Friend’s of Kirkwood: Irondale Cafe

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date October 21, 2020

This summer and fall we set off on an endeavor to bring some light into the lives of seniors all over Birmingham through delivering a free hot meal right to their doorstep. We know how hard this season has been for so many, especially the older population, when it comes to nourishing yourself properly. It has been difficult and, in cases, unsafe to go to the grocery store or to venture out to a restaurant and when you are unable to cook or just fatigued from having to make every meal in your kitchen, meals can be a real source of sadness and anxiety rather than joy and nourishment. Our hope is that by taking care of one meal, folks can reflect on the things in this life that bring joy and thankfulness rather than the hardships being faced!

Irondale Cafe has been our partner restaurant for these weekly meal deliveries and we could not do it without them! The doors of The Irondale Cafe – Original Whistlestop were first opened in 1928 as a hot dog stand and their history is absolutely fascinating. You can read about it on their website here. Jim Dolan is the current owner and has been for 20 years! He and the folks at the cafe are fantastic at what they do and committed to their cafe. They have been dependable and delicious with every meal we order. They are as dedicated to serving the community as we are and we are just so thankful for their dedication and hard work in this season! Be sure to stop by their adorable cafe for lunch sometime!


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

My time at Kirkwood was spectacular; they taught me how to walk again. The staff was outstanding, and the care was beyond reproach. When I arrived, I had a long way to go. I was very sick. The first night, they had to lift me as I could not move by myself. When I left, they were chasing me down the hallway. They taught me how to perform the activities of daily living again. It was the best care I could have prayed for, and on top of that, the food was spectacular.

Eli Gold Past Resident

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents