Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sol's - Downtown

This week Robert and I found it a little easier to get together for hot dogs. We were in agreement that we needed to go to Sol's Deli in downtown Birmingham. If the viewer is paying attention he will remember our visits to another Sol's in Norwood. This is a totally different place that had somehow escaped our attention for a long time. Sol's downtown is not a hot dog stand, it's a deli that also serves "meat and three" at lunch. But they do serve very good hot dogs.

If you look at their address it is No. 2, 20th Street North Suite 120. The address assigned by the Postal Service is very misleading. They are located in the building named today "Two North Twentieth" but known to old-timers like me as "The Bank for Savings Building" facing Morris Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. Their front door opens onto the sidewalk along Morris Avenue closer to 19th than 20th Street (See the arrow). Apparently this building, an icon of the 60s, has a 20th Street address even though it doesn't even have a door opening onto 20th Street. Go figure... We were glad to spot the sidewalk sign shown above; because with only the address in hand we would have had a hard time finding it.

Sol's is a downtown deli that is far more than a hot dog stand. They have something for everyone; from sandwiches the meat and three lunches as well as breakfast and catering.

So, how are the hot dogs? Very good! Robert ordered a "Sol dog" and a chilli dog while I ordered a "slaw dog" and a chilli dog. We cut the slaw dog and the "Sol dog" in half so we could both sample all the offerings. We found the dogs to be all beef franks served on toasted buns. The chilli dog was topped with chilli that is obviously home made and cheese. The Sol dog was loaded with kraut and mustard with a hint of something red (ketchup?). The slaw dog was loaded with a generous layer of a good slaw. The hot dogs are good and I would assume the rest of their food is just as good.
I was reminded again how we can attract attention by simply taking a few pictures. As usual I took several pictures of the food and the restaurant, but not unnoticed. As we were leaving I was approached by Jeff Bajalieh, one of the three brothers, the sons of the original Sol. He gave a special greeting which led to a short conversation.

A little background on Sol's: Sol Bajalieh arrived in the United States in 1965. His love of people and food inspired him to open Sol’s Sandwich Shop & Deli in 1968 in downtown Birmingham in the John Hand building, the old First National Bank building. Sol provided the downtown scene with delicious meals until 1995 when the building was closed for renovations. Thirteen years later Sol’s three sons: Jeff, Chris, and Jason revived the deli right down the street from the original location in honor of their late Father.

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