This week we decided to visit the Tip Top Grill in Bluff Park. Tip Top is located about a mile further out Shades Crest Road from Mr. P's. This is a truly unique hot dog place being in a converted filling station perched on the edge of the bluff tight beside "Lover's Leap". This place is a little off the beaten path for most of us but is worth the trip.
Somehow I have lived all of my life in Birmingham and totally missed this particular little spot on the edge of Shades Mountain. Tip Top Grill has one of the most beautiful mountain views in this area. With abundant outdoor seating it is the perfect place for lunch in pleasant weather. By using just a little imagination you can experience a short vacation in your visit to Tip Top.
They are open from early in the morning until mid afternoon six days a week and serve a good choice of breakfasts as well as sandwiches at lunch.
So, how's the food? We each had our usual order of a hot dog and a chili dog with a side of chips (fries for Robert) and a drink.
The dogs are good. The hot dogs are much like hot dogs one would get at most of the hot dog stands in Birmingham. The chili dog is good also. The chili is a little different, having a sweet taste, but has a very good flavor. If there is any thing to criticize it would be that they seem to skimp on the chili a little. This makes for a neat civilized hot dog that doesn't drip or overflow but just seems a little too civilized. I would encourage the customer to request extra chili; then if more is needed ask if they are running out.
Did I mention the view? There is not only a view complete with a mountain top breeze, but a short little trail down the rocks to visit the inscription on one of the boulders hanging high above the slope to Shades Valley.
P.S. - the second visit:
I liked this place so much I wanted to return a few days later on Saturday and take my wife, youngest daughter and her husband. They were VERY busy on this beautiful Fall Saturday which indicates that I am far from the first to discover this place. I have found the way to get more chili on the chili dogs. After I was served I took my tray and filled my drink cup, then returned to the counter and asked for some more chili on my chili dog. Rather than taking my dog back they gave me a cup with more chili in it which worked out just right.
One more thought... Here's the story regarding the poetic carving in the rocks just below Tip Top:
One of Alabama's first legislators, Thomas W. Farrar came to the site and camped for several days with his new bride on what he then called Sunset Rock. The Farrar's were on their way from their New Orleans' wedding to their new home in Elyton in 1827. It is here where he carved the first four lines of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage", a poem by Lord Byron.
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been,"