It’s a winning combination: an appealing menu featuring well-prepared classics, and a creative design firm that provided the personality of the decor. That’s the backdrop at Four Story Burger, the new restaurant on the fourth floor of Birmingham’s Emagine Palladium Theatre.
Burgers, of course, and more, served in a room done up with vintage movie posters, reels and other film memorabilia in a colorful setting, and a menu that reads like an exuberant advertising poster for a blockbuster film. It’s obvious all involved had a lot of fun with the project, and that transmits to the diners in the room.
Like a well-done film, the menu – created by executive chef Annabel Cohen, a freelance writer for The Detroit News, doesn’t go on and on but is edited to a reasonable length. It starts with the burger made with fresh Angus beef prettied up with touches of mayonnaise and mustard, butter-glazed onions and cheddar, as well as lettuce and tomato atop a fresh Crispelli’s bun. The local bakery also provides the bread for such sandwiches as grilled salmon, grilled chicken and, natch, grilled cheese, and good bread does make a difference.
The soup du every jour is a garden vegetable blend with a depth of flavor that belies its vegan base. And while there is a small salad of mixed greens, available at a modest $4, the menu also includes an insert that allows diners to create their own salads by checking off the chosen ingredients from a list of more than 40 components, from romaine hearts and Kalamata olives to candied pecans, golden raisins and avocado. And it’s worth noting that it is not salad bar style. The chosen ingredients are put together in the kitchen.
Choices also apply to the stone-fired pizzas, which include the build-your-own with nearly as many choices as the salads.
Among side dishes are a couple of standouts, Thai-chili cauliflower presented in a Chinese carryout container with chopsticks, not just a clever presentation, but deliciously spicy, and the sweet potato tater tots topped with a sprinkling of green onions. The menu is the same at lunch and dinner, and while there is a full bar, there are also malts and milkshakes.
This is a spot that wasn’t designed to attract moviegoers only. It can stand on its own as a destination, offering food made with quality ingredients and that extra little dash of imagination (no pun intended). Affordability is another factor. Nothing on the menu is higher than the $14 grilled salmon.
Dinner and a movie is a time-honored American tradition. And to have it all under one roof is even better.
Four Story Burger
209 Hamilton Row, Birmingham
Call: (248) 385-0500
Hours: Noon-10 p.m. daily.
Prices: Sandwiches $8-$14, burgers $10, pizzas $10-$12.50, soups and salads $4-$9, sides $5-$8, desserts $5
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar.
Noise level: Moderate, although piped in music can be loud at times.
Parking: Municipal lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding