Perfect Lunch Spot for Family Day: The Gardens Cafe

Thanks to Birmingham Restaurant Week, I am literally about to eat my way through Birmingham.   It is serving as a wonderful excuse to try restaurants that are not in my ‘rotation’, so to speak.    And so, I began my restaurant tour of Birmingham at The Gardens Cafe by Kathy G.

Despite a long and cherished friendship with Kathy Mezrano, I must confess that I have never eaten at The Gardens Cafe (shame on me).  The Birmingham Botanical Gardens provide the perfect outings for moms with young children and strollers.  Along with many moms, I spent hours walking the gardens when my children were young – fresh air, exercise and the freedom for children to roam a bit without overstimulation is a perfect combination for a morning trip.  Naturally, when I looked at the list for BRW2013 on behalf of, I knew instantly that we should kickoff our reviews at the Cafe.

Enjoy this chicken/artichoke heart lasagna and lemon sorbet with berries for $10 during Restaurant Week 2013

Joined by Kathy G Mezrano and her grandson, Devin, I enjoyed an absolutely delicious BRW menu item (chicken/artichoke hearts lasagna and lemon sorbet with berries) and an insightful conversation about the importance of family meal time, healthy eating and the story behind Kathy Mezrano’s successful company.   Outside our window, two moms lifted a blanket and set up a picnic for their kids, a bridal luncheon was served upstairs and yet more women with strollers were gathered comfortably on the patio enjoying the cafe menu.    Despite the activity, our time felt completely uninterrupted and private.

The Garden’s Cafe lunch menu is diverse with a clear intent on quality produce and taste.  The menu includes daily soups, salads (a favorite chicken salad, of course) and sandwiches but also hearty selections including a rosemary grilled chicken sandwich, a sirloin burger or a daily entree.  If you’d like to eat outside on the BBG grounds, bring a blanket and let the Cafe pack your picnic.

For children, the Gardens Cafe serves chicken fingers with homemade parmesan chips ($5) or a grilled cheese sandwich ($4). Devin (headed to 2nd grade) offered that his favorite healthy foods include broccoli and fruits.    Healthy meals were an integral part of Kathy Mezrano’s family meals.  She noted that even when a busy mom needs to order pizza before a ballgame that a salad or fruit can be added quickly.  As an example, she added carrots to Devin’s plate to demonstrate the difference – an easy improvement.

Enjoy a wonderful day at the Birmingham Zoo or the Birmingham Botanical Gardens but treat yourself to a beautiful lunch at The Gardens Cafe by Kathy G.  The juxtaposition of the bridal luncheon upstairs and the moms with strollers downstairs will remind you that life is a journey that can be punctuated by beautiful meals and family time along the way.

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