The former Mafiaoza’s space in Crestline Village won’t be quiet much longer. Mountain Brook native Frank Alverson has moved back close to his roots and is opening a new restaurant in the space with a casual vibe evident in its name, Porch—also a shout out to the outdoor space where he will soon be welcoming the community to sit and stay a while. Frank is planning to open for lunch and dinner early this fall and work toward being open seven days a week. But first, we chatted with him to learn more about what’s in store at Porch.
Can you tell us about your background in restaurants?
I was raised in Mountain Brook and recently moved back after living in Charleston, South Carolina, for six years. I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 14. My first job was actually at Crestline Bagel right across the street. After college, I started working at Daniel George in Mountain Brook Village and learned the nuances of upscale dining. After spending a couple of seasons working in Montana resort restaurants, I moved to Charleston with my now-wife Katherine and immersed myself in the city’s booming culinary scene.
Can you describe the concept you envision for us?
I want this to be a space for everyone. From old to young and everyone in between, plus dogs on the porch. We have large TVs throughout the interior and also on the porch. We want this to be a place where you can come and hang out, hopefully watch football and have a good time. The food will be fresh, and the drinks will be cold.
Why did you choose this location, and what changes are you making to the interior?
The Crestline location was an easy decision. Having grown up in this area, it truly feels like home. We have so many friends and family members that live close by, and serving them will make it even more fun. We enlisted the help of friends and family to make the space our own. With the design of Marianne Gilchrist and construction by Rader McCary, we were able to really bring our vision to life.
What will the menu be like?
The menu will have something for everyone. We will source much of our product from local purveyors and buy directly from Alabama farmers. We have several clean veggie dishes, salads, sandwiches, a burger and a few surprises.
Which dish do you recommend trying first?
The Oko. My wife and I fell in love with this dish in Charleston and had to bring it to Porch. The full name is Okonomiyaki, and it’s essentially a cabbage pancake that tastes like hash browns. The name loosely translated to “as you like it,” and it lends well to various toppings. Add a sunny side up egg and add bacon to really seal the deal—you won’t regret it.