The Bajalieh brothers are all about local—locally sourced ingredients, local brews and a growing family of local restaurants. They grew up in their dad’s Sol’s Sandwich Shop & Deli downtown and opened Slice Pizza and Brewhouse in 2011 and Sky Castle in 2016, both in Lakeview. Next, though, they are heading to a new neighborhood with a Slice location across from Life Time Fitness at the corner of Cahaba River Road and Timberlake Drive. Pizza service is scheduled to open in 2018. Pictured are Slice owners Jason, Jeff and Chris Bajalieh, with Chef Terrill Brazelton (back).
What will the new location be like compared to the Lakeview one?
The heart of the menu will be the same as the Lakeview store, and then we will do some side specials that are a little different. The space will be very similar with a residential-style build like an old house because Slice was converted from an old house. There will be tree bark siding and a lot of natural colors, wood and stone. It will be a little larger inside, and we’ll also have an outdoor patio. The bar there will have 13-14 seats. There will be 12 beers on tap that will represent Alabama-brewed beers and will change out. A major part of Slice and what we do is community outreach. We’re excited to extend our Dough Raisers to the new location and will continue to host those on Tuesdays to benefit local nonprofits. With Dough Raisers at both locations, we’ll be able to offer additional opportunities and partner with more organizations to give back to the community.
How did you land on this location?
We like the neighborhood feel. We like knowing who our customer is. We don’t want to be off some major thoroughfare exit and only feed people one time and never see them again. It’s like its own little town out there. It felt like so much of who we are.
What makes a Slice pizza a Slice pizza?
We’re locally sourced, farm-to-table and seasonally driven, paired with a locally brewed beer. Entering summer we did a Low Country Boil pizza and a seasonal salad, our Watermelon Salad. We just did a locally sourced eggplant parmesan appetizer that was extremely popular as well. Right now, we are doing a pizza with Chilton County peaches, and after that we’ll do one with fig and prosciutto. Our chef Terrill Brazelton’s creativity is what sets us apart. He’s in contact with these farmers every day. He’ll oversee menu development for both restaurants.
What are yours and your family’s favorite pizzas?
The Bajalieh Special was created in honor of my dad because it has his favorite toppings: grilled red onions, bacon and banana peppers. I [Chris] like the Soul Pie, it’s our pizza with black-eyed peas. It gets a crazy look, but when people order it, they usually come back for another one. My favorite is probably the Old School because it’s just four toppings—pepperoni, house Italian sausage, mushrooms and grilled red onion. To me, the less you put on it, the better. Our crust has fresh ground herbs, so you can enjoy the crust a little more if it has fewer toppings.
What is your family dynamic like as brothers and business owners?
We’re super close. We grew up in the restaurant business in Sol’s downtown. That’s where it all started. We split our time between all of our restaurants, and we all have our certain roles.