Behind the Mask: With Jason Mezrano from The Gardens by Kathy G.

This year is anything but business as usual. Restaurant Week included. Find out how their business is surviving during these hard times and how The Gardens by Kathy G came to be.

Q: How has the pandemic affected your business?

A: Dramatically – we are located inside the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, so they were shut down for over two and a half months. So we had to wait until the actual city of Birmingham reopened their public spaces and then we had a chance to reopen our restaurant.

Q: What steps have you taken to keep guests and employees safe?

A: For in-house dining, we’ve socially distanced our tables. We have sanitation ready for our guests. And also we have all of our staff required to have masks and gloves, and we take temperatures every morning.

Q: What do you plan to offer on your Restaurant Week menu?

A: We’re playing around with some ideas. We’re thinking about doing a pan seared triggerfish with the succotash and citrus reblock, or maybe even a tomato pie or a very summery quiche. So we’re working on some different ideas.

Q: How do you think Birmingham Restaurant Week will help the local restaurant industry?

A: The restaurant industry right now has been suffering, obviously, due to the pandemic. And I think that Restaurant Week will be a big boost for either in-house dining or even curbside.

Q: What have you experienced with Restaurant Week in the past?

A: Normally a really good boost for the first middle weeks. We’re only open for lunch service during Restaurant Week, so I think that for us it’s been a very positive thing.

Q: What does the future look like for you and your restaurant?

A: We’re slowly regaining our lunch crowd as things calm down and our catering is picking up, too. We use the space as a rental for the catering business.

Q: What can the public do to support restaurants?

A: The public can please support your local restaurants. You go to them and order dine-in or carry out and also tip because the service industry is desperately needed with all the issues with the pandemic.

Q: So where does The Garden’s go from here?

A: If we really bring back The Gardens, as I said before, I think that it will eventually get back to normal with our lunch crowd and also our catering.

Q: What do you order from your menu?

A: I love our shrimp and grits special on Thursdays and I love our homemade quiche – those are two of our favorites.

Q: What’s your favorite quiche?

A: I like Lorrain, it’s a classic bacon onion and grio cheese.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in Birmingham?

A: Well, I love the favorites, but right now I really am supporting some local friends like El Zun Zun in Cahaba Heights and also Troup’s Pizza. I have friends who run those restaurants and I’m trying to keep them supported but anyone locally I try to attend all the restaurants.

During Birmingham Restaurant Week, be sure to experience the art of Kathy G. at The Gardens. Their cafe lunch menu reflects the feeling of being at the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens. To learn more about The Gardens Cafe by Kathy G, visit their website https://bbgardens.org/garden-cafe.php, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook @GardensCafebyKathyG to stay updated.

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