Alaskan Crab Legs (Photo: Hazel, Ravines and Downtown)

The seasonal lobster and crab promotions at Hazel, Ravines and Downtown have proved so popular that the downtown Birmingham eatery has decided to focus its menu on fresh seafood year-round. 

Co-owners Beth Hussey and Emmele Herrold, the executive chef, say they’ve found their niche in what they do best and that’s seasonal seafood. 

Starting Oct. 1, the popular restaurant will change its menu four times a year to feature a rotation of fresh-caught crustaceans and other items from coastal states.

For the fall season, that means that Alaskan crab legs and Dungeness crab will be highlighted. The fall menu will continue through the holidays. 

 “When we do Hazel’s Lobster Pound each summer, our visitors ask us to keep the lobster year-round,” Herrold said in a news release announcing the new concept. “As much as we’d like to do that, fresh lobster isn’t always readily available or at its best. Come fall, Alaskan crab legs and Dungeness crab will have their moment.”

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Also featured on the menu will be Northwest crab rolls, which are served hot or cold; classic escargot; a crab boil and a version of Astoria Clown Bread. The bread is a favorite at the Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival in Oregon. Clown bread consists of a cheesy crab spread on a baguette along with a secret “clown sauce.” 

“We’re embracing the casual side of seafood,” Hussey said in the news release. “There aren’t many places that can offer that. We aim to make the experience special. Our menu will always be full of options that are packaged and travel well for those who prefer our curbside carryout or delivery.”

The new Hazel, Ravines and Downtown menu won’t be all seafood, however. Meat lovers can enjoy the 18-ounce cowboy steak, a bone-in rib-eye served with green beans, crispy potatoes and butter. 

Crab roll at Hazel, Ravines and Downtown in Birmingham (Photo: Hazel, Ravines and Downtown)

Herrold’s coconut-carrot vegan, gluten-free soup returns this fall, and lobster bisque remains on the menu. New to the lineup is Walla Walla onion soup featuring the sweet onions that hail from Washington state.  

New salad offerings include Crab Louis and the Wild Wild West salad, made with wild berries, hazelnuts, avocado, red onion, peppery arugula and maple dressing.

Hazel’s will also feature vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options or substitutions. There’s a new Street Beet sandwich, vegan Caesar and gluten-free options for its crab rolls. 

Some menu favorites will continue including the token burger, Georgian cheese bread and whitefish pate. The Georgian cheese bread, a menu favorite, includes melted cheese topped with a runny egg yolk.

Previously, the restaurant menu featured three different cuisines with casual to more adventuresome offerings.

The idea to transform the restaurant to primarily seafood can be traced to the summer of 2019. Hazel, Ravines and Downtown offered a seafood menu then that was to last a month. It proved to be a hit, however, and was extended by several weeks. 

Reservations were often hard to get, and the lobster rolls were a huge menu draw. More than 10,000 were sold. The restaurant also sold 100 whole lobsters per day on average. 

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown is named after the three Birmingham neighborhoods that meet at Maple and Woodward, near its location at 1 Peabody St. For information and reservations, call 248-671-1714 or go to The restaurant offers both dine-in and carryout. 

Contact food writer Susan Selasky 313-222-6872 at [email protected]. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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