Our story with Niki’s West started long before we ate there. We actually tried to eat there three years ago, but they were closed when we got there (don’t go to a place closed on the weekends on a Saturday). So, driving home from “the Bluegrass”, as we neared Birmingham around lunch, I thought today would be the perfect day. As they say above, they’ve been open since 1957 and this location is the little sister to the former Niki’s downtown. There are meat and threes and there are “mother-ship cafeterias”. Niki’s is among the latter.
Thank the Good Lord that I had taken my curlers out and my pajamas off. We walked in a little late for lunch at this second-generation Greek-owned meat and three, so the cafeteria line was not to the door, as it is for much of the lunch rush. The picture below is midway down the line, showing the selection of sides. For perspective, there were three different people working the 24 daily sides. Yes, twenty-four daily sides.
The other crazy thing is that this place has to seat at 450 people, maybe more. It was massive. We had been told, by Garden N Gun to come for one thing – stewed tomatoes (a “marriage of stale white bread, heaps of sugar and lobes of tomato”). We both chose that one. My beloved’s plate is on the top half of the table – “Greek” chicken, turnip greens, stewed tomatoes, okra and cornbread.
On the bottom half of the table, my plate(s) – fried chicken, lima beans, stewed tomatoes, mac and cheese and a parker house roll. The stewed tomatoes were very sweet, but good – reminding me a lot of a tomato pie. The other sides were fine and we both enjoyed our chicken. Overall, the breadth of the selection was more impressive than the taste of the dishes.