With a love of nearly all things Roman, and a training rich in Southern and French food culture, the owners of ZaZa Trattoria (now Trattoria Centrale) opened their doors in the summer of 2009. Almost overnight, ZaZa gained popularity for its pizza al taglio, a light, flavorful, rectangular-shaped pizza originated and sold by the slice throughout Rome.

Those not in the mood for pizza (who’s not in the mood for pizza?) will find seasonally inspired salads, specials, soups, as well as traditional Roman pastas like penne all’arrabbiata and spaghetti cacio e pepe to satisfy their hunger.  A daily breakfast menu highlighted with locally sourced eggs, bread, grits, coffee and milk (for the only truly local latte in the city) gives diners a taste of what has become Trattoria Centrale’s most popular event:  Sunday brunch.

A pizza place that does Sunday brunch?  Yup.  The almost famous brunch menu seamlessly weaves Italian ingredients and Southern know-how with their mascarpone stuffed french toast, breakfast pizza topped with local farm eggs, seasonal frittatas, biscuits ‘n gravy, and more.  For over 5 years, large crowds gather each weekend for the one-of-a-kind experience that has become the Trattoria Centrale brunch.

With the success their Italian sidewalk cafe, and a commitment to downtown Birmingham’s steady revitalization, the owners opened their second project, El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar, in 2011 just blocks away on 2nd Avenue North.  Inspired by the regional cuisine of Mexico, but guided by the bounty and culture of the South, El Barrio offers diners a truly unique dining experience.  Open for lunch, dinner and a seriousSaturday brunch, this downtown hotspot has quickly become a destination restaurant that reaches far beyond its barrio.

Because Birmingham had been so supportive of their first 2 endeavors, and because the stars aligned just perfectly, Paramount Bar was opened in 2014, directly across from Trattoria Centrale. A slight departure from their previous projects, Paramount is equal parts bar and restaurant. Think sportsbar, reinvented.  Loaded with TV’s, icy cold beer, craft cocktails, throwback arcade games and well-crafted pub food, Paramount has a bit of something for everyone (unless there is someone out there who doesn’t like anything. In that case, that person can’t come.) Come for the game, stay for the food, play for the fun!