41st Street in Avondale is one of the fastest growing areas in Birmingham, but inside a Chevron that’s had the same owner for nearly two decades is a restaurant that many may miss amongst the constant announcements of new restaurants and breweries. Becky’s Deli, located at the intersection of 41st Street and Third Avenue South, serves up heaping breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for the good people of the Magic City from 6am to 5pm on Monday through Friday and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays.

I have frequented this Chevron many times while passing through the neighborhood, returning from a concert, or while heading to one of my most cherished restaurants in Taco Morro Loco. Somehow in all of these years of random walk-ins, I never noticed the delicious aromas coming from a restaurant inside the store. This changed last month. I immediately went to the counter to see a menu full of Philly sandwiches, wings, chili, patty melts, cheese fries, breakfast specials, omelets, egg plates, and more. I asked the two talented cooks behind the grill, Carlos Lopez and Mrs. Wanda, some questions about the deli and they told me to call Sunny Ali, the store and restaurant owner.

Sunny was happy to talk to me about why he loves running a shop in Avondale–but only after I tried the large bacon cheese burger with ranch fries on the side. He takes pride in the quality of food put out at Becky’s Deli and feels the conversation can’t truly begin until I take a taste bud journey and determine if I am a fan of Becky’s. I was sold after one bite. I ate my ranch fries so fast I would have told you someone took them before I could eat them if I didn’t look down and see the deliciously incriminating evidence on my fingers myself. I was in a whirlwind of flavor and passion and I didn’t want to come down–but it was time to learn more about Sunny and company. 

Sunny moved to the United States from India 25 years ago, coming to Avondale eight years later. When he purchased the gas station another woman owned the restaurant but after a few years she decided to part ways with it and sold it to Sunny. “Quality was always our number one priority,” he shares. “If I sell you a burger, I want to make sure that you eat that burger and you’re happy with that burger.” Since he owns the store and doesn’t solely rely on the restaurant for income, he was able to invest more in the quality of the product even though it means less profit for Becky’s. The result is fantastic food at a great cost for the Birmingham community.

This meal didn’t make it out of the parking lot.

Becky’s Deli has been serving Avondale under its current ownership for nearly 15 years now, and the restaurant’s owner has fallen in love with the neighborhood he now calls home. “I’m very, very thankful to this community. I am who I am because of this community,” he sentimentally reflects. “This is my heart.” He shares that customers have risen up to support the store when problems have risen in the past, and regulars who’ve moved from the city still stop by for a bite to eat when coming through town. 

His one request for Birminghamians who haven’t been by yet? “Just give us a try.” If you like it, feel free to share and if not give him a call and he will make it right. Becky’s Deli is here to improve this community, just as they have been for the last 17 years. The gas station used to have tables and chairs inside to create a diner environment, a setting that sadly had to change with the pandemic but Sunny hopes to bring back soon. We can’t wait but will gladly eat our ranch fries in the car for now.