Birmingham, Alabama: Niki's West

From Nashville, we headed south toward Mississippi. Rather than take the Natchez Trace through Memphis (it's a great city, but I'd been there before), we went through Alabama to get a taste of the Jackson homeland. Mooner directed us to a local favorite, Bogue's diner, but unfortunately it was closed. Thankfully, Mooner's Google Phone led us to another out-of-the-way legend: Niki's West Steak and Seafood Restaurant, located across the street from the Birmingham Farmers Market (above).


We're still not sure why it's called a "steak and seafood" place, since neither were on offer. But almost every other Southern delicacy was.

The food is served cafeteria style (above). Nothing is labeled and the line moves fast. When Mooner asked Mr. Surly Server (pictured above, arm outstretched) if a particular item was in his station, he growled "It's ALL my station."

"Meat & 3" is a standard meal template in the South but at Niki's we went for something like "Meat & Many." Pictured above, moving clockwise: Niki's famous Greek chicken (amazing), Fried okra, Fried green tomatoes, a new variation on banana pudding, pulled pork, coleslaw, potato salad, and lima beans. Plus the obligatory iced tea. No, we were unable to finish it all, tasty as it was.
The waitress asked us where we were from.
"Is it that obvious?" I asked.
"Well, y'all were taking pictures of the food..." she replied.
Case closed.