Jim Davenport's Pizza Palace
Jim Davenport's Pizza Palace is a family-owned pizzeria located at 2837 Cahaba Road in Mountain Brook Village. It was opened in 1964 by businessman Rex Hollis who named it for his friend, professional baseball player Jim Davenport, to attract notice.
The restaurant features thin-crust pizzas similar to the kind Hollis and Davenport enjoyed in Minneapolis in the mid 1950s when Hollis was working in investments and Davenport was playing AAA baseball. The pizza has a tangy home-made sauce, and is cut into small rectangles rather than large wedges. The "Jim Special" has ground beef, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers. The "Rex Special" is made with its sausage, onion and green peppers laid on top of the cheese.
The main dining room is softly lit and decorated with wrought iron and classic movie-star photos. A second dining room is neon-lit and stocked with a small assortment of classic video arcade games. The kitchen is open to the lobby and is decorated with souvenirs of Davenport's baseball career.
Hollis and his wife, Ardyce, walked to the restaurant from their home in the nearby Mountain Brook Manor. The restaurant is now run by Hollis' daughter, Heather Norris, and her niece, Amanda Thames. During the 1980s, Rex's son Mark managed a second location on U. S. Highway 31 in Vestavia Hills, with a classic red delivery truck parked outside.
In 2004 Davenport's agreed to relocate its sign from the roof to the front of the building to comply with Mountain Brook's newly-passed ordinance regarding commercial signage.
Davenport's has been honored for "best pizza" several times by the Birmingham News reader's choice awards.
- Guffey, Michelle Q. (August 25, 2004) "Mtn. Brook businesses will alter criticized signs." The Birmingham News
- Tisdale, Laura Truchon. (April 23, 2005) Davenport's Pizza Palace. Pressed for Time. Digital Press.
- Segrest, Doug (May 21, 2006) "Baseball stars Veale, Davenport enter Hall." The Birmingham News
- Roussel, Christiana (August 30, 2012) "Jim Davenport's Pizza Palace". Village Living