Birmingham has seen a huge revitalization in the past few years. Luckily for local Bham residents and visitors alike, this revitalization includes the restaurant and bar industry. From tacos to tandoori, the wonderful food scene in the Magic City is growing again. If you’re looking for your next socially distanced night out on the town, look no further than these 3 new Birmingham restaurants that are serving up some of our new favorite dishes.
3 New Birmingham Restaurants
The Pizitz Food Hall, 1821 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203 • (205) 223-8569
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, Closed
Open for indoor and outdoor seating. Curbside pickup available.
Located in the bustling Pizitz Food Hall, Unos Tacos is whipping up some of the most delicious bona fide Mexican fare in the South. From tacos to guacamole to burritos and homemade salsa, this new restaurant concept is one that needs to be added to your Birmingham food bucket list immediately.
Owner Jesus Mendez-Fragoso, lovingly known to friends, family, and patrons as Chuy, noticed a demand for authentic Mexican food during his two years of ownership at The Louis bar, also located in Pizitz. “[The demand] triggered my pursuit in finding a perfect taco concept for the Pizitz and the community,” says Chuy. “Besides my love for cocktails, I’m also a huge foodie. I wanted to be part of the food culture in the Magic City so badly that I traveled to NYC and Los Angeles looking for the perfect taco.”
Thanks to Chuy’s unwavering determination to secure the perfect taco recipe, Unos Tacos was born. “My little taco recon mission was very educational and helpful in creating Unos Tacos,” says Chuy. “The true inspiration comes mainly from my parents. When guests come to dine with us, I want them to enjoy their meal and experience as if they were personally dining at our home as a family.”
Whether you’re a Mexican food connoisseur or you prefer to stick to the traditional menu, Unos Tacos has something on the menu to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. “My favorite menu item is my chicken quesadilla. The chicken is a guisado called Tinga from Puebla, Mexico. The chicken is shredded and cooked with chipotle peppers, sautéed onions and Roma tomatoes. We also use Oaxaca Cheese from Oaxaca, Mexico. Mozzarella and Monterrey cheese were too basic,” says Chuy. “The flour tortilla is free of preservatives which gives the entree a more complete and enjoyable taste!”
Opening a new restaurant is always a gamble, but during a pandemic, it’s especially intimidating. Luckily, the Birmingham community has rallied around Unos Tacos and supported them via curbside pick-up and their outdoor seating options. “Amid COVID-19, we have been doing very well and the community has been very supportive,” says Chuy. “We look forward to expansion or possibly a second location!”
1024 20th St S Unit 101, Birmingham, AL 35205 • (205) 777-3070
Hours: Sunday through Monday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Open for indoor seating. To-go and delivery options available. Reservations encouraged to ensure social distancing.
Vik Lal, Co-Owner of Bay Leaf, set out to find the perfect location for the restaurant’s second space and landed on the historic and bustling 5 points neighborhood. “We knew 5 Points was already home to many diverse styles of food and felt it had great potential for more international flavors,” says Lal. Following the success of their first location on Highway 280, the team at Bay Leaf felt it was time to expand in order to share their culinary talents with locals and visitors alike that can only be reached in downtown Birmingham.
Bay Leaf offers modern Indian cuisine complete with a trendy and fully-stocked bar. Lal knew that this restaurant concept would thrive in the Birmingham melting pot from the very beginning. “When you visit major cities in the U.S., you will find restaurants focused on modern Indian cuisine. We knew with Birmingham being such a foodie town, that this concept belonged not only in metros such as L.A. and New York City, but in the Magic City as well,” says Lal. The team at Bay Leaf set out to provide the residents of Birmingham with access to authentic Indian food that would be a complete dining experience, and they have not disappointed. “When we decided to invest in the Bay Leaf brand, we knew we wanted to transform it into a modern Indian cuisine concept. The flavors we feature are unique – they are Indian, but with a twist,” says Lal. “Our food is Indian meets modern, and its presentation is an experience in itself.”
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Indian cuisine, while delicious and full of flavor, can be difficult for rookie diners to learn and order confidently. The team at BayLeaf is well-trained and incredibly helpful to those who are new to Indian food and even to those who are no strangers to the vibrant tastes of this cuisine. The timeless, curated menu at Bay Leaf boasts the tried and true flavors of India, including the classic favorite, Tandoori Chicken. “The tandoor oven is the backbone of an Indian kitchen. It is a cylindrical clay oven where we make fresh breads, such as Naan and Tandoori Roti, and it is also where my personal favorite menu item, Tandoori Chicken, is made,” said Lal. “We take Cornish hens and marinate them in our house marinade, which is a secret recipe featuring a mix of Indian spices, for at least 48 hours. When you order our Tandoori Chicken, we take the marinated chicken and put it in our tandoor, which gets very hot and adds a smoky flavor. We then cook it to perfection, and it comes out melt-in-your-mouth delicious.”
From a near perfect presentation to the extensive list of food and beverage options, Bay Leaf is a must-try Magic City restaurant. Perfect for date night or a girls night out, there is something for everyone to enjoy. “Bottom line, we want our customers to feel special when their food and drinks come to the table every time they choose to dine with us,” says Lal.
144 River Square Plaza, Hueytown, AL 35023 • (205) 436-8500
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.;Friday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday, Closed
To-go orders accepted. Masks required indoors and social distancing is enforced.
Healthy eating has never been so easy (or tasty). A lifelong dream to serve the Birmingham community health-conscious, delicious entrees came to fruition in July at the grand opening of Bell Peppers. Owner Anthony Clemons grew up cooking, but never thought it would lead to his own restaurant. Clemons, a type-2 diabetic and self-proclaimed foodie, knew he had to make changes in his own diet to live a long and healthy life, so he began his search for healthier ingredients to make his favorite foods diet friendly. This low-carb, keto-friendly restaurant takes classic American comfort foods to a new level.
From low carb biscuits and pizzas to gluten-free waffles and burger buns, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Bell Peppers. One of the best parts about Bell Peppers? Their no-nonsense menu. Each serving on the menu is under 6 carbs and all ingredients are listed so nothing is left to the imagination. You know exactly what you’re eating at Bell Peppers and you can eat with confidence knowing that Anthony Clemons and his team are here to serve the Magic City the most fresh, healthy and tasty Southern meals this side of the Mason-Dixon.
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Cheers to Birmingham’s newest hot spots! Enjoy finding your new favorite dish, Magic City.
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