Dining Car outdoor cafe will serve lunch to visitors at new Birmingham Railroad Park

Bob Carlton -- The Birmingham News

Published: Friday, September 03, 2010, 7:30 AM

The new Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham will include walking and jogging trails, a natural amphitheater, a two-acre lake and a lunch oasis called the Dining Car. (The Birmingham News / Michelle Campbell)

When the new Railroad Park opens downtown in mid-September, conductor Susan Mason hopes lunchtime visitors will line up to get onboard the park's Dining Car outdoor cafe.

"With pretty weather, I can't think of anything that would be more fun than to come down there, grab a good salad and some lemonade or a Coke and then sit down in that park and have lunch," Mason, a managing partner with the B&A Warehouse catering company, says. "It's just absolutely beautiful."

And while landscaping crews put the finishing touches on the $25 million, 20-acre downtown park for its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 18, Mason is fine-tuning the menu for the Dining Car, which opens two days later.

B&A Warehouse, which operates a special-events venue across First Avenue South from the park, won the contract to operate the Dining Car.

In keeping with the park's name and its setting alongside the downtown railroad corridor and First Avenue South, the cafe's menu will have an obvious train theme, with a Wabash Cannonball Salad and a Birmingham Chew Chew sandwich.

The salads cost $8.95 and come with crackers, a fresh fruit cup and a choice of a homemade brownie or cookie.

The sandwiches will cost $9.95 and come with black bean and roasted corn salsa, tortilla chips, pasta salad and a brownie or cookie.

Both the salads and sandwiches will be served either on a plate for those who want to dine at one of the tables on the brick patio outside the Dining Car or in a box for those who want to grab it and go.

The salad menu includes:

Here's what's on the sandwich board:

Other options include a soup of the day ($5), a special of the week ($5), a cheese plate ($7) and a dessert sampler ($3).

The Dining Car will be under the pavilion in the meet-and-greet plaza along 17th Street South.

Lunch hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For weekly menu updates, go here.