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Restaurants, bars, shops coming to Morris Avenue

(abc3340.com)

A transformation is underway along Birmingham’s historic Morris Avenue, a street with as much charm as history.

“Morris Avenue can be its own animal,” said developer John Boone with Orchestra Partners. “It possesses characteristics other parts of town do not have and will not ever have.”

Boone is the developer behind Founder's Station, a site where restaurants, bars and retail will open this summer. The first restaurant is set to open in July, with others opening from August to September.

“The whole idea was to connect 1st Avenue to Morris Avenue, get people using Morris again,” Boone said. “People take pictures there all the time but they don’t actually use it for the way it could be used, which is an entertainment district.”

The walkable development stretches from Morris to 1st Avenue North. Restaurants will open on each end this summer as anchor tenants, with a stationary shop and juice bar in between.

“We’ll have greenery, our menu, a place to order,” explained Amanda Turner, owner of Sprout and Pour.

Sprout and Pour will move in at the end of August.

“I really want to be in a community where there’s a lot of community and culture around food and chefs,” said Turner. “We’re very much a chef run type of café.”

A basement bar with a speakeasy feel will open below.

Owner Joe Phelps is keeping the exposed brick and concrete preserving the building's history.

The upper floors have eighteen lofts. People moved in this month.

“They sold very fast,” Boone said with a smile.

The energy is spreading down the street. A chocolate shop next door on Morris Avenue also plans to open soon, next to Heidi Elnora.

Boone wants momentum to continue.

“So there’s no reason people can’t come park, spend their entire night at Morris Avenue and then go home, or buy a place on Morris Avenue,” said Boone.

The historic peanut shop on Morris Avenue is also going through a transition.

It's been on Morris more than one hundred years.

The Alabama Peanut Company will take over the shop, beginning June one. Owner Jamie Thursby plans to keep the old-fashioned nature of the shop, but plans to build a new peanut bar.

"We’re going to serve with peanuts and coke and flights of boiled peanuts and we’ll have all the roasting machines behind the bar so customers can come down and see all the peanuts being roasted,” said Thursby.

Thursby tells us he's excited about all the new businesses coming to Morris Avenue and expects the increased foot traffic to help his peanut business.

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