Little Donkey’s 280 location is serving up the catfish tacos and fried chicken that first made the restaurant so popular in Homewood four years ago.
The people of Birmingham have been flocking to Little Donkey’s Homewood location since its opening four years ago, and now, residents of Shelby County don’t have to drive quite so far for their fix of Southern-inspired Mexican food.
Little Donkey’s new location on U.S. 280 brings a much-needed local flair to the area, and manager Joshua Gentry is thrilled to share the restaurant’s unique style with the residents of north Shelby.
With their roots in Jim ‘N Nick’s, Joshua and the other founders of Little Donkey have always been interested in Mexican culture and cuisine, and they find many similarities between Mexican and Southern food. Two of their most popular dishes, the catfish tacos and the fried chicken, certainly bring elements of both cultures to the table.
“Southern and Mexican food share a lot of ingredients and the techniques are pretty similar,” Joshua said. “It’s the palate that is varied. So, we started working on this as a concept, and have let it evolve as we’ve grown.”
With four locations total—two in Birmingham, one in Nashville, and one in Montgomery—Little Donkey is steadily spreading the joy of its freshly-ground masa to more Alabama residents. With high-quality ingredients, smoked meats and a dedication to the very best techniques, Little Donkey’s newest Birmingham location is sure to be a welcome addition to the 280 corridor.
Joshua takes pride in the cuisine at Little Donkey, and for good reason: There’s a lot of love and care that goes into creating these dishes.
“I love to think we are elevating the quality of what is expected in Mexican restaurants,” Joshua said.
But Little Donkey does more than just serve exceptional food. Forgoing the traditional advertising route, the restaurant takes the money they would have spent on ads and funnels it to local charities, schools and nonprofits. They also place a heavy emphasis on being a great place to work.
“From a community standpoint, I think we definitely bring some great attributes to the table,” Joshua said. “We are driven to become an employer of choice. We have got to foster a safe, healthy environment to attract the best, and currently, we have an outstanding staff, so something must be working right.”
Joshua says one reason Little Donkey is so special is that the staff truly cares about what they’re doing—and they’re committed to giving the best possible experience to their customers.
“We look for ‘want to’ over ‘know how’ all day long, and what we have found is that the idea of southern hospitality is still alive and well,” Joshua explained. “Yes, we train them, but when you have people that are motivated to work and want to show people a great time, it becomes a lot of fun.”
With all this success, it seems like more expansion might be on the menu Little Donkey. So what does the future hold?
“First and foremost, our jobs are to come to work and get better every day—operationally, personally and culturally,” Joshua said. “I’d like to see us grow our stores in our current markets, but more importantly, I’d like to see us bring some more authentic food and cooking methods as we elevate our current service level and the guests’ expectations!”
The next time you’re in the mood for some down-home Mexican cooking, stop by Little Donkey’s new location. They’re open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Aside from the fantastic dining experience, they also offer takeout and catering options so that you can enjoy those catfish tacos anywhere, anytime.
From Little Donkey Taqueria
This signature cocktail is as zesty as its color suggests – a refreshing combination for a warm spring day.
What’s In It
- Barton’s Whiskey
- El Jimador Blanco
- House-made hibiscus syrup
- Fresh lime