Babalu Tacos & Tapas
After Desi Arnaz
“I Love Lucy” Tune…
• Island suite display kitchen creates patron entertainment and improves production efficiency.
• Creating food that showcases local ingredients is a major menu component.
• The local natural gas utility was a great partner during the building renovation phase.
When it comes to selecting innovative sites for locating Babalu Tacos & Tapas restaurants, parent company Eat Here Brands, has established a successful track record for giving new life to older structures in rejuvenated up-and-coming metro areas. Such is the case for locating their third Babalu’s concept in Birmingham’s bustling Lakeview District, a locale with high appeal to Millennials.
The name Babalu comes from the song that Desi Arnaz made famous in the popular 1950’s “I Love Lucy” television series. The restaurant’s multicultural menu similarly reflects the street foods of Latin America. “From a culinary standpoint, the concept was created out of the ethnic street food craze that has swept the nation over the past few years with food trucks and chefs creating more ethnic foods and smaller portions,” commented Al Roberts, Executive Vice President and Culinary Director for Eat Here Brands. The goal is to create a laid-back environment that fits with our restaurant’s focus on sharing small plates and tapas-style appetizers. Al and his partners, Bill Latham and Mike Stack, take great pride in the fact that everything they do is made from scratch! Babalu’s is a true chef-driven concept with three chefs on duty in the display type kitchen showcasing their creativity and culinary skills to patrons.
Latin Fare with a Southern Twist…
The menu combines Latin fare with a Southern twist. That means appetizers, such as yellowfin tuna ceviche and black-eyed pea hummus. They also feature Mississippi Delta Tamales, Creole shrimp & grits and braised beef short ribs. And of course, a variety of tacos are available served upon house-made corn tortilla shells.
“We use natural gas wherever possible in our restaurants. It’s cleaner, more efficient and less expensive than electricity.”
— Al Roberts
VP & Culinary Director
Eat Here Brands, LLC
Babalu Tacos &Tapas
Gas Kitchen Equipment
• 1 – Prep Fryer
• 1 – Convection Oven
• 1 – Stock Pot Range
• 1 – Island Suite with
• Add-on Range
Total Combined Cooking
Natural gas is a “key ingredient” to their growing success. Six more locations are planned throughout the southeast over the next 18-24 months. Babalu’s state-of-the-art natural gas kitchen incorporates the island suite concept where a plethora of sauté items dominate their menu. In addition to water heating and space conditioning, gas infrared heaters are also incorporated into their outdoor patio dining area for added comfort during cooler times of the year.
Local gas utility, Alagasco, and James Robinson – Manager National Accounts/Commercial Food Services, took great care to ensure that they would have the necessary natural gas service to properly execute the concept. And Roberts was quick to point out that “Alagasco was great to work with. They did an awesome job!”