By Anna Grace Moore

Photos by Untold Imagery & Focus Creative Birmingham

Upon entering Slice Pizza and Brewhouse in Edgewood, one is greeted with such jovial salutations as he is imbued in decadent aromas of roasted chicken, peppers and molten cheese–pizzas whose scents are strong enough to make one’s palate salivate. As servers kindly escort parties to their seats, customers feel right at home in such a hub for community.

While the Edgewood location opened earlier this year, the story of Slice has origins dating back nearly 60 years. Saleh “Sol” Bajalieh immigrated from Palestine to the United States in 1965, later opening his own restaurant, Sol’s Sandwich Shop and Deli, in the John A. Hand Building in 1968.

Together, he and his wife, Nadia, raised their three sons, Jeff, Chris and Jason Bajalieh, in the family business, instilling in each of them the ingredients for a restaurant’s success: food, funding and fellowship.

“Everyone that ever ate with [Sol] would know they’re family,” Jason says. “I’ve heard stories where he’d put your plate down and eat one of your fries because he was that close with his customers. He knew everyone by name.”

Sol loved waking up early, starting the day before dawn in his shop. Longtime customers remember that he hardly ever wrote down orders because he often memorized his customers’ favorites.

Due to the John A. Hand Building’s closing and turnover in ownership, Sol’s Sandwich Shop and Deli was forced to close in 1994 after 26 years of business. Not long after, Jeff, following in his father’s footsteps as a restaurateur, opened two Domino’s franchises in Irondale and Trussville.

Jason says one question the family was always asked was if they could deliver beer with their pizza; thus, the concept of Slice Pizza and Brewhouse was born. However, this idea would not come to fruition until after the Bajalieh patriarch was called home to heaven in 2004.

Three years later, Jeff, Chris and Jason left Domino’s to reopen Sol’s Sandwich Shop and Deli on the corner of 20th Street North and Morris Avenue. As time went on, the brothers’ itch to create grew as they started to outgrow their space, prompting them to dream up their own pizza and craft brew business.

Through one of Sol’s favorite customers, David Donaldson, the brothers opened Slice Pizza and Brewhouse’s first location in the Lakeview District in 2011.

According to Slice’s website, “It’s more than just a restaurant—it’s a flavorful legacy rooted in decades of Bajalieh family-owned and operated businesses. Today, its origin story makes for a tasty tale woven through generations of the Bajalieh family’s culinary endeavors.”

Today, Slice Pizza and Brewhouse has grown to include five locations–the newest of which opened on Wednesday, March 27 at 1010 Oxmoor Road in Edgewood. When 40-year-old business, New York Pizza, announced it was closing and would be choosing the space’s next tenants, Homewood residents J.J. and Whitney Thomas jumped at the opportunity.

“I’ve had a love for pizza that stretches back as far as I remember, and Slice has always been my favorite pizza place of all time,” J.J. says. “The owners of New York Pizza chose who they thought would be the best group to carry on the tradition of a community pizza restaurant in Homewood. We were honored both for the Slice brothers to partner with us and the owners of New York Pizza to believe in what my wife and I were trying to do.”

Together, J.J. and Whitney have partnered with Chris and Jason to introduce Slice Pizza and Brewhouse to the Homewood community and diversify the local foodie scene.

Ingredient One: Flavorful Cuisine

Slice Pizza and Brewhouse’s plethora of menu items–all inspired by Sol’s cooking–are also made with only the best, freshest ingredients sourced from boutique businesses across the country. Slice’s pepperoni is sourced from a family-owned butcher shop, Molinari Delicatessen, in San Francisco.

The business’ lettuce is imported from Eagles’ Wings, which is a Coker, Alabama-based nonprofit that employs adults with developmental disabilities in farming hydroponic lettuce. If ingredients are not made in-house, fresh, daily, they are farmed or created fresh by small, family-owned businesses nationwide.

With 16 different specialty pizzas to choose from, choosing an entrée can be difficult. Longtime customers will appreciate the Edgewood’s menu’s dedication to originals such as Sol’s favorite pizza–the Bajalieh special, which is a red-sauce pizza topped with bacon, grilled onions and banana pepper rings.

Adventurous eaters will enjoy items such as the hot mama, which is sprinkled with Calabrian peppers, Soppressata salami, fresh mozzarella, basil, oregano, asiago and Mike’s Hot Honey Drizzle. The wing and a prayer, too, is another mouth-watering dish–one made with braised chicken, bacon, green and red onions, tomatoes, blue cheese crumble, ranch dressing and hot sauce.

No matter what one chooses, however, he is sure to find something he will love on the menu.

“What we do is the ‘old school’ with no onion and extra mushrooms–it’s the new school,” J.J. says, chuckling. “What attracted us to Slice initially is it’s a cool business–the craft beer, the branding, the fact that it’s family-owned and run. They create high-quality food with a different vibe, and it just separates them from other pizza options in Birmingham.”

One would be remiss not to try any of Slice’s signature pastas and sandwiches, such as the Italian with fries–a sandwich stacked with Capicola ham, Soppressata salami, Molinari pepperoni, mozzarella, iceberg lettuce, roma tomatoes, shaved red onion and balsamic vinaigrette all on a Gabino hoagie roll. Parents with picky eaters, do not fear: Betsy’s buttered noodles–Cappellini pasta with butter–never fail to delight little ones with “selective” taste palates.

The most interesting items on the menu, however, are none other than the variety of craft brews on tap.

“We opened up as soon as craft beer started around 13 years ago,” Chris says. “That’s when we decided to dedicate all of our taps to Alabama craft brewers. We were the first [Birmingham restaurant] to start doing that.”

While the menu has grown, the Bajalieh brothers have not forgotten their roots. They choose to honor Sol’s legacy by supporting local and family-owned businesses, prioritizing the best ingredients for their customers.

Ingredient Two: Funding Hope

Although Slice offers daily specials, Tuesday nights usually draw in the biggest crowds, thanks to the Bajalieh brothers’ “give-back” campaign, Dough Raisers. This weekly fundraiser started back in 2012 as a way for Slice to be an ambassador for local communities.

“We’re nothing without community,” Jason says. “We have to give back to people who give to us. That’s always been the way we’ve operated.”

Each month, Slice will pick a different, local 501(c)3 for which to fundraise. Each Tuesday night through the nonprofit’s partnership month, representatives from the organization will be present at the restaurant, meeting with customers and thanking them for their support.

A portion of that night’s proceeds is donated to the nonprofit. Not only does this help raise awareness for great, local causes, it also helps the community give back to those who need it most.

Since its inception, Dough Raisers has helped raise more than $100,000 for local charities.

“We talked a lot about the Bajalieh brothers–their professionalism, the love they have for each other and the success they’ve had in the industry,” Whitney says of partnering with Slice Pizza and Brewhouse. “We always thought they were strong leaders.”

Ingredient Three: Brewing Fellowship

Chris says with every restaurant he and his brother design, they focus on being intentional with the relationships they build in the community. Even though the eldest Bajalieh brother, Jeff, passed away from cancer in 2021, customers at every location are reminded of his loving personality through the way staff members model his character.

“We watched our parents have these big family meals, and everyone felt comfortable coming over to eat,” Chris says. “We wanted to have that same feel in the restaurant.”

Looking around the Edgewood location, one will notice how the warm, inviting hues paired with the upbeat tunes playing overhead make for a most enjoyable atmosphere that elevates the dining experience. Even the restaurant’s private party dining room is located in the front and can be viewed by those strolling along outside.

J.J. says just as Edgewood is a family-friendly community, Slice Pizza and Brewhouse is a great addition to the neighborhood strip for its decadent foods, dedication to fundraising for local charities and desire to foster fellowship between all of its customers.

“A cool business will attract you once, but a quality business like Slice will bring you back multiple times,” J.J. says. “We’re excited about joining the community.”

Slice Pizza and Brewhouse is located at 1010 Oxmoor Road in Edgewood. It is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-midnight. For more information about reservations, catering, menu items and more, visit

Slicing up Success

Here are but a few of Slice Pizza and Brewhouse’s recent awards:

Birmingham Business Journal – Top 40 Under 40
2016 – Chris Bajalieh
2018 – Jason Bajalieh  

The Food Network
2023 – Pizza Company of the Year – Southeast
2023 – Most Interesting Menu

Pizza Today
2024 – Pizzeria to Watch

Pizza Marketplace
2024 – Top 100 Movers and Shakers 

Reader’s Digest
2024 – Best Pizza in Alabama