Pastor’s Kitchen//A Different Kind of Atmosphere

Tuscaloosa loves its Mexican food. If you’re in any doubt, cruise the length of Highway 82 from Tuscaloosa to Northport and count the number Mexican restaurants along the way. Many in the countless mix are solo operations while others may have multiple locations in town with a flock of faithful diners each night. Aside from cheese dip and personal preferences on salsa, margaritas reign supreme in the eyes of many Tuscaloosans. Give us the best deal at Happy Hour and we’ll become a devoted patron.


But what if I told you that there was a Mexican restaurant in town that doesn’t have a Happy Hour, or even sell alcohol, yet boasts one of the most loyal fan bases in town? Enter Pastor’s Kitchen, with two locations in the Northport area. For owner and operator Pastor Garcia, having a restaurant is a dream come true. “I knew I always wanted to open a restaurant but I never thought it would be in Northport, Alabama. I thought it would be in Mexico where I grew up,”

says Garcia.


Aside from a deep-rooted dream to be in food service, Garcia’s faith plays a huge role in his business practices and tries to make it evident in the restaurants’ atmosphere. From signage on the walls with inspirational quotes to Christian music playing throughout the restaurant, it’s clear that Garcia aims to set his restaurant apart from the others.


Having been familiar with Pastor’s Kitchen from conversations with my own church friends and even seeing the restaurant’s food truck, I knew I wanted to stop by Pastor’s this past weekend with my hubby in tow for lunch. Walking in the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by a friendly host asking how our Saturday had been going. Instead of an abrupt “how many?” question I’ve gotten at other restaurants, we were instead greeted with a genuine level of curiosity on the state of our day. We were then asked our preference of a booth or table and quickly escorted over to the nearest booth. My eyes scanned the room as I immediately noticed inspiring quotes and verses on the wall. My ears perked up realizing that they were being soothed by calm Christian music versus loud laughing, clamor, or indistinct sounds from a television station.


Peeking at the menu, I noted that Pastor’s had the standard Mexican restaurant fare one would typically find in Tuscaloosa. However, I noticed a supplemental menu highlighting authentic Mexican street food type options. Though intrigued, I opted for the restaurant’s lunch fajita special as a barometer of comparing the food quality to other Mexican restaurants. My hubby decided to go for the famous Pastor’s Dip nachos, featuring beef, beans, pico de gallo, and queso.


It wasn’t long before our hot plates of food arrived in front of us. For a lunch portion I was impressed with the monstrosity in front of me. Despite my husband ordering a half-sized nachos, I’m pretty sure his dish could have fed a small army. My bell peppers and onions had the perfect texture along with a generous size of chicken on my plate. I was pleased to see that Pastor’s didn’t like to skimp out on the shredded lettuce and sour cream

serving either!


All in all, Pastor’s has food good enough to thrive without selling alcohol. In fact, most patrons will tell you that it’s not even the food that keeps them coming, but the heart of the staff along with the atmosphere that celebrates good family atmosphere. I’ll be back again Pastor’s…and again…and again.


Pastor’s Kitchen is located at 2910 5th Street and 2511 McFarland Boulevard in Northport. Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly and let us know where you are eating!


Sheena Gregg, MS, RDN,LD is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino foodie.” Follow her on Twitter @AFilipinoFoodie



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