Press Releases

Ensley Eats Sparks New Lunch Time Buzz Driving Interest for a Community Comeback

Ensley is indeed alive and well and patrons of the beloved yet historic district proved that at the first Ensley Eats, where some of Birmingham’s local food trucks and vendors gathered in downtown Ensley to host delicious lunch ‘grab and go’ options fit for citizens’ busy work days.

Councilor Marcus Lundy couldn’t have been more elated to participate as merchants and business owners in the area cashed in on lunchtime happenings, and drew citizens from all over the City of Birmingham. “For Ensley, this is one of the few times where we’ve had vendors and food trucks show up without any other entertainment, so this event is standing on its own, and it is standing with resounding success, Councilor Lundy said. “People were standing in line and happy to be here. Having outsiders support Ensley is vital because when you look at other entertainment districts around the city, it’s the outsiders that have it vibrant and thriving. So we want people to come back to Ensley. We want people who grew up here and moved away to come back and shop eat and enjoy Ensley Downtown. You’re seeing people who don’t necessarily live or work here but they remember Ensley from back in the day and they’re here to pay homage to the history of Ensley. It’s real because the food was great and the vendors showed up ready, and everyone enjoyed a great time.”

Councilor Lundy added that overcoming the stigmas and stereotypes associated with many of Birmingham’s most notable communities, including Ensley, can be a challenge, but Birmingham is jewel of a testimony that the possibilities are endless. “Ensley is made up of several different neighborhoods and Ensley downtown is a very safe place of business, so when you talk about Ensley, in particular downtown Ensley, it can sometimes be an optical illusion. So from the results of Ensley Eats, Ensley is safe, and packed bustling with people,” Councilor Lundy said. “As I was arriving to the event, I saw people looking in store windows that are vacant and that lets you know right there, when we’ve got folks inquiring about the ‘what ifs’, then this event was a success. I can remember when Avondale was a ‘what if’. I can remember when Midtown and the Parkside District was vacant and transient and it was a ‘what if’ and Ensley is on that cusp. If I were an investor, I would be strongly considering Downtown Ensley for my next big thing. That’s how we overcome those stereotypes are by making our communities available for the next big thing, for the next loft apartment building, for the next restaurant and Ensley is well positioned to be just that.”

About Ensley Eats
The Ensley Merchants Association, Ensley Alive, and REV Birmingham joined forces to end a lunchtime void in Downtown Ensley and introduced Ensley Eats! During the next scheduled lunch times, residents, workers and visitors can walk to 19th Street and Avenue F to grab a delicious meal. Ensley Merchants have banded together to accomplish a number of goals: one of them is to create an event that allows Birmingham to see Ensley in a new light. Customers will also have the opportunity to meet some of Ensley’s long time business owners to find out what they believe makes Ensley special.

This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.