It’s no secret that Birmingham’s food scene continues to thrive. From tacos to tandoori, new restaurants continue to open and offer options for any craving you may have. If you’re looking for your next socially distanced night on the town, look no further than these three 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) 593-4625
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday
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 and 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, also located in The Pizitz. “[The demand] triggered my pursuit in finding a perfect taco concept for The Pizitz and the community,” he says. “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 New York City 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,” he says. “The true inspiration comes mainly from my parents. When guests come to dine with us, I want them to enjoy their meal and experience it 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 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 Monterey cheeses were too basic,” explains Chuy. “The flour tortilla is free of preservatives, which gives the entrée 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 pickup 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 Thursday, 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 Five Points neighborhood. “We knew Five Points was already home to many diverse styles of food and felt it had great potential for more international flavors,” says Vik. Following the success of their first location on Highway 280, the team at Bay Leaf felt it was time to expand and share their culinary talents with patrons in downtown Birmingham.
Bay Leaf offers modern Indian cuisine complete with a trendy and fully stocked bar. Vik knew 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,” he says. “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.” The team at Bay Leaf set out to provide Birmingham residents 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,” Vik explains. “Our food is Indian meets modern, and its presentation is an experience in itself.”
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While delicious and full of flavor, Indian cuisine can be difficult for rookie diners to learn and order confidently. But the team at Bay Leaf is well-trained and incredibly helpful to those who are new to Indian food and even those who are no strangers to the vibrant tastes of the 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,” says Vik. “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 Vik.
144 River Square Plaza, Hueytown, AL 35023 • (205) 436-8500
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday and. Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Monday
To-go orders accepted. Masks required indoors, and social distancing is enforced.
Healthy eating has never been so easy (or tasty). Anthony Clemons’ lifelong dream to serve the Birmingham community health-conscious, delicious entrées came to fruition in July at the grand opening of his new restaurant, Bell Peppers. Anthony grew up cooking, but he never thought it would lead to his own restaurant. A Type 2 diabetic and self-proclaimed foodie, Anthony 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. And the best part? Bell Pepper’s 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, and you can eat with confidence knowing that Anthony Clemons and his team are here to serve the freshest, healthiest and tastiest 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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