Few restaurants captured the city’s heart as quickly as Hotbox did when Ed Stacey and Ryan Champion first opened their airstream trailer experience in 2014. Hotbox quickly became a Birmingham staple and entered many people’s “can’t miss” lists for friends visiting town. This romance suddenly turned to despair when the restaurant announced it was taking a hiatus in 2020. But the drought is over, as Hotbox recently made a return to the city in a brand new location - Good People Brewing Company.
Hotbox couldn’t be more thrilled with the move. As Ed describes “We’re very excited to be in the city of Birmingham and to be in that particular part of Birmingham around Railroad Park and the whole Parkside District around Regions Field. It feels like really in the heartbeat of what’s going on downtown. We’re excited to see the diversity in the clientele there. Being located in the back of a 21-and-up bar limited us in some respects to who all could come and experience what we do. This is a different avenue.”
A perfect series of events and Birmingham fixtures made this reformation possible. Jeff Clanton with Birmingham Mountain Radio (which now operates in a beautiful studio inside Good People) and Ed with Hotbox have a relationship that goes back to college in Tuscaloosa and working at The Mill in 5 Points. Jeff naturally thought of Hotbox after Jason Malone with GP bought an airstream trailer from Regions Field with the intention of finding a tenant for the brewery.
One meeting to discuss optics morphed into the collaboration of Birmingham’s dreams. They made a soft opening April 9th to get a feel for the new layout before completely opening up later in the month - all in time for the Birmingham Barons’ return to live baseball May 4th.
The Hotbox team will return to many of the Southeast Asian, Latin, and traditional bar food influences that made them so popular the first go-around, but will add even more exciting munchables to propel the menu to new realms of deliciousness. Being located in a brewery brought new taste opportunities, which Ryan and Ed have taken full advantage of. Every entree is paired with a beer on rotation, and Hotbox has partnered with Alabama business American Butcher to create a sausage series that pairs different meats with Good People beer.
“I’m a big fan of their beer, and I kinda jumped up at the chance to do some beer pairings on our menu.” shares Ed of the experience. They may eventually work their way up to beer dinners, which isn’t the only exciting development in the works. Soon the brewery will have QR codes that allow customers to order Hotbox meals from their table, then receive a text message telling them when their food is ready.
While the upcoming projects are exciting, the Hotbox team is filled with joy at the fact that they get to return serving the people of our Magic City at a Birmingham beer fixture. Good people serving good food at Good People - what’s not to love?