Residents in Birmingham, Ala are debating whether or not the city has enough family restaurants and if it is able to maintain these restaurants. The debate broke out on March 10, 2013 when Barrio Taco and Tequila (a popular family restaurant in Birmingham) announced that it had closed its doors. According to an article in the Birmingham Patch, Barrio's closure sparked the debate not only over the dearth of family restaurants in the city, but also over the dining landscape of Birmingham itself.
The reality is that there is no simple answer to this issue. In fact the only way to even attempt to solve it is to examine not only the dining landscape of this city, but also the city itself. So what is Birmingham? For starters, Birmingham is Alabama's largest city. The city itself boasts a population of 212,237 residents. Birmingham is also the banking hub for the state as well. Two of the nation's largest banks, Regions Financial Corporation and BBVA Compass have their corporate headquarters in Birmingham, and several smaller banks like Cadence Bank and New South Federal Savings Bank also call Alabama's largest city home. Aside from banking, the city is also the home of several insurance companies and is a regional hub for companies like AT&T and Coca Cola.
What this is saying is that the city is a magnet for corporate entities, and because of this it is easy to see how the dining scene has shifted from family-friendly to upscale. Upscale restaurants will cater towards the large amount of executives from the major companies that are based in Birmingham. Another factor to consider is the revitalization of Downtown Birmingham. The city's planners are working to make Downtown Birmingham a 24-hour hotspot for young professionals much like the Lo-Do district in Denver or the Riverfront Market area in Little Rock. While these hotspots do cater to a more youthful market, that market has to be able to legally buy alcoholic beverages.
So is family dining in Birmingham dead? It does not have to be. The reality is that the best way to ensure that family dining remains a part of Birmingham's dining scene is to continually frequent those restaurants. A restaurant exists for one sole purpose: to make money. The sales volume of a restaurant needs to be high enough to justify the expenses that go into running that restaurant. While many corporate executives are looking for upscale restaurants to take clients to, just as many are looking for a place to take a family of four to. The reason is because family-friendly restaurants offer a relaxed atmosphere that is suitable for children, as well as reasonable prices (remember that most executives who treat clients to meals at these upscale establishments are doing so with a corporate expense account). So the best thing that Birmingham residents can do to ensure that their city does not lose anymore family restaurants is to start frequenting the ones that are currently open and maybe the franchise owners will start paying attention to this problem.
If you enjoyed reading this article feel free to click on the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of the page and be notified immediately whenever a new article is published.