Ahhhhh, October! The time for pumpkin-spiced lattes, hammocking, and celebrating the spooky season. But don’t stop there. Now is also the prime time to immerse yourself in different cultures to recognize their significant influence in our local community. With Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, steadily approaching, we wanted to highlight the Hispanic heritage that makes Tuscaloosa such an eclectic and unique town. This beautiful culture contributes significantly to various aspects of our lives, whether it be the music we listen to, the food we eat, or the art we cherish. Here in the City of Tuscaloosa, we want to honor and showcase the incredible Hispanic businesses and the overall importance of Hispanic culture to our community and its people.
Many are familiar with Hispanic food options and may regularly visit them from time to time, but how authentic is the experience? Explore Hispanic heritage with your tastebuds by visiting the incredible Hispanic-owned restaurants all around T-Town! We have pooled together a list of Hispanic restaurants for patrons to enjoy delicious, authentic dishes around the clock, including Antojitos Izcalli, La Bomba, and Tienda La Michoacana. These restaurants feature a diverse offering of homemade Hispanic and Mexican dishes along with plenty more for you to discover and enjoy!
La Bamba, located on McFarland Boulevard, is a classic Mexican restaurant in town that features Hispanic dishes, a fantastic selection of margarita flavors, and family packs that make last-minute meals a breeze. Another local favorite is Antijitos Izcalli on the corner of McFarland Boulevard and Hargrove Road. This Hispanic-owned restaurant is guaranteed to blow your mind with exquisite and mouth-watering homemade dishes. Looking for a quick stop for some authentic Hispanic food? Carniceria Y Tienda La Mexican is the Mexican restaurant for you, featuring its own roaming food truck! This restaurant/food truck offers a menu of homemade Mexican dishes, from classic dishes like quesadillas and nachos to more adventurous tastes like authentic Mexican tamales.
Summer may be over, but there is never a wrong time to treat yourself to a frozen sweet! The two following locations are just a few of the many wonderful local Hispanic-owned businesses that offer a unique fusion of bold Hispanic tastes and classic ice cream flavors. Discover your new favorite treats to satisfy that sweet tooth at La Real Michoacana and Las Piñas! These ice cream shops are incredible places to experience authentic Hispanic frozen treats and to support Hispanic businesses in and around the one and only Tuscaloosa.
La Real Michoacana is an inventive ice cream and sweet treat stop that loves to explore and experiment with new flavors daily. They are even open to requests for new flavors they do not have on hand! Visit their Facebook page for more information about the delicious offerings and decadent new flavors featured at La Real Michoacana. Las Piñas is a family-owned business located near Bowlero that combines Mexican and American flavors into their 100% homemade frozen treats. With the incredible addition of Mexican flavors and spices, you can discover a new flavor profile that will blow you away!
In addition to treats and sweets, be sure to stop by these local stops to pick up Hispanic foods and flavors to add the perfect touch to your home-cooked meals! These are stores that offer specially-collected Hispanic foods, spices, and seasonings to add that indescribable Hispanic flair to everyday dishes or new recipes you’d like to try out! Before heading to these stores, be sure to plan ahead and read up on what foods you would like to whip up. Don’t forget to bring along a mask to wear while you shop!
There are several stores in the Tuscaloosa area that offer Hispanic-oriented foods and groceries, including: la Tienda Latina El Puerto, la Esperanza Tienda y Panaderia, and la Tienda Sabor Latino. These stores offer a wide variety of cooking ingredients and also freshly-made desserts for the instant gratification we all need every now and then! Each of these stores is Hispanic-owned by Tuscaloosa residents, so they are the one-stop shops to learn more about Hispanic culture and support the local community!
When visiting these restaurants, shops, and stores, it is important to call ahead to verify hours and up-to-date COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, although masks are not needed while seated and eating, don’t forget to bring it along for walking through the restaurants and shops! While you’re supporting Hispanic Heritage within our local community, feel free to tag @visittuscaloosa to any photos or posts about your experience! We can’t wait to see all of your adventures exploring this culture while showing your support for the Tuscaloosa community.
Will Baggett & Jamie Hoven
For locals, a giant neon cactus in our southern college town just makes sense. They belong right up there in Tuscaloosa landmarks with Denny Chimes and the Railroad Bridge. They just make sense. To newcomers, they are one of the first things you ask a local about. Anybody born and raised here will likely have an undying passion for their tacos and sweet tea. While the city has grown its food scene more and more with each passing day, they still have a love for Taco Casa. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time before they sprung up around town. Long before 1974 when the first Taco Casa would open, founder Rod Wilkins was dreaming up of the Tex-Mex after practice under the guidance of Tuscaloosa Icon Coach Bear Bryant. He would go on to head back home, work with his father in construction and marry a Northport girl named Susan Strong.
They would come back to Tuscaloosa in 73 with money they invested from Susan’s grandmother. While Rod would try to get a loan for his Tex-Mex, he officiated high school football games while helping build Susan’s parents home. Once he got the loan from his fellow football official Ed King, he set out to find the perfect spot to build his dream on. On August 20th, 1974 Taco Casa was born. They hit the ground running with their long-continued tradition of serving fresh food made right after the customer ordered. Along with hot fresh food, they served some of the coldest beer in frosted mugs, quickly becoming the landmark restaurant where many locals would try their first taco.
After incredibly dedicating himself to his work, he was advised by his former high school coach to franchise Taco Casa. By 1977 Taco Casa expanded across the river to Northport. College students and locals alike would grow to love Taco Casa to the point they expanded into markets like Mobile, Birmingham, and even into auburn. On that tragic day of April 27th, 2011 a Taco Casa along 15th street was struck by the devastating tornado. The Restaurant would be one of the first businesses to come back stronger than before and be a beacon of hope for the city’s revival. To this day Taco Casa is still a family operated business with a dedication to our great city. They continue to serve freshly made Tex-Mex and some of the sweetest sweet tea in the state. It is loved and cherished as a local legend that continues to bring people together under the biggest cactus in town