Everyone loves Taco Tuesday, so why not keep the celebration going today on National Taco Day? Check out some of these T-town gems to chow down on a variety of everyone’s favorite Mexican staple.
From the owner of the Avenue Pub comes the newest addition to Tuscaloosa’s Mexican food scene, Central Mesa. Offering everything from classic tacos to Brisket and Grits, all of their dishes are prepared from scratch in house with fresh ingredients. Along with your favorite Mexican food staples, Central Mesa also boasts an extensive tequila selection as well as other liquors for margaritas, mojitos, and more.
Located on University Boulevard just before downtown, you’ll find the always popular Taco Mama jam-packed with both locals and college students alike. This Birmingham based chain has expanded to eight different locations throughout Alabama and continues to grow, with a ninth location planned to open in Nashville in 2018. The fast-casual Mexican restaurant features signature tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, and also offers custom à la carte options. The festive atmosphere and fresh, diverse menu make Taco Mama a perfect place to celebrate national taco day.
Jim N’ Nick’s BBQ Tacos
Although not your traditional Mexican restaurant, Jim N Nick’s has given us another excuse to celebrate not only National Taco Day but also Taco Tuesday every week. Putting their own spin on the classic concept, Jim N’ Nick’s serves up a variety of barbecue-themed tacos every Tuesday, giving us everything from fried catfish to pulled pork to choose from.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
The Texas-based Fuzzy’s Taco Shop opened their first Alabama location in the heart of downtown next to Glory Bound last fall. The fast-casual chain was founded in Fort Worth, Texas, and has quickly grown to over 100 restaurants nationwide serving their addicting Baja style tacos that have gained a cult following. Fuzzy’s offers breakfast tacos all day as well as specials that change monthly along with specialty drinks such as their signature Fuzzy Driver.
A true Tuscaloosa icon, Taco Casa’s history in town runs deep. Founded in 1974 by Alabama football alum and Wichita, Kansas native, Rod Wilkin, Taco Casa is where many Tuscaloosa locals tried their first taco, and it was love at first bite. Known for fast, friendly service and hot, delicious food made to order, Taco Casa has earned its spot in Tuscaloosa history. Be sure to stop by this local favorite to celebrate.
Written by: Katy Aspinwall
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