Chef Spotlight: George Reis

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George Reis was born in the Midwest and raised in upstate New York, which gave him an appreciation of the greatness of farm fresh foods and the blending of world flavors. After living and working in New York, Dallas, the Gulf Coast, and Atlanta, Reis was able to realize his dream by moving to Birmingham and opening his award-winning seafood restaurant Ocean in March 2002. Reis has been an active member of the Birmingham Originals since 2002. Four years later, he opened a sister restaurant next door, 26, which has since been transformed into 5 Point Public House.

This latest major undertaking has been the reimagining of the space that held 26 for almost 10 years. “We opened 26 in 2006. It had a great run and did great food. In 2006 it felt like it was cutting edge in décor,” Reis says. “But lately to me, it started to feel kind of tired. The food was always good and interesting, but I knew I wanted the look to be updated.” Once he came to that realization, he decided to go all out. “I started looking at ways to create something that was really very different from Ocean.”

What he came up with is 5 Point Public House and Oyster Bar, which features, in Reis’s words, “chef-driven casual and comfortable food.”

5 Point is a combination of two styles—a public house and oyster bar—creating a relaxed gathering spot that’s perfect for locals. In keeping with the pub tradition, 5 Point offers over 40 craft beers, including those brewed in Alabama as well as other ales and lagers from around the country. The restaurant also features eight keg-style wines on tap, which is a new concept to the Birmingham area. The menu plays to the comforts of good, solid food in a casual pub environment.

“To me the key to growth is to stay fresh, both in food and decor. It is important to always do small improvements,” Reis says.