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ZAGAT: 30 Most Exciting Food Cities in America 2017

No. 24: Birmingham, AL

All eyes are on The Magic City, especially after Food & Wine relocated much of its staff to Birmingham earlier this year. It's delivering with a wave of globally focused eateries like the popular Pizitz Food Hall (pictured above) with stalls representing cuisines from Ethiopia, Asia, the Middle East and more, plus Fero, an Italian restaurant from lauded NYC chef Akhtar Nawab (Alta Calidad). Favorite local sushi chef Abhi Sainju opened his first solo concept, Abhi, and hip EastWest serves modern Asian fusion.

Birmingham continues its legacy of Southern cooking and fine-dining establishments like chef Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill (James Beard Award finalist) with top-notch farm-to-table concepts like Roots & Revelry from chef Brandon Cain (Saw’s Soul Kitchen, Post Office Pies) and Root to Tail from chef and Food Network host Ben Vaughn.

On the sweets front, Big Spoon Creamery, a small-batch ice cream concept from two Bottega vets, opened a storefront, and hit pop-up Hero Doughnuts found a permanent home in Homewood.

—Abigail Abesamis

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