The vibe at SAW’s Soul Kitchen is what keeps customer clambering into this small, cozy place in record numbers since its opening in May 2012. Like its sister restaurant SAW’S BBQ, this location features traditional southern dishes in a no fuss-no muss atmosphere full of piggy paraphernalia. Founder Mike Wilson’s original Birmingham eatery had been going strong since its inception in 2009. He didn’t want to open just a “SAW’S #2”, he wanted to feature the popular cuisine with a few extra twists and some surprises.
Enter partner and chef Brandon Cain. Mike and Brandon met a few years ago at a golf tournament. The two hit it off, and got talking about their love of Southern cuisine and in particular, began debating the techniques of slow roasted barbeque. Brandon had started his restaurant career in New Orleans working for Emeril Legasse in his NOLA Restaurant, as well as Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse and Mr. B’s Bistro. He learned the pace of short-order cooking serving up breakfast at the Camellia Grill. In Alabama, he was the chef de cuisine at Ocean, in the trendy Five Points district of Birmingham’s south side.
Mike brought Brandon on board as chef and co-owner when he finally settled on the location to expand his growing SAW’S brand. Brandon committed right away. What makes the two establishments distinctly different? Cain has introduced a few menu offerings that aren’t always seen elsewhere.