One of the great things about being a school bus driver is that I am off in the summer. It gives me time to recharge and part of that is meeting friends for lunch.
I got to do just that with my friend, Renee, this week. Since she works at UAB, I picked her up and we went to Urban Standard on 3rd Ave, N. between 23rd and 24th Streets in downtown Birmingham. It's kind of fun to go "downtown" to eat lunch. The atmosphere is very different from my regular stomping grounds in suburbia. Everything is "edgy" and "trendy".
The eating area is lined with seats from an old school auditorium. They lend ambiance I guess, but I didn't see anybody choosing to sit in them. The tables and chairs are from various and sundry parents. Light fixtures, with sale tags attached, made from different kinds of trash cans, hang here and there. Small tables and chairs line the sidewalk outside the front door for people who want to smoke or just want to sit outside. Of course there is Wi-Fi available.
The menu for lunch is mostly sandwiches and coffee, but the icing, literally, are the cupcakes. I had a bacon and pimento cheese sandwich on wheat bread with a side of orzo pasta salad.The smoked bacon was cooked good and crisp, the pimento cheese applied thickly and topped with fresh lettuce and tomato. The orzo was pleasantly tangy with Italian type dressing. Renee's chicken salad sandwich was full of yummy looking chicken salad and topped with green and purple lettuce leaves. She ordered a side of broccoli. She said it was delicious but the pieces were too big to eat and there weren't any knives in the silverware packet. She finally had to just stab it with her fork and take bites out of it that way.
Renee chose a lemon cupcake but I wanted the red velvet cake. They are small compared to monstrous varieties like Otis Spunkmeyer but quality trumps quantity. The cake was dense and perfectly textured and the twist of cream cheese icing on top was smooth as silk. In fact, the icing was so thick that to keep it from decorating my nose, I had to eat it with a fork. As one whose grandmother was a master of the red velvet cake, I feel qualified to pronounce it delicious.
Urban Standard is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on week days and for lunch only on Saturdays. If you go for lunch, get there early. We arrived about 11:30 and by 12:00 there was a line almost to the door. The only parking is on the street so that's another reason to beat the lunch rush. The early bird gets the first red velvet cupcake!