Hot Restaurants

in Alabama

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Chez Fonfon — (205) 939-3221; 2007 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama

Amenities: Kid sister of the celebrated Highlands Bar & Grill (featured in the May/June97 issue of, the newsletter), and right next door, this restaurant is capturing the favor of solo business travelers and locals whose mates are out of town. It’s easy to understand why.

The indoor/outdoor setting is entrancing — Have a glass of wine in a courtyard overlooking a boule court where you can play the French equivalent of horseshoes and follow up with a meal at one of the cozy, Belle Epoque cherry café tables.

Cuisine: French Bistro

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Hot and Hot Fish Club — (205) 933-5474; 2180 11th Court South, Birmingham, Alabama.

Amenities: Regular solo diners here are happy and in a rut. They sit, read and eat.

Unless new-comers follow their lead, they face a wealth of decisions.

When asked where solos sit, chef/owner Chris Hastings replied, "Depends on who you like to talk to." Then he rattled off, "The dining counter seating 12 that overlooks the kitchen, a table or the bar." Adding, "Our business clientele come from every corner of the United States — interesting people to talk to."

The regular local solos are no slouches, either. They include several women and a male medical doctor who appears every Wednesday and Friday.

Cuisine: Global, with respect to seasonality and Southern ingredients.

Neighborhood: Southside.

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