Food and family have always been pillars in Beverly Russell’s life, and this holds even more true when you take a look at her impressive culinary career. Her lifelong passion of cooking took her on a fantastic journey that included high school jobs, studying at the University of Montevallo, opening her own catering business, then a series of full service restaurants that have added to the deliciousness that is the Magic City food scene.
The most recent embodiment of her great culinary business mind is The Six Sixteen, a terrific dining and bar experience located in the historic Tutwiler Hotel. Making it a family affair, Russell's husband Leonard, daughter Olivia, and son-in-law Marcus Barnes, all assist in the business today. The relaxed environment provides a modern Art Deco setting, with a bar, dining room, private room, and two lounge areas prepared to host any night on the town Birminghamians desire. Since they opened in late May, the feedback has been nothing but uplifting for Beverly and family.
“The response has been awesome. People have loved it,” Beverly states about the reactions to date - noting that the Tutwiler’s reputation as a premiere hotel for wedding parties brings in many a bride’s family to book a private dinner party. The restaurant is currently open Thursday - Saturday, with plans to expand as the world opens back up. Private parties can still request dining on other days!
Blackened salmon has been one of the biggest sellers in the weeks since opening, alongside oysters on a half shell and stuffed mushrooms. The minimized menu contains six small plates and sixteen items in total, hence the restaurant’s name. There is also a daily chef’s special, which ranges based on what Beverly is inspired to cook that day. Fantastic feasts from chicken and waffles to Oysters Rockefeller have been known to make an appearance. The stellar drink menu, spotlighting a Blueberry Lemon Droptini, completes the dining experience.
The family aspect of The Six Sixteen was never in doubt. “I was raised with that. My mother owned her own business, and it was family. So for me that’s just the way to go,” states Beverly on continuing this legacy. This mindset brings major benefits for the restaurateur as well, which she is more than happy to cherish. “They have been a huge help. I’m not sure that it could have been done without them.”
As wonderful as her family has been, the customers that have now supported her for decades bring just as much joy to Beverly’s life. “I love them. They support me,” shares Beverly, going on to state, “They stuck with me for 20 years so I’m always thinking about them. I take suggestions from them for the menu. I try to keep them happy, I guess you could say, but I have awesome customers.” With the experience provided at The Six Sixteen, we can only imagine more patrons will be on the way!
All photographs by Sam Jasper Photography.