Taste of Tuscaloosa: Pastor’s Kitchen Pays it Forward

Pastor's Kitchen Owner Pastor Garcia says he's dreamed of owning his own restaurant since the age of 17. Pastor's Kitchen Owner Pastor Garcia says he's dreamed of owning his own restaurant since the age of 17. Sheena Gregg

Since he was 17, Pastor Garcia dreamed of owning his own restaurant. That dream originated in Mexico City, but never did Garcia imagine that he would fulfill it in Northport, Alabama.  

“I’ve always wanted a restaurant. I love the environment. I love customer service and loving people,” said Garcia.  

A booming popularity in the location on 5th Street near downtown Northport warranted a second location with bigger space. The ribbon was cut on that location, 2511 McFarland Blvd., in May.  

“We have a lot of customers. They like the food, the customer service, and the atmosphere that we can provide them.”  

Despite the popularity and the loyalty displayed in every customer interaction, not everyone knows the story of Pastor Garcia and his commitment to giving back to the community.   

“I came here to Northport 15 years ago. I was homeless and didn’t speak any English. An American couple adopted me, put me through school, taught me good values, and have been with me through every major point in my life including my marriage and opening these restaurants,” said Garcia.  

Along with his brick and mortar restaurants, Pastor’s Kitchen utilizes a food truck for feeding community members at church events and even projecting movies in neighborhoods, providing free popcorn.  

Pastor's Signature Dip nachos, featuring beef, beans, pico de gallo, and queso, is a favorite among customers. 

Garcia says that his upbringing and the generosity that his American family gave him have truly been the root of why he invests so much time in the community.  

“I’m never going to be able to repay what I received in my life, but I want to do whatever I can to invest in other people and give back to the community.”  

Pastor’s Kitchen is one of the only Mexican restaurants in Tuscaloosa that doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages. In fact, patrons frequently hear Christian music playing overhead in the background when traditional mariachi music isn’t being played.  

“For me, it’s not about the money, but it’s instead about giving people good food and a place for fellowship with their family and friends.” 

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Sheena Gregg

Registered Dietitian/Assistant Director, Health Education and Nutrition Services at The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheena-gregg-83612a9b

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.