Tag Archives: English Village

Gallery 1930: Business Spotlight


Kathryn Keith, Laura Vogtle, Meredith Keith and Amanda Morrissette at Gallery 1930. Photo by Madoline Markham.

Retail pop-ups have been all the rage in recent years. Businesses essentially set up shop in a temporary setting, offering unique and exclusive items for sale. Target creates pop-up locations in Manhattan at Christmastime. Baker and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan did one selling only cookies. The allure of these limited-time-only ventures is that it allows retailers the opportunity to test the waters of their enterprises. Weeklong or month-long leases are a win-win for owners with vacant spaces to fill AND retailers looking to determine market interest.

This is the idea behind how Gallery 1930 came to be.

Located in the front half of a one-story white modern building at the corner of Cahaba Road and 20th Street South in English Village, Gallery 1930 is run by Laura Vogtle and her mother, Kathryn Keith.  The gallery features the work of Laura’s sister, Meredith Keith. The paintings, some small, some oversized, feature a variety of scenes in black-and-white: a horse at rest, a downtown Birmingham city scene, a flower in abstract.  The pieces are grouped in ways that gallery visitors and buyers can envision them at home on their own walls.
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VINO: Restaurant Showcase



VINO owner Al Rabiee with the restaurant’s Pan Seared Grouper. Photo by Madoline Markham.

A recent Friday evening had this Mountain Brook resident rubbing her eyes in disbelief: there was a veritable traffic jam in English Village.  From my vantage point at a white-tablecloth-clad table on the pea-gravel-lined courtyard, I saw dozens of people make their way into the new restaurant at the corner of Cahaba Road and 20th Street South. VINO, open now for just a couple of months, is situated in the heart of English Village but diners will immediately find themselves feeling like they’re somewhere on the Cote d’Azur or Amalfi Coast.

Opened by Birmingham restaurateur Al Rabiee, VINO’s menu boasts such offerings as calamari, salmon artichoke skewers, salads, beef and chicken kabobs, simple grilled fish and more. My daughter, Amanda, and I were enjoying a girls’ night out and ordered several things to share.  We started with the Artichoke Castroville featuring large California artichoke hearts filled with Bulgarian feta, plump sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.  There were four pieces in this appetizer, priced at $6.50. Friends at nearby tables were busy enjoying their choices too: VINO Hummus ($5), Spice Shrimp ($7.75) and market-priced crab claws. Continue reading

July 25 City Council Meeting

Liberty Tree Memorial. Mountain Brook has accepted an elm from the Liberty Tree Society to be placed on Vine Street near the Board of Education.

English Village Parking Lots. Police Chief Ted Cook recommends that the lower parking lot change to 24-hour, all day parking. The idea will be considered until the lease is renewed in September.

Retirement Window. The City is considering a retirement window from October 1, 2011 to May 1, 2012 for employees in City service to retire with medical benefits if they have served for 20 years or 10 years and are over age 60.

A sketch of the plan for the new municipal complex. Photo courtesy of Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce.

Municipal Complex Updates. The complex currently stands at $210,000 over budget. Although the City would prefer to install a slate roof to the structure, it would cost the City an additional $250,000. Brasfield & Gorrie plan to meet with members of the council to discuss alternate options including a synthetic slate.

Sprinkler Ordinance Update. The ordinance that took effect on January 1 of this year required all new-construction homes to include automatic fire sprinkler systems, but the price that was presented when the Council adopted this ordinance and what it actually costs has risen dramatically. For now, there is a 30 day moratorium on the ordinance and the possibility to repeal the ordinance will be discussed next month.

Board of Zoning Adjustment. Carol Johnson was appointed as a supernumerary member of the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Village Design Review Committee. Bob Walker was nominated for this position, but because he was unable to be there, the nomination was carried over until the next meeting.

Stop Sign on Country Club Blvd. According to the recommendation of the lieutenant, a stop sign will replace the yield sign on Country Club Blvd. where it meets Fairway Drive.

Next Meeting. The next meeting of the Mountain Brook City Council will be on Monday, August 8 at the temporary City Hall, 3928 Montclair Road, Suite 232.

Springalingadingdong returns



Continental Bakery owner Carole Griffin parades through English Village with Cameron Allen at last year’s Springalingadingding. Photo courtesy Shay Allen.

On  May 7 English Village will transform into a whimsical celebration of springtime reminiscent of those in European villages. Quirky and colorful, Springalingadingdong features parades, bread tosses, a beheading of Marie Antoinette and more. The local village festival is the creative expression of ringleader Carole Griffin and her team at Chez Lulu and Continental Bakery as a way to show appreciation for customers.

This year the Third Annual Springalingadingdong will be divided into kid-friendly daytime and more adult nighttime festivities like those at the original spring celebration for Continental Bakery’s 25th anniversary in 1999.
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Chez Lulu & Continental Bakery: Restaurant Spotlight


Bohemian.  Eclectic.  Free-thinking.  Spirited.  These are the words that come to mind when you meet Carole Griffin, owner of Chez Lulu Restaurant and Continental Bakery in English Village.  The same words could also define a gypsy-soul, an individual filled with wanderlust, someone who’s very idea of happiness is globetrotting, finding home wherever she lays her head.  But firmlygrounded roots are the foundation to Carole’s success.  She possesses a certain je ne sais quoi.  In everything she does, she goes against type.  Instead of flitting from continent to continent, she has instead become the magnet, the force which attracts all kinds of activity to her eateries on Cahaba Road. Continue reading