Helen – A Contemporary Southern Grill
Chef Rob McDaniel and his wife, Emily, are thrilled to announce Helen, their debut restaurant in downtown Birmingham. Named for Chef McDaniel’s late grandmother, the restaurant pays homage to his memories of cooking over the hardwood coals and smoke of her indoor grill.
Nestled in a two-story 1920s-era shotgun-style building, Helen offers convivial atmosphere, timeless elegance, and a refined Southern menu focused on seasonality. The space reflects Southern Antique, Chef McDaniel’s love for his grandmother, the outdoors, and his Alabama roots. Expect to see an open kitchen, curated Southern art (including a custom portrait of Helen painted by Charleston-based artist Hannah Hurt), nods to Chef’s love of hunting, Custom church-style pews, and stunning steel and glass jewel-box wine cellar. Guests have the option to begin their evening at an intimate downstairs bar or the spacious, lively bar upstairs before dining in either the downstairs or upstairs dining rooms.
Chef McDaniel is a five-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South semifinalist (2013-2017) and was honored as Auburn University’s 2012 Outstanding Hotel and Restaurant Management Program Alumnus. Driven by seasonality and produce from local purveyors, the menu offers a large selection of vegetables alongside prime meats, seafood, and non-traditional sides such as “From the Soil” Coal-Roasted Okra with Garlic, Fresh Chili, and Benne Seeds, and Simmered Summer Peas with Carolina Gold Rice Middlins and Basil, “From the Land, Air, & Sea” Wet-Aged Porterhouse, Smoked Lamb Shank, Roasted Duck Breast, and Tripletail A La Plancha. The bar program will feature a selection of traditional and seasonal cocktails as well as a wine list with a focus on classic appellation varietals. Talented Chef and team!
VISIT: Helen Restaurant, 2013 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham, AL; Helen.com 205.438.7000
- By Nancy Radlauer, Editor-in-Chief; Editor.InboundMagazine@gmail.com