ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Now Open: Chris Hastings' OvenBird

The hotly anticipated new restaurant from Birmingham, Alabama's James Beard award-winning chef Chris Hastings opens today. The concept is delicious: a celebration of the Latin grilling traditions of countries like Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and Uruguay, using wood-fueled, live-fire cooking and local Southern ingredients.

Hastings says he first hatched the plan for OvenBird five years ago, inspired in part by several trips he's taken to Argentina with his wife, Idie. The restaurant opened in a space with room for 150 (including 50 covers outside), and not a single gas line leading to the kitchen.

It's an adjustment for professional cooks trained to working with highly calibrated, gas-fueled stoves. "You have to let the rhythm of the wood dictate what you do. There's something very cathartic and visceral about that." Hastings says. "It's good to get out of your comfort zone and take a little risk."

Last week, Cooking Light staffers had the pleasure of sampling some of his new dishes, including a smoky paella, succulent pan-roasted Gulf flounder, braised leeks with Romesco, and a beet and carrot salad with Marcona almond puree that had folks licking their plates. We can't wait to become OvenBird regulars.

Keep Reading: