• Avondale Park was given a $2.88 million facelift in 2011, followed by a series of new restaurants and other businesses opening. Photo by Ian KeelAvondale Park was given a $2.88 million facelift in 2011, followed by a series of new restaurants and other businesses opening. Photo by Ian KeelDestiny Hosmer - Contributor
    drhosmer@uab.edu

    Over the past five years, Avondale has experienced an increase of what some call revitalization, but others worry it may be gentrification.
  • Tessa CaseStaff Writer
    tessmc@uab.edu

    It isn’t often that you hear the words “sushi” and “burrito” in the same sentence, and even less often to hear of a mound of sushi-grade Ahi tuna on top of Doritos. This is, however, exactly what you’ll find at Wasabi Juan’s, the focus of this week’s cheap eats.
  • Berliner Weisse beer rests on the counter of the bar at Saigon Noodle House, which also offers a variety of Japanese food items. Photo by Tessa CaseBerliner Weisse beer rests on the counter of the bar at Saigon Noodle House, which also offers a variety of Vietnamese food items. Photo by Tessa CaseTessa Case - News Editor
    news@insideuab.com

    It is a sentiment well shared amongst responsible, stressed out, of legal-age-to drink college students: “Man, I need a drink.”
  • Hot Diggity Dog logo. Photo by Ian KeelHot Diggity Dogs logo. Photo by Ian KeelMugdha Mokashi - Contributor
    mmokashi@uab.edu

    The unmistakably “hip” part of Birmingham is Avondale, which serves food on the decidedly funkier and fresh side. So I wasn’t surprised to find a gourmet hot dog joint nestled at the hip of Fancy’s on Fifth. This eatery is hidden behind an unassuming door next to a cheerful cartoon-y sign that reads “Hot Diggity Dogs.” When you open the door, you are greeted by a mysterious staircase and no signs of life. This changes quickly, because the loft of the building (directly over another Avondale favorite, Fancy’s on Fifth) is home to a laid-back, lively joint.

    Eating at Hot Diggity Dogs feels like a scene out of a TV show—it’s a quintessential “hang out” spot, with exclusively barstool seating and exposed brick walls. An enormous smiling cartoon hot dog in an Uncle Sam-esque top hat graces the artsy wall. It’s very pop art and very, very new-age Birmingham. The crew behind the counter cook and serve up the dogs fast-food style, and are always joking around with each other and the customers. It’s a friendly, how-do-you-do sort of place that doesn’t take itself too seriously.