Food for thought: A taste of Europe in Alabama

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

By DAISY MOON / Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM – Step one foot into Bella-Cucina, and you have suddenly stepped into an authentic European caf/, without ever crossing the ocean.

Owner Patricia Sheeler was a banker for 30 years before she and husband Al opened Bella-Cucina nearly three years ago, embarking on their first voyage into the restaurant business.

Sheeler said it was quite different from the banking business.

But despite the vast change, the Sheelers have been very successful in offering a European-style establishment right here in Alabama.


Bella-Cucina boasts a wide variety of European cuisines.

An evening favorite is the Ravioli di Aragosta, better known as the lobster ravioli with a lobster bisque sauce.

Popular lunchtime specials include the crepes, which consists of two chicken crepes with bacon and mushrooms.

Both lunch and dinner specials change about every 10 days.

Diners can also enjoy soup or sandwiches such as the cream cheese and cucumber sandwich or the basic cheese sandwich.

Parents with a craving for European food need not worry about their little picky eaters. The kid-friendly Bella-Cucina offers the all-time favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


Nestled into a cozy corner of the Village at Lee Branch, Bella-Cucina is surrounded by an array of purple and white flowerbeds.

As many as 80 people can be seated inside at one of the many tables adorned with white tablecloths and brightly colored chairs.

When weather permits, customers may wish to dine outside, getting the full effect of a European caf/. Outdoor seating arrangements can accommodate about 53 people.


European food-lovers can rest assured in one thing – those who prepare the meals know exactly what it takes to present the real deal. A bona fide French cook whips up the daily specialties!


611 Doug Baker Blvd

Birmingham, AL 35242


Hours: Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30-8 p.m.; Friday: 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. (breakfast) and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30-9 p.m.; Saturday: 7 a.m.-11 a.m. (breakfast) and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.