Jackson Free Press 2016 “Best of Jackson”

Best Happy Hour; Best Place for Cocktails; Best Margarita; Best Mexican/Latin; Best Outdoor Dining; Best Place for a First Date: Babalu Tacos & Tapas

Arielle Dreher, Jackson Free Press – January 2016

If you’ve ever been in Babalu on a Friday night, Saturday night or any night really, you know the place is abuzz with a weird sort of energy: the kind that makes you want to be a part of it—even if it’s a 45-minute wait. The thing is, from cocktails to tacos, there’s a lot worth waiting for. On Mondays, you actually don’t have to wait to enjoy discounted cocktails. Babalu has mastered the alliteration that boosted margaritas to more than special-occasion cocktails: Margarita Monday. The restaurant serves $5 margaritas all day long on Mondays, and if that isn’t enough to get you through the door, Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays at Babalu, which translates to $2 per taco.

The restaurant prides itself on fresh ingredients in drinks and entrees alike. The bar doesn’t have soda guns; the bartenders use canned soda, organic tonic water and in-house fruit-infused tequila. For tacos, Babalu offers blue-corn tortillas, fresh pico de gallo and your choice of seven to eight meats. The Baba Burger is one of the most popular menu options.

Community coordinator and events manager Lindsey Miller says Babalu stands out because customers are encouraged to order different items and share around the table. At Babalu, the food comes out when it’s ready—not all at once, so sharing is a good idea anyway if you’re hungry.

Another favorite feature at Babalu is the coveted patio tables, which provide a change of pace from the sometimes-loud dining room. Lounge sofas are perfect areas for meet-ups, and long tables enable larger groups to all sit together. The patio is often full in the summer, but Miller says it’s still a popular choice in wintertime. Babalu’s high energy largely comes from the great team that works there, she says. At Babalu, she says, “you know what to expect: for it to be busy but to get taken care of. … Consistency is key.” As a staple and multi-category winner, Babalu has proved its consistency and presence as a reliable staple in the Jacktown restaurant rotation for Jackson Free Press readers once again.

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