When Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) first set up their street food events ten years ago, they relied on hungry Brummies to show up to a car park in the neighbourhood to listen to music and sample dishes they might never have tried before. It was a big ask, but people turned up, rain or shine, because the idea was so exciting.
You never knew what vendors to expect, or what dishes they’d create on the day. The good food, good music and good vibes bolstered the events and over the years, the DDC has since grown into something of a phenomenon.
This year, to celebrate a decade in the game, they’re taking their show on the road to more venues than ever. This summer, you’ll find their street food parties all over the region, with ‘Dining Clubs’ in Lichfield, Stafford, Tamworth, Merry Hill, Warwick Castle and more.
Read more: Digbeth Dining Club celebrates ten years – full dates for the summer and where to find great street food
But what happened to the street food vendors who were there in the early days? Or those who grew as Digbeth Dining Club did? In this list, we’re taking a look at some of the businesses that started out with street food and who took their knowledge and experience and turned it into something bigger.
Many of them still have their street food vans and gazebos too so don’t discount them being at upcoming Digbeth Dining Club events, especially if you can’t book a table in their busy permanent restaurants!
1) Original Patty Men
9, Shaws Passage, Digbeth, B5 5JG
Original Patty Men (OPM) are true originals of the Birmingham street food scene. The self-proclaimed Purveyors of Filth graduated from street food to brick and mortar shop in Digbeth in 2015 and have been feeding hungry Brummies ever since.
And it’s not just Brummies. When rapped Drake visited the city in 2017, he put in a massive order of OPM burgers for him and his entourage. They’re world renowned!
As well as their home location, OPM serves food at the British Oak in Stirchley and at Kilder in Digbeth. Choose from burgers like the Alabama Slammer (boneless chicken thigh with lime and ginger slaw and hot sauce), a Cheezy-E Burger with American cheese and bossman sauce or the humble Bacon Cheeseburger, made with maple coated bacon.
Veggie options are available too, including the Po Money, Po Mushroom burger, a Po boy style sandwich with panko breaded mushrooms. Sides include Alabama Fries, topped with Alabama sauce, Franks Hot Sauce and crispy fried onions.
2) Eat Vietnam
1422, Pershore Rd, Stirchley, B30 2PH
Eat Vietnam‘s permanent base has been open since 2019 in Stirchley, following popular stints popping up at other Birmingham hotspots including Bonehead, the Lord Clifden and The Plough. There, they offer ‘umami-packed traditional Vietnamese food with the freshest ingredients’.
There’s a covered terrace out the back for al fresco dining so don’t be put off by how small it looks from the outside. They accept walk-ins if you happen to be passing by.
Food options include Bún Cá and Bún Fish noodle dishes and Cơm bình dân, which translates to ‘commoners rice’. There’s nothing common about it though – Eat Vietnam makes some of the most authentic Vietnamese fare in the city.
3) Meat Shack
17, Thorp Street, Birmingham, B5 4AT
Similar to the Patty Men, the guys at Meat Shack are turning out big fat juicy burgers with expert skill. They first launched in 2012 and, after making a name for themselves on the street food scene, they opened the Thorp Street branch in 2017.
Among the dirty burger options (that you can wash down with a local craft ale) are the Hell Shack, with a Rib Man Holy F*** hot sauce, and the Buffa Clucker buffalo chicken burger. Meat Shack also offers one of the most exciting veggie burger options in the city. The Bella Emburg comprises deep fried halloumi, a mushroom duxelle, Dutch gouda, crispy onions, ketchup and chipayo. Ooft.
With great service, a chilled-out vibe, great beers and better burgers, it’s definitely one to add to your list of places to dine this summer.
4) Greidy’s Wings and Strips
2, Fordhouse Lane, Stirchley, B30 3BP
If you want to learn more about Greidy’s Wings and Strips, we’ve got an in-depth feature here where you can read all about Reidy’s journey from bin man to restauranteur. It’s an amazing tale which follows Jamie Reidy from his days emptying rubbish to setting up a street food stall selling the chicken he’d spent a lifetime perfecting.
Now, Greidy’s is a cool and very busy chicken shop, also in Stirchley, which gets booked up well in advance by diners keep to get their hands on morsels like jerk fried strips with Greidy Gravy and sriracha thai fried chicken. Reidy has even cooked his wings on Saturday Kitchen after being named the best takeaway/street food vendor in Britain by the BBC.
The Stirchley shop has only been open for a couple of months but it already has a fantastic reputation with dates to dine getting booked up weeks in advance.
More chicken! Yardbirds brings Harlem to Birmingham with its fried chicken burgers and strips. They’re not quite in their permanent home yet, but plans are well in place for them to open in, you guessed it, Stirchley.
Yardbirds has been sharing updates on renovations to a former bank on the Pershore Road and they’ll soon be open to diners for four days a week. If you’re a Villa fan, you might have spotted them in the Doug Ellis Stand at Villa Park too.
Burgers include the Buffalo Bird, Halloumi BBQ burger and Gravy Chick with American mustard gravy.
6) Baked in Brick
The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Deritend, B9 4AA
Baked in Brick is another stalwart of the scene, serving beautiful wood-fired pizzas with quality toppings. It all started when Lee Desanges put a hand-built pizza oven on the back of a classic Mini, a barbie under the bonnet, and the pizza joint has gone from strength to strength ever since.
In 2019, the business grew to a permanent brick and mortar store in Digbeth and that’s where it remains, baking wonderful breads, firing crispy pizzas and serving up dirty loaded fries and small plates.
As well as veggie and vegan options, Baked in Brick’s pizza selection includes the Three Little Pigs, topped with smoked ham, salami Milano, Nduja, Lincolnshire Poacher shavings, San Marzano tomato, for di latte mozzarella and wild rocket. Then there’s the award-winning Campione calzone, stuffed with Aubrey Allen beef shin and wild mushroom. It comes with a Colston Basset blue stilton dip too.
For the latest on events and attractions, food and drink, and things to do around Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the Midlands, visit our What’s On home page. If you’re on Facebook, you can find our City Life page here.
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