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By Lynn Grisard Fullman
Dishing With Jason Bajalieh, owner ofSlice Stone Pizza Brew, 725 29th St. South, 205-715-9300, www.slicebirmingham.com and Sol s, Two 20th St. North, 205-244-7657, www.solsdeli.com
Restaurants specialties: At Slice, it is fresh pizzas made with local ingredients with a unique twist and craft beer. At Sol s, the specialty is hot and cold sandwiches and a daily meat and three.
What sets your restaurants apart from others? Our dedication to the community. We love to give back to the community that continuously supports Slice, especially through our weekly Dough Raisers.
Restaurant-related thing you're proudest of: Dough Raising, a creative program we started at Slice, in which we give 10 percent of our sales every Tuesday to a local non-profit organization.
When did the restaurants open? Sol s originally was opened in 1968 by my father, Sol Bajalieh. My brothers, Chris and Jeff Bajalieh, and I reopened it in 2008. Slice opened in 2011 as a place that serves great food and cold beer and where our friends could hang out.
What are favorite entrees at your restaurants? Well, of course, it s the pizza at Slice. The ladies like our White Shadow Pizza and the Little Piggy is a favorite for the guys. My mother s chicken salad is a fan favorite at Sol s Deli.
Restaurant's most popular side: Tabouli. My mom s homemade recipe is something that keeps them coming back for more at Sol s.
Restaurant's most popular dessert: Chef Terrill s cheesecakes at Slice are ridiculous. He uses the freshest ingredients to create the most delicious desserts. And if you have not tried our family cobbler recipe at Sol s, you are definitely missing out.
Honors: Slice was voted best pizza in Birmingham for the past two years. At Sol s, we have the honor of the best chef in town -- Nadia, my mother -- cooking everyday.
What's new at the restaurants? We are always coming up with unique pizzas at Slice. Right now, we have the Loaded Baked Potato Pizza. That s right, potatoes on pizza - red, purple and white ones to be exact. It s a must-try.
Your mentor: My father, Sol Bajalieh, who stepped foot in this country with nothing and through hard work and perseverance planted a seed that I have been able to grow off of and successfully continue in the restaurant industry.
Best advice you were ever given: Don't give up, don't ever give up.
Favorite type food to prepare: Fish.
Favorite food to eat: Mediterranean.
Favorite food-related website: yelp.com. It provides honest feedback on restaurants I love.
What would you choose for your final meal? Not pizza!
Favorite restaurant (other than your own): Cochon in New Orleans.
(The restaurant is known for its Cajun, southern dishes.)
Favorite spice: Salt and pepper. Both are simple, and you can use them on everything.
Do you cook at home? No. I enjoy eating the food we serve at our restaurants.
Kitchen gadget you couldn't work without: A knife. You just have to have it.
Food/restaurant-related pet peeve: Substitutions. I love fresh food with real ingredients. Fresh ingredients make any and all dishes 10 times better.
Advice for pulling off a last-minute meal: Call Slice/Sol s.
Have a chef or cook to suggest? E-mail Lynn Grisard Fullman at LGFullman@aol.com. Follow her on Twitter @lynnfullman
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