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  • By Lisa Brody

Shift, Sidecar, Slice restaurants approved

Three restaurants proposed for the former Mitchell's site in Birmingham received unanimous approval for a special land use permit and final site plan and design review from the Birmingham City Commission on Monday, October 7.

The three proposed restaurants, Sidecar, Shift and Slice, from Birmingham restaurateur Steve Simon, owner of Rojo Mexican and Sidecar, will open at 117 Willits, in the former Mitchell's Fish Market. Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker explained that Mitchell's operated under a Class C liquor license, and Simon is proposing to split the location into three establishments, sharing a kitchen and operation in the back.

Shift, an American eatery, will be in the former bar area of Mitchell's, with food specialties from across the country and custom alcoholic drinks and a contemporary lounge ambiance; Sidecar would relocate from Merrill Street, featuring a full menu of slider options, sides and alcoholic beverages with a rustic pub feel; and Slice is designed as traditional pizza parlor atmosphere and full pizzeria menu with alcohol service.

Ecker said Shift does not plan any outdoor seating, and will have 48 seats inside along with 22 seats at the bar, for 70 total seats. Sidecar plans 76 seats inside, 14 at a bar, and 12 outdoor seats. Slice will be located along the curve, and have a new door created, with 95 indoor seats, 14 seats at the bar, and 56 outdoor seats.

“They are not proposing any changes to the building other than one window will become a door,” Ecker said, and the awnings will change from black to red. Access from one restaurant to another will be available from inside.

Simon said hours for Slice, planned as a family-friendly establishment, is proposed as 11 a.m. daily until 10 p.m. during the week, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sidecar, which will not open until their lease on Merrill Street ends later in 2020, is planned from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m., with outdoor dining closing at midnight. He said Shift will open at 4 p.m. and stay open until 2 a.m., and be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

He explained that his other current restaurant Rojo, will close when the lease expires on Merrill Street.

“I like this, especially on the outside, as it will really activate the street,” mayor pro tem Pierre Boutros said. “I'm in favor definitely of this.”

“Looking at where the entrance is to Slice, I'm a little concerned of the five-foot clearance. That could be a bottleneck,” commissioner Stuart Sherman said. “Let's give it a shot. If it's a problem, we'll fix it.”

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