French-inspired The Bottle restaurant opens next week in downtown Huntsville; Humphrey’s Bar & Grill becoming barbecue and blues joint

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Two recently-closed downtown Huntsville dining spots will soon be back in business with new owners, revamped menus and two of the city’s best chefs at the helm. The former James Steakhouse at the corner of Washington Street and Clinton Avenue, which closed June 30, is expected to spring back to life late next week as The Bottle with Chef Andy Howery in charge. The seasonal menu will feature classic French-influenced dishes prepared with heirloom tomatoes from Keel Mountain, Gulf seafood and other mostly Southern ingredients. Next door, Humphrey’s Bar & Grill is undergoing a more extensive makeover, including a new acid-washed concrete bar and shifting focus from eclectic bar food to barbecue and blues joint. When Humphrey’s re-opens in mid-August, customers will be greeted with smoked turkey wings, barbecue sliders, pulled pork spring rolls, moonshine-soaked peaches and other unique but familiar eats. Chef Chris McDonald said much of the cooking will take place on a large meat smoker behind the restaurant. “We’re bringing the smell of barbecue back to downtown Huntsville,” McDonald said Tuesday. McDonald, who cut his teeth at the legendary Le Bernardin in New York City and spent the past six years as executive chef at Grille 29 in the Village of Providence, and Howery, most recently of Watercress in Bridge Street Town Centre, will co-own both new downtown eateries. Their partners are John Zimmerman, Brit Crossley, Anne Pollard and a sixth investor who does not want to be identified. The group’s ABC to Z Inc. recently bought the rights to Humphrey’s and James Steakhouse from longtime operators Washington Square Group. McDonald said the...