Bistro ProVare: A gourmet bargain

Jeff State Culinary Arts Program Director Joseph Mitchell and Bistro ProVare Chef/Instructor Jason Bierley in the Bistro kitchen. (Contributed)

By RICHARD PARKER / Community Columnist

It’s not that they are trying to keep the place a secret. It’s just that it is small (seating for 30 at tables, plus another 10 at the bar) and it stays busy.

And, if you want to indulge yourself in a really fine lunch or just want a tasty upscale pizza, you must plan your schedule to arrive between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Otherwise the doors will be locked.

So where is this place? Bistro ProVare is located on the Shelby County campus of Jeff State Community College on Valleydale Road in the Life Sciences Building. It is operated and directed by the Culinary Arts Department, headed by Chef Joseph Mitchell with Chef Jason Bierley directing experienced culinary students in preparing all of the offerings on each day’s menu from scratch.

Chef Jason, incidentally, is one of three finalists for the Alabama Restaurant Association’s Chef of the Year Award.

The Bistro atmosphere is contemporary and pleasant with white table cloths and upscale presentations.

The typical daily menu will offer ala carte selections that include offerings from the salad and appetizer fare and a soup of the day.

There will be four or five gourmet pizza offerings at five bucks a pop. Are you kidding me?

Generally, you will find three sandwiches offered with your choice of fries or fruit.

There will also be three entrees on the menu and they will be fine.

For instance, how about some pork marsala complete with garlic mashed potatoes, baby green beans, shiitake mushrooms and marsala sauce? For nine bucks?

Desserts may include Mascarpone Cheese Cake with raspberry sauce, whipped cream and fresh berries, or maybe a pecan tart with brown sugar bourbon ice cream. Get the picture?

This place is a lovely place to do lunch with offerings from a state-of-the-art kitchen and a 100 health rating prepared by experienced and conscientious future chefs under the watchful eye of Chef Jason, who personally checks each plate offering before serving.

Reservations can be made by calling 983-5214, Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy!


Richard Parker can be reached by email at