Central Mesa To Offer Wholly New Downtown Dining

Downtown Tuscaloosa has a variety of hangouts, high-class restaurants and holes in walls, but thanks to local restaurant manager Craig Williams, it is finally gaining authentic Mexican food.


Williams, a long-time Tuscaloosa resident and University of Alabama alum, is turning his business experience and personal tastes into Central Mesa. Central Mesa will be located at 519 Greensboro Ave. While this plan has been in the works for many months, Williams will be the last person to take responsibility for its upcoming birth.


Williams, co-owner of the Avenue Pub, went out of his way to make it abundantly clear that his staff, business partner Brandon Tribble, and the welcoming environment that the downtown community offers has pushed him to open Central Mesa. Central, as Williams hopes the restaurant will be referred to as, is bringing fresh, made with care Mexican food to its tables. These fire-roasted vegetables and braised meats will not be the “norm,” Williams stated. There is nothing else in town like it as of now. There are so many types of tequilas available, Williams could not come up with a concrete number.


When asked about what kind of atmosphere Central will have, Williams said that he hopes that the business workers of downtown and the local nightlife will be interested in dining in. Most of the menu prices are similar to that of The Avenue Pub, with several items being slightly costlier. “This is not a place to get a fried chimichanga, Tuscaloosa already has that,” according to Williams. The process of opening a new restaurant in what used to be the space Epiphany used has not been easy for the Avenue Pub team. The operation had to go through the paperwork side of getting licensure as early as December of last year, and construction and renovations have been taking up the time since then. Williams said that Epiphany did leave the building in great conditions, but his team has had very different visions for the restaurant. There is more room for tables and accommodating parties than in the Avenue Pub, and they are trying to make the most of it. There is roughly 3200 square feet, compared to the 2400 square feet at Avenue. Williams said that he cannot wait to be able to focus on what he really loves, being in a kitchen and getting to know his customers.


Williams credits his “family” of staff as the reason he can open and manage another downtown gem. Williams said time and time again that if he did not have the support of his 40 employees, as well as construction help from Morgan Poe, Ty Tomlinson and Blake Horton, that he would not have attempted this venture.


The Avenue Pub recently won Munch Madness, a 64-spot local radio competition where listeners could vote for their favorite Tuscaloosa bite. Williams made it clear that he aims to make sure Avenue Pub will not miss a beat and that Central Mesa will not take away from the quality it offers.


Central Mesa will be opening as soon as possible, in as little as two to three weeks, and Williams and his family hopes that the community will come to love and appreciate it as they do the Avenue Pub.



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