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Rock N Roll Sushi
Rock N Roll Sushi Manager Dalton Reaves, left, holds a Flying Dagger Roll and Tommy Lee Roll, while co-owner Ryan Hallmark holds a Led Zeppelin Roll.
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Photos by Roy L. Williams.
Sam Hess, left, and his son, Alex Lavigne have opened Jet’s Pizza at 4730 Chace Circle in Hoover.
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Victoria Dinges, owner of Relish 205 catering, will open Relish Cafe inside Hoover Tactical and Firearms on Montgomery Highway by mid-summer.
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From left Crystal Allgood, holding a Rustica pizza; co-owner Justin Allgood, holding a Chicken Florentine pizza; and manager Jason Dobnikar, holding a Greek veggie pizza.
When it comes to Hoover, there is no shortage of places to find a good meal.
From the busy 280 Corridor to U.S. 31 and Alabama 150, it seems every month new restaurants are moving into one of Alabama’s fastest-growing cities.
In May alone, two eateries – Rock n Roll Sushi and Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza – opened in the Patton Creek shopping center behind the Riverchase Galleria. Less than a mile away, Jet’s Pizza opened its first metro Birmingham franchise at 4730 Chace Circle.
Another restaurant, a meat and three called Relish Cafe, will be opening inside Hoover Tactical and Firearms by mid-summer. And more are on the way.
Hoover chamber and city officials credit the combination of a business-friendly government environment and quality of life as a main factor in the new restaurants opening in Hoover.
“The fact that new businesses, specifically restaurants, are continually seeking to locate in Hoover speaks very positively for our local economy,” said Hoover City Councilman John Lyda. “Many restaurants new to the state have chosen Hoover as their first Alabama home which is such a compliment to our community.”
Here is a look at the four of the new restaurants in Hoover:
- Owners: Sam Hess and Alex Lavigne
- Address: 4730 Chace Circle
- Website: jetspizza.com
- Hours of operation: Sun.-Thur. 10:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m. -11 p.m.
As a teenager in Detroit, Alex Lavigne learned the art of making pizzas while working at Jet’s Pizza, a popular regional pizza chain based in the city.
He continued to work for Jet’s while attending college at Central Michigan University and upon graduation, Lavigne managed a Jet’s restaurant in Nashville.
Now, at age 26, Lavigne has become a business owner for the first time, operating a Jet’s Pizza at 4730 Chace Circle in Hoover next to Jimmy John’s. Lavigne’s father, Sam Hess, is his business partner with Pizza Family LLC, an entity that both hope will eventually operate several Jet’s Pizza locations across metro Birmingham.
“We picked Hoover because it’s a great pizza market, very family-oriented,” Lavigne said. “Plus this is a great location.”
In operation only since April 28, Lavigne and Hess said they are getting lots of repeat business through word of mouth despite the absence of advertising.
Reaction has been extremely positive,” Hess said. “We’ve had some people come back two or three times a week.”
This is the first Jet’s Pizza in metro Birmingham. The chain was founded in Detroit in 1978 and began franchising in the early 1990s, Lavigne said. Currently, there are 350 Jet’s Pizza restaurants across the nation.
Hess said his son Alex will run the business, while he stays behind the scenes handling paperwork.
“Alex has a degree in entrepreneurship and has a great business mind,” Hess said. “We hope to open more locations here. We are glad to be able to provide jobs to young people.”
Hess said Jet’s Pizza is best known for its signature deep pan pizzas. Its best sellers are pepperoni and chicken barbecue deep pan pizzas. Jet’s sells four styles of pizza - deep dish, New York-style, hand-tossed pizzas and thin crust.
Besides pizzas, Jet’s Pizza sells sub sandwiches, salads and chicken wings.
“Our dough and pizza sauce are made fresh daily using 100 percent fresh ingredients,” Hess said.
- Owners: Victoria Dinges and Michael Dinges
- Address: 1561 Montgomery Highway
- Hoover, AL 35216
- Phone: 612-9135
- Website: relish205.com
- Hours of Operation: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
For years, Victoria Dinges and her husband Michael have built a loyal following through their catering business, Relish 205.
Now the Dinges are opening their first restaurant venture, Relish Cafe, inside Hoover Tactical & Firearms at 1561 Montgomery Highway. Victoria had hoped to be open already now, but she said due to delays the cafe won’t begin serving clients until possibly mid summer.
“We continue to get lots of inquiries from callers,” Victoria said. “People are obviously excited about what we’re doing.”
She has been in the restaurant business for six years as a line cook at Daniel George and as pastry chef at DoDiYo’s. Michael has been a cook at The Club and fine-dining restaurants Bottega and Daniel George.
Besides operating the restaurant inside Hoover Tactical and Firearms, Relish 205 will continue the catering business it is known for. The company specializes in catering for corporate functions, businesses and private chef services for individuals.
Victoria Dinges said the location inside Hoover Tactical will enable she and her husband to go after a broader audience as it will specialize in “meat and three” menu items.
“Our catering is mostly fine-dining but I wasn’t sure we could pull that off here,” Dinges said. “Here we will be more casual – meat and three, fish, chicken, a little bit of everything. We will be seasonal and change the menu often.”
Dinges said she and her husband had been seeking a location for a restaurant and was intrigued by the opportunity to lease space inside Hoover Tactical & Firearms.
“The kitchen here is huge and perfect for us,” Dinges said. “I think the cafe will work well together with their business.”
Rock N Roll Sushi
- Owners: Ryan Hallmark and Lance Hallmark
- Address: 4441 Creekside Ave., Suite 133
- Phone 733-6600
- Website: rhrsushi.com
- Hours of operation: Sun.-Wed. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Thur.-Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
With a name like Rock N Roll Sushi, you know exactly what to expect when you walk into this restaurant located near Baumhauer’s restaurant in Patton Creek. And owners Ryan Hallmark of Birmingham and his brother, Lance Hallmark of Mobile, don’t disappoint.
Inside the restaurant, which had a soft opening in early May, pictures of classic rock bands such as Kiss and AC/DC adorn the wall, along with electric guitars. The menus are even more original - old rock album covers.
Ryan said he and his brother opened their first Rock N Roll Sushi in Mobile in November 2010, and they soon added another one near Mobile and another in Saraland. The Patton Creek Rock N Roll Sushi is their fifth location.
They entered the Birmingham market in September 2011 with a Rock N Roll Sushi located in Trussville’s Pinnacle Square shopping center near the Best Buy store. A sixth location will open in June on University Boulevard in Tuscaloosa, Hallmark said.
Lance came up with the concept after working at a Hard Rock Cafe in Biloxi, Miss. Ryan, who was working as a helicopter lifesavers pilot, joined his brother and said the ride has been great so far.
“It has been successful in Trussville and we decided to expand. We studied the demographics of Hoover and knew it would be a good fit,” Hallmark said. “We’ve only been open a couple of weeks and already have over 150 likes on Facebook.”
Hallmark said he and his brother had fun coming up with their menu names.
The appetizers are called Opening Acts. The Classic Rock menu includes the Led Zeppelin, a soft shell crab with MJ toppings, mango salad and eel sauce.
The main entrees are called Headliners and feature such offerings as Elviz Rolls – tempura shrimp, cream cheese and whole rolls deep fried and topped with seasoned crawfish – and M’Donna Rolls – spicy-seasoned crawfish roll topped with crab, spicy mayo and hot chili sauce. Other Headliners include the Metallica Roll, Poison Roll, Def Leppard Roll and AC/DC Roll.
As you eat, rock music entertains diners from the speakers. Ryan said even folks skeptical of sushi have become fans.
“We have won over a lot of skeptics,” he said. “Rock N Roll Sushi appeals to everyone, young and old. We offer high energy, good food in a casual atmosphere.”
Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza
- Owner/operators: Justin Allgood, Russell Pate and Courtney Mason
- Address: 181 Main Street, Suite 241
- Phone: 989-0091
- Website: brixxpizza.com
- Hours of Operation: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. - 1 a.m., Sun. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Justin Allgood made the move from Athens, Georgia to the Birmingham area to work as a business consultant with Zaxby's Franchising to partner with two Zaxby's franchisees to branch out into pizza. The trio, operating as Rolling Dough Hoover LLC, in mid-April opened Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza in the Patton Creek shopping center on Main Street next to Moe’s Barbecue.
It’s the first Alabama location for Brixx, a North Carolina-based pizza chain started in 1998 that has 30 restaurants across the country.
Allgood said his transition from Zaxby’s chicken fingers to running a Brixx pizza restaurant has been smooth so far.
“Its such a great concept -– there is something for everybody, we even have gluten-free pizzas and whole wheat crusts,” Allgood said. “Our pizzas are cooked in a stone oven at 650 to 750 degrees, and are ready in four minutes. They are all thin crust, 10-inch pizzas.”
Allgood said the wood-fired oven gives Brixx pizzas a tasty, unique flavor. “They aren’t your traditional, Italian pizzas,” he said.
Besides pizzas, Brixx sells pastas, salads and sandwiches, all made in-house fresh daily. Brixx does dine in and take out only, no deliveries. Allgood said business has been good, especially among patrons of local shops and the Patton Creek movie theater nearby.
Brixx has seen a combination of families, individuals and professional patrons. For children, there is a chalkboard allowing kids to draw while waiting on the pizza. The restaurant also carries 24 craft beers, including many made by local brewers such as Good People Brewery. Monday is $2.50 craft bees all day and bottles of wine are half-price on Sundays, Allgood said.
Their buy one, get one free pizza and appetizer special – after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursdays and after 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays – has been especially popular, Allgood said.
“This is the first Brixx in Alabama but business has been so good we have plans to open more,” Allgood said.