Best of the Ham’s burgers; Pop’s Neighborhood Grill

By on August 15, 2013
Head over to Pop’s for some of the best diner style eats in town. (Photo by Babi Baruani)

Personally, I don’t think peanuts and meat should ever be served together in the same dish, unless of course it is a peanut butter burger, and even those should be consumed within moderation. I have even greater contempt with cheap attempts at creating a fine dining atmosphere by dimming lights, playing up the use of exotic ingredients, and otherwise fooling the eye into thinking that it is looking at something that is actually worth its inflated price tag. And yes, I am talking specifically about Surin here, but these tricks are used by countless restaurants.

Instead, a restaurant’s food should speak for itself, whether it is served on a nice plate or in a basket, brought out by dapper waiter with a silver tray or a tired line cook or served with candles on the table or generic squeeze bottles of ketchup. This is why I continue to support local diners. The few remaining establishments that have refused to yield to the trends and the fads. Those restaurants that have snagged regulars from more hip locations. Those places that thumb their nose at the Surin franchise saying, “We see you’re coconut curry, but it can’t beat my bacon slaw dog, my Pineapple Cobbler, or my Super Double. And yeah, that combination I just mentioned, its much cheaper than your connerie of a curry.”

That’s why I’m such a huge fan of Pop’s Neighborhood Grill on 20th Street in Five Points. In fact, you could even say that Pop’s is my stop. Their menu is one with no nonsense with a down home southern feel. It’s menu carries what you would expect for a burger joint with the usual selection of single and double burgers with and without cheese and a range of hot dogs and deli style sandwiches. What sets Pop’s apart, however, is their commitment to the use of fresh ingredients. Their burgers are seasoned and formed daily. All other meats are provided by Boar’s Head Provision Company which is one of the most reputed suppliers of deli meats.


I talked with Sam and Pam Guarino, Pop and Mama, about the restaurant, and they informed me about the vision and history of the establishment. According to them, the restauring is owned by their daughter Heather who went to culinary school and studied business before opening the restaurant. Since then, it has been a success. Pop’s is the definition of a family business, and most days, the entire family can be seen taking orders, running food, cooking, or delivering food. The restaurant will enter its third year of business in October, and I hope it remains a Five Points staple for many years to come.

Besides their delicious food, another great reason to come to Pop’s grill is the fact that Friday Night is the family game night. I usually come in and shyly play Minecraft in the corner hoping that nobody is eying me while I devour my food with primal passion. However, many familiar faces can be seen playing board games or video games on one of the many television screens. This is also one of the best times to see Heather, the owner, as she tries her hardest to both work and play at the same time.

Babi Baruani
Features Editor

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  • Jina

    Great piece. We need more local eateries like this one especially someone like me who a frequent tourist in B’gham around UAB area. Great job to the writer. Kuods!

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