Text by Katie Roth
Homewood’s newest spot for queso and margaritas will also beg you for a game of corn hole on the patio or to come back for Taco Tuesday… or should we say Tostadas Tuesday? Its brightly painted interior is quite the change from the dark décor in its precious occupant Jackson’s Bar & Bistro in Soho. Tostadas is also quite the change from the “typical Mexican restaurant.” They are known for, as the name hints, their tostadas, and the menu is inspired by everything from southern fried chicken to New York bagels. To learn more, we chatted with the man who dreamed up the concept and brought it to life.
How did you get into the restaurant industry?
Two other partners and I opened up the Momma Goldberg’s on 18th Street and on 280. Then I got out of that and did consulting and marketing and then worked for Sysco selling food to the restaurants. Jackson’s was one of my customers, and Allison Sheffer and I graduated high school together. Jackson’s owners Tom and Allison Sheffer were ready to move on to the next stage in life, and so we just talked and it just worked out. My wife and I had been praying for an opportunity, and it was a blessing.
What drew you to this location?
There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in Homewood, but in this area—I remember especially working on 18th Street—there’s not a place where you can just walk to get queso and a margarita and a fun atmosphere. When this opened up with this patio, we were like, “This would be perfect to have some sort of Mexican restaurant,” but not your normal Mexican restaurant. We wanted to do a different play on it.
Why did you choose to build your restaurant around tostadas?
We love tacos, but we feel like there are taco places all over Birmingham—and really, really good taco places all over Homewood and Birmingham—so we were like, “How could we differentiate ourselves from everything else?” And so that’s where we came up with the tostada idea, which is basically a flat taco. The only difference is, instead of a soft shell, we do it on a fried flour tortilla and with different varieties.
My wife likes the Plain Jane. That’s your normal one: ground beef, cheese, jalapeños. And then you’ve got one like the Southern Stack, and that has a jalapeño pimento cheese, Wickles pickles and grilled Conecuh Sausage. It’s not your normal taco, but it’s really good. We have one called the New Yorker; it would be like a bagel almost. It’s a fried tortilla with a zesty cream cheese and then smoked salmon and fried capers and red onions. A lot of people are liking that one.
What are some of your favorite menu items?
We’ve got really good queso. Our specialty is Street Corn Queso, which is Mexican style street corn, and then we blend it with our white cheese. Ours has a little bit of a spice to it to give it a little bit of variety. We’re real proud of our salsa. It’s kind of a smoky sweet, so it’s got a little bit of a sweetness and a little bit so heat. And one thing we kept on the menu is the Jackson Verde from Jackson’s. It’s a creamy spinach dip made with cream cheese.
Any drink recommendations?
We make our margaritas with 100 percent agave tequila and then lime juice, orange juice, Sprite. We like the Black Barrel Old Fashioned. Normally Old Fashioneds are made with bourbon, but we have one made with a Black Barrel tequila. We try to keep a lot of Mexican beer. We’re not a wine place, but we want to have a good wine selection because a lot of people in the area like a good wine, so we get good feedback on what to have and change it as we need to.
Learn more at theflattaco.com or follow @tostadasbham on social media.