Best of Jackson 2014 – Babalu Tacos & Tapas

January 22nd, 2014        —        Babalu Tacos & Tapas, Eat Here, News

Best Server: Chandler May; Winners_Gallery-30_t990Best Happy Hour; Most Innovative Menu; Best Margarita; Best Mexican/Latin; Best Outdoor Dining; Best Place for a First Date

Babalu Tacos and Tapas is the kind of restaurant people talk about nonstop when they leave Jackson. It’s the kind of place they miss while studying in France, among some of the best cuisine in the world. Babalu is the kind of place that appeals to just about every type of gastronome—young and old, vegetarian and carnivore, teetotaler and happy-hour enthusiast.

#When Babalu moved into Duling Hall in 2010, it brought “I Love Lucy” marathons and tableside guacamole and fresh tacos and that incredible burger. Signature cocktails such as the Pepe O’Malley, Baba Blue and Baba-Rita made a splash immediately. Since then, Babalu has continued to grow and innovate, offering seasonal infused margaritas with flavors such as blood orange and hibiscus, and Executive Chef David Ferris’ dinner specials such as pan-seared scallops or whole roasted quail. This winter, the restaurant extended the life of its outdoor porch dining space, enclosing it in to stave off the cold. The eatery has been so successful that owners Bill Latham and Al Roberts, and their business partners, are opening a second location in Memphis with plans for a Birmingam location to follow.

#The site of many a birthday party (featuring tequila-bottle sparklers), reunion, post-concert snack and first date, Babalu has become a part of the fabric of Fondren. The restaurant partners with local charities such as Stewpot and the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital during the holidays, and offers occasional discounts for scrubs-wearing University of Mississippi Medical Center students and doctors. It’s no wonder every hour is a happy one at Babalu. —Kathleen M. Mitchell