When the Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) created their street food events ten years ago, they relied on hungry Brummies to pop into a neighborhood parking lot to listen to music and sample dishes they might never have tried before. It was a big request, but people showed up, rain or shine, because the idea was so exciting.
You never knew what vendors to expect, or what dishes they would create on the day. Good food, good music and good vibes reinforced the events and over the years DDC has become a phenomenon.
This year, to celebrate a decade in the game, they’re taking their show to more venues than ever before. This summer you’ll find your street food parties all over the region, with ‘Dining Clubs’ in Lichfield, Stafford, Tamworth, Merry Hill, Warwick Castle and more.
Read more: Digbeth Dining Club celebrates ten years – busy dates for summer and where to find good street food
But what happened to the street food vendors that were there in the early days? Or those that grew up like the Digbeth Dining Club? In this list, we’re going to take a look at some of the businesses that started with street food that took their knowledge and experience and turned it into something bigger.
Many of them still have their street food vans and gazebos too, so don’t discount them at upcoming Digbeth Dining Club events, especially if you can’t book a table at their busy permanent restaurants!
1) Original Patty Men
9, Shaws Passage, Digbeth, B5 5JG
Original Patty Men (OPM) are true originals of the Birmingham street food scene. The self-proclaimed Purveyors of Filth graduated from street food to brick-and-mortar store in Digbeth in 2015 and have been feeding hungry Brummies ever since.
And it’s not just Brummies. When Drake visited the city in 2017, he placed a massive order of OPM burgers for himself and his entourage. They are world famous!
In addition to its location, OPM serves food at British Oak in Stirchley and Kilder in Digbeth. Choose from burgers like the Alabama Slammer (boneless chicken thigh with lemon ginger salad and hot sauce), a Cheezy-E Burger with American cheese and bossman sauce, or the humble Bacon Cheeseburger, made with maple-coated bacon.
Vegetarian options are also available, including the Po Money, the Po Mushroom burger, a Po boy-style sandwich with breaded panko mushrooms. Side dishes include Alabama fries, topped with Alabama sauce, Franks hot sauce and crispy fried onions.
2) Eat Vietnam
1422, Pershore Rd, Stirchley, B30 2PH
Eat Vietnam’s permanent base has been open since 2019 in Stirchley, following popular passageways popping up at other Birmingham hotspots, including Bonehead, Lord Clifden and The Plow. There, they offer ‘traditional Vietnamese food stuffed with umami with the freshest ingredients’.
There’s a covered terrace at the back for al fresco dining, so don’t be put off by how small it looks from the outside. They accept walk-ins if you happen to be passing by.
Food options include fish noodle dishes Bún Cá e Bún and Cơm bình dân, which translates to ‘rice of the commoners’. But there’s nothing ordinary about it – Eat Vietnam makes some of the most authentic Vietnamese dishes in town.
3) Meat Hut
17, Thorp Street, Birmingham, B5 4AT
Similar to the Patty Men, the guys at Meat Shack are churning out big, juicy burgers with expert skill. They were first launched in 2012 and after making a name for themselves in the street food scene, they opened the Thorp Street branch in 2017.
Dirty burger options (which you can pair with a local craft beer) include the Hell Shack, with a spicy Rib Man Holy F*** sauce, and the Buffa Clucker chicken burger. Meat Shack also offers one of the most exciting veggie burger options in town. Bella Emburg consists of fried halloumi, mushroom duxelle, Dutch gouda, crispy onion, ketchup and chipayo. Ooft.
With great service, a laid-back vibe, great beers and best burgers, it’s definitely a place to add to your list of places to dine this summer.
4) Greidy’s Wings and Strips
2, Fordhouse Lane, Stirchley, B30 3BP
If you want to know more about Greidy’s Wings and Strips, we have an in-depth resource here where you can read all about Reidy’s journey from garbage man to restaurateur. It’s an incredible tale that follows Jamie Reidy from his days emptying the trash to setting up a street food stall selling the chicken he’s spent a lifetime perfecting.
Now Greidy’s is a cool and very busy chicken shop, also in Stirchley, that is booked well in advance by customers who want to get their hands on bits like Greidy Gravy fries and sriracha Thai fried chicken. Reidy even cooked his wings at Saturday Kitchen after being named Britain’s best street food/takeaway seller by the BBC.
The Stirchley store has only been open for a few months but already has a fantastic reputation with dinner dates being booked weeks in advance.
More chicken! Yardbirds bring Harlem to Birmingham with their burgers and fried chicken strips. They are not yet in their permanent home, but plans are well laid out for them to open, you guessed it, Stirchley.
Yardbirds has been sharing updates on the renovations of a former bank on Pershore Road and will soon be open for customers four days a week. If you’re a Villa fan, you might have seen them at the Doug Ellis Stand at Villa Park too.
Burgers include the Buffalo Bird, the Halloumi BBQ Burger and the Gravy Chick with American Mustard Sauce.
6) Brick roast
The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Deritend, B9 4AA
Baked in Brick is another highlight of the scene, serving beautiful wood-fired pizzas with quality toppings. It all started when Lee Desanges put a handmade pizza oven in the back of a classic Mini, a barbie under the hood, and the pizzeria has gone from strength to strength.
In 2019, the business grew into a permanent brick and mortar shop in Digbeth and that’s where it stays, baking wonderful breads, burning crispy pizzas and serving up dirty fries and small plates.
In addition to vegetarian and vegan options, the Baked in Brick’s pizza selection includes the Three Little Pigs, topped with smoked ham, Milano salami, Nduja, Lincolnshire Poacher zest, San Marzano tomato, mozzarella di latte and wild arugula. Then there’s the award-winning Campione calzone, stuffed with Aubrey Allen cinnamon and wild mushrooms. It comes with a Colston Basset blue stilton dip as well.
For the latest on events and attractions, food and drink and things to do in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the Midlands, visit our What’s on the homepage. If you’re on Facebook, you can find our City Life page here.
To see: Went to Birmingham’s new VR bar Otherworld where you get free drinks if you kill enough zombies
To discover: We went to eat frog legs at Le Petit Bois in Moseley and found the most comforting dish ever
Reading: We made a pilgrimage to Bilston to get fried Custard Eggs and orange chips and experienced headache