Welcome to “My Perfect Birmingham Saturday,” a column where About Town asks Birmingham residents from different walks of life how they would spend a Saturday in the Magic City if they had it their way (and COVID notwithstanding).
This Saturday was planned by Birmingham devotee Mashonda Taylor, a Ramsay High School graduate who has been back in the Magic City full-time since 2006. “I love our city,” she says. “I love to get out and try new places.” Mashonda is especially passionate about Birmingham’s neighborhoods and the growth that is happening in them, and Woodlawn in particular – she has worked for the Woodlawn Foundation for nine years and has served as its executive director since March 1, 2020. The Foundation’s role, she says, is to eliminate generational poverty within the community and elevate generational wealth, and the organization does so by focusing on housing, quality education, and access to services like healthcare, transportation, and more for its residents.
Read on to learn how Mashonda would plan her day.
I wake up every Saturday and head to the gym – Train & Burn downtown with Curtis Starks. We do HIIT (high intensity interval training) and then I’ll run around the Rotary Trail downtown. If I’m feeling really squirrely, I’ll run around Railroad Park. After I train at the gym and run downtown, I’ll go home, shower, and come back out to have brunch, either at [Trattoria] Zaza or Automatic Seafood [and Oysters].
After that it’s pretty much centered around gathering with friends. A few of my friends have renovated historic homes in the Woodlawn neighborhood, so I’m in Woodlawn or Norwood [neighborhood] spending time with friends.
If it’s a market day, after brunch I’ll head to Woodlawn Street Market. I love supporting all of the small businesses in the community and seeing the residents in the neighborhood. It’s like coming home, like a family reunion. There’s great music, The Dirty Red food truck, Club Duquette selling their goods and wares, all these different businesses. At the last market, Slutty Vegan’s food truck was there as they prepare to move into Woodlawn.
If I’m not exhausted from being at the market, I love going to dinner. I am loving the activity happening on Second Avenue North, like Bocca and its chef, Chef Ché. It is an amazing Italian restaurant, and I always bring friends there. I love supporting Black chefs. Then, if I am feeling like I want to have some more fun, I head to Paper Doll. Then I’m going home.
Woodlawn is my jam – there are new restaurants coming into the neighborhood and I am excited to become a patron of them. I love the excitement, the energy. And I know you didn’t ask for this, but on Sunday morning I’ll be at Tony Bayles’ eating soul food between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. He’s got the best soul food in town.
– As told to Rachel Burchfield