Big Daddy's Mediterranean Grill and Hookah Bar one of Tuscaloosa's best kept secretsBy John Palmer | 11/20/2015 6:25pm
Big Daddy's Mediterranean Grill in Tuscaloosa is the perfect embodiment of a hole in the wall, and could quite possibly be one of it's best kept dining secrets.
Big Daddy's serves simple Mediterranean style cuisine, offering plentiful portions at reasonable prices. They are also one of the few places in town to offer hookah. They fill a unique niche here in T-Town, and they seem to be doing it well.
When dining here, know that gyros are their specialty. I always order the gyro plate or wrap. The plate consists of strips of seasoned beef and lamb sliced off a vertical rotisserie, warm pita bread, a small salad, Greek dressing and feta cheese dressing. French fries are also served with the plate; something I feel is unnecessary. A plate and drink will set you back around $10, a reasonable price for one of if not the best gyro in T-Town. Daily lunch specials are offered at lower prices.
As far as hookah goes, I couldn't tell you the difference from good or bad. However, I notice the staff is quick to bring them out and routinely comes around to check on customers. The hookahs themselves seem to be of a high quality and look really cool.
Because Big Daddy's is the first place I've ever been to that offered hookah, I was slightly apprehensive. I had imagined a smoke filled place full of irony and asthma attacks. However, to my surprise I could actually breathe without coughing up a lung. As a disclaimer, I am in no way an expert on health, but the smoke was not nearly as bad as I had imagined. In fact, I could hardly tell anyone was smoking. I could only smell the mild aroma of the hookah. It reminded me of incense, and to be honest, actually enhanced my dining experience.
If you aren’t a fan of hookah or gyros I would still recommend stopping by for a glass of the sweet iced mint tea. When I tried this beverage I was hooked. It simply may be that it goes well with the food, or that it reminds me of the tea my mother makes using fresh mint leaves picked from her garden. Regardless, I would take a glass of it over a gallon of Milo's any day.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is very calm and minimalist. At the front of the place, one might be underwhelmed, and justifiably so. However, if you step back to the main dining/smoking area, it has a unique charm that I can only describe as cozy. The room is essentially an enclosed outdoor patio. Cushioned benches are lined around the walls next to outdoor tables, providing unique and comfortable seating. Wi-Fi is free and the password is posted on the wall.
Big Daddy's is a place that doesn't try to be something it's not. It is exactly what it looks like; a family owned Mediterranean café and hookah bar geared toward young adults. So whether you're looking for a relaxed place to hang out with your friends, or simply eat and get some homework done, Big Daddy's is a good choice.