Neighborhood Grill offers broad menu

Beth and Jason Lea are owners of the Neighborhood Grill, which relocated near the corner of U.S. 31 and Highway 22 in Clanton. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Beth and Jason Lea are owners of the Neighborhood Grill, which relocated near the corner of U.S. 31 and Highway 22 in Clanton. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

No matter what your taste buds crave, there is plenty of selection to choose from at the Neighborhood Grill.

Jason Lea is owner of the restaurant along with his wife Beth and recently relocated just down the street near the corner of U.S. 31 and Highway 22 in Clanton.

“A lot of people are still finding out about us,” Lea said. “Every shift there is at least one or two tables that I talk to and find out that it’s their first time.”

Lea acquired much needed space due to the move and hopes that the current location provides added visibility for the business.

“We’ve been able to keep most of our core customers through the move, while also adding new people that may not have tried us at the other location,” Lea said. “If it wasn’t for our loyal regulars, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’ve done so far,” Lea said.

The new building provides three times more square feet than the previous location with seating capacity surpassing 100.

“We have an eclectic menu, and there’s definitely a lot going on,” Lea said. “The central theme is fresh ingredients.”

According to Lea, what helps set the Neighborhood Grill apart is the “craft-type” experience offered.

Several salsas are made from scratch, vegetables are hand-cut and each dish is made to order.

The Neighborhood Grill is in the process of adding more TVs to held provide a family atmosphere to watch sporting events.

The Neighborhood Grill is in the process of adding more TVs to held provide a family atmosphere to watch sporting events.

“Usually when you go into a restaurant and everything is cooked to order, the price points are a lot higher than what we’re selling it for,” Lea said. “I think people appreciate that, especially in a small town.”

For those visiting the restaurant for the first time, it is hard to go wrong with any of the grilled chicken entrees that are cooked with various toppings and seasonings.

“We became known for our chicken at the other location,” Lea said. “Those are probably the go-to items for many people.”

The “Chilton Chicken” is a popular dish and has remained a menu favorite since The Neighborhood Grill since it opened its doors in December 2014.

It comes covered with sautéed mushrooms, bacon, swiss and cheddar cheeses and is accompanied with a side of homemade Dijon honey mustard.

“The ambiance has allowed people to be a little bit more adventurous with what they are ordering on our menu,” Lea said. “They seem to be loving it.”

The current menu continues to fluctuate, as the details of which items will be part of the permanent menu are still being worked out.

“We’re rotating in new items almost every week,” Lea said. “Once we figure out what people like, we will have a set menu, but will always look to add weekly or Friday night specials.”

Certain items that Lea has in mind for the future include crab cakes and shrimp and grits.

Even an ever-changing menu offers something for just about ever acquired taste, providing an array of options that include burgers, chicken, seafood, pastas and salads.

Lea has worked at restaurants in some capacity since high school and always knew that he wanted to own his own business.

He managed a sit-down restaurant in Birmingham for seven years before stepping away to start a catering business.

According to Lea, the restaurant was originally acquired to have a nice kitchen to do catering out of, while being open for lunch-only Monday through Friday.

“We still do a good bit of catering, but the restaurant is definitely the primary business at this point.”

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