Frank Stitt

Birmingham, AL

  • James Beard Winner Best Chef in the Southeast

A native of Cullman, Alabama, Frank Stitt is often regarded as the father of Southern Gourmet and an early champion of the farm-to-table movement.

While studying philosophy in college, it was food that captured his thoughts and drove him to leave the classroom for the kitchen. His culinary journey took him to France, where he studied under master chefs and learned the traditional French style of cooking. From meetings with world-renowned chefs like Julia Child to low-paying jobs like grape harvesting, Stitt did just about anything to learn more about food.

When he returned to Alabama, Stitt opened Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham and quickly gained recognition for blending traditional Southern recipes with French techniques. In 2001, the James Beard Foundation named Stitt the Best Chef in the Southeast.

But Frank Stitt is more than a restaurateur: he’s a mentor. Stitt has a long list of accomplished chefs that have worked for him and now have restaurants of their own.

“We are motivated by the seasonality of the Gulf Coast fishing industry. We create our menu around the most pristine, impeccable fish we can get our hands on. This should hold true for the home cook as well. Go with it, improvise your menu around it, and always make a point to choose the freshest, best fish you can get.”

On The Menu

With four locations within a stone’s throw, Frank Stitt’s restaurants are fixtures of the dining scene in Birmingham. World-renowned Highlands Bar & Grill and it’s next-door neighbor Chez Fonfon are destination dining rooms for French-themed Southern cuisine, and if you’d prefer Stitt’s take on Italian, head over to Bottega and Bottega Café.