‘Refined to go’ offers new option in Helena

By JEREMY RAINES | Special to the Reporter

In case you’ve not heard the news, there’s a new to-go spot in Old Town Helena that is the latest buzz. Still in their first few weeks of being open, chef James Washington and his wife Star have officially opened Helena’s newest eatery named Refined to go, which is located at 778 2nd St. on the backside of Oh My Sole and Brain Freeze.

The restaurant uses the tagline, “Down Home Flavors with an Uptown Flair,” and one look at their menu shows why.

June’s menu features items like blackened chicken alfredo, Asian chicken stir fry, hot lemon pepper catfish, boom boom shrimp tacos, pan roasted salmon, many different salads, a backyard barbecue burger, a chicken philly, many homemade sides, fried apple pie and white chocolate bread pudding.

“The overall vibe of Helena makes it a great place to live and now showcase my passion with cooking,” Washington said.

With 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Washington has been all across the United States cooking alongside many notable chefs, including Wolf Gang Puck, Chris Hasting and Dean Fearing.

In addition to working alongside those great chefs, Washington also gives a lot of praise to chef Chris Melville, his mentor chef Frank Stiff and his brother John Washington, who he said all played a major part in his culinary career.

In addition to owning and operating Refined To Go, Washington also currently serves as the Executive Chef and member of Faith Chapel Christian Center in Birmingham.

Washington got his start in the restaurant industry working as a dishwasher at Birmingham’s famous Highlands Bar and Grill before working his way to Sous Chef—a position he’s also held at Bottega Café, making him a Sous Chef at two of Alabama’s most famous restaurants.

Washington said this is a dream come true as he expressed his love for cooking makes coming to work seem less like work and more like a blessing.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Washington now resides with his family in Helena. Between he and his wife, the two have been blessed with what they refer to as the “Great Eight” children.

Their family has been blown away by the support they’ve already received from local residents.

Currently, the restaurant is open on Sundays from 11am-5pm, but the pair plan to extend these hours in September. This planned change includes changing their hours to Wednesday through Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. for lunch, and 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. for dinner.

Additionally, the group plans to offer cooking classes, 4-course tasting events paired with wine, as well as delivery options for those unable to swing by to pick up the tasty meals.

For those interested in hosting events, Refined to go does offer catering. To find out more about this newest addition to Helena and to check out the current menu, feel free check out the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram, as well as their website at www.refinedtogo.com.

To call in your orders, you can reach the restaurant at (205) 624-4440. You can also reach out to the owners at refinedtogo@gmail.com.