizitz Food Hall location from the first, full-sized Ichicoro location in Tampa, Florida. Started by chefs Masaru Takaku and Noel Cruz, the streamlined dining experience greets visitors with steaming bowls of ramen that come in four different savory varieties.

Juiced Up Essentials

JuicedUp Essentials serves as the perfect pitstop when you’re racing from the gym to your cramped office complex. Their vegetarian smoothies are packed with health boosting vitamins and minerals to help boost your body’s immunity and energy. Also, the smoothies are power packed with antioxidant rich proteins and Acai berries.

Lichita’s Popsicles & Ice Cream

Eloy Garcia named his business after his daughter Lichita. Garcia then moved to the United States from southern Mexico and opened his first shop in Tennessee. Lichita’s specialties are unique and authentic Mexican flavors including rice, guava, coconut, and burnt milk. There are also a range of more traditional flavors available.

The Louis Bar

At the center of the food hall’s soaring space lies The Louis Bar, a place where the millennial crowd mingles with the business suits. An eclectic menu of cocktails and local craft beer delights and refreshes visitors to Birmingham’s downtown.

MO:MO:

MO:MO: features traditional and authentic Nepalese dumplings, Himalayan dishes and drinks which stimulate the senses. A creative culinary experience, MO:MO: is owned by Abhi Sainju. Sainju, a native of Nepal, previously opened Bamboo on 2nd.

Ono Poke

Ono Poke is owned by Vietnamese Chef Vinh Tran and serves traditional Hawaiian and Japanese food. Poke is a dish that’s very common in Hawaii and consists of raw tuna, marinated and finished with a variety of toppings. Their proteins include tofu, salmon, shrimp, as well as the traditional tuna. Visitors can create their own bowls and fill them with ingredients of their choice.

Piper & Leaf Tea Company

Based in Huntsville, Alabama, Piper & Leaf Tea Company brings genuine Southern flavor to the tea industry. Famous for refreshing iced teas and soothing hot varieties, this vendor offers seemingly infinite choices to tea lovers. The semi-finalist in the 2018 Eat Y’all Best Southern Ingredient Bracket Contest has a dedicated fan base and continues to expand its presence across its home state and the country.

REVeal Kitchen: The Preservery

REVeal Kitchen helps developing chefs showcase their latest creations. A new chef takes over quarterly and strives to please you. Chefs come from around the South and across the nation to showcase their culinary skills.

Silver Kati: Indian Street Food

Kati rolls are popular in the streets of India as skewered kebabs wrapped in a special bread called paratha. Silver Kati has brought this Indian street favorite to the Pizitz Food Hall, and that’s a good thing. Authentically handcrafted and locally-sourced, their kati rolls are topped with exotic spices and chutneys.

The Standard

The Standard is an authentic, traditional American-style cheeseburger and hot dog vendor and is owned by Chef Matt Ralph, who also co-owns Wooden Goat, an Asian restaurant in Avondale. The Standard uses house-ground patties and authentic ingredients. For the health-conscious, their “veggie” burger comes with fresh avocado, white cheddar, cabbage slaw, and romesco between two warm potato rolls.

Waffle Works

Waffle Works explains itself. Their menu is inspired by authentic Southern traditions, but also Belgian-style favorites, all cooked to order. There’s the Fried Chicken Waffle or their unique Shrimp and Grits Waffle. Waffle Works rounds out the Pizitz Food Hall’s lone Southern-themed representatives, alongside the Alabama Biscuit Company.

{Southern Hospitality with International Flavor}

The Pizitz Food Hall reflects the South’s shifting identity toward a more global approach to food, where exotic flavors from around the world are welcome alongside Southern staples. Birmingham looks to follow Atlanta in attracting the wallets of culture enthusiasts from around the nation and one year into operation, this Southern Food Hall has established itself as a downtown neighbor with staying power.

The Pizitz Food Hall is located at 1821 Second Avenue North Birmingham, Alabama 35202. The’re open Monday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Louis Bar is open Monday thru Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday thur Saturday 11 a.m. to 11p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please keep in mind that individual vendor hours may vary.