It’s not every day that you get to sample original Mexican recipes passed down through generations of Hispanic families that immigrated to our area straight from places like Mexico City. Or that you can order from a diverse Mexican breakfast menu. Both of these possibilities and more have become a reality in Calhoun County with the opening of Besitos Mexican Kitchen, situated in the heart of Downtown Anniston, Alabama in the space formerly occupied by Sam Sutcheleo’s Thai One On Restaurant. As Ariel Vicars, one of three partners and managers of the new restaurant stated, the opportunity to open the restaurant in that particular location “fell into their laps” one day when she was dining there–ironically, on the last day Thai One On was open for business. After overhearing this piece of news, Ariel asked the waitress to give her phone number to Sam to call her if he was interested in leasing the space. He did call her that very day, and as she shared “the rest is history.”
Besitos Mexican Kitchen–A Second Location
Walking into the newly renovated restaurant, you likely won’t recognize it compared to how it looked in the hands of the former occupant. It’s been refurbished to resemble the courtyard of a hacienda, showcasing fresh white-washed walls, Hispanic pottery, and lush plants. Most all of the attractive tables, booths, and furniture were hand-made by Ariel and her two Hispanic partners–Gustavo Lopez and Jesus Olivarres (Oxford natives). Ariel Vicars, who is local to Ohatchee, has known these two men for years and collaborated with them on various ventures, one being managing a restaurant in the area with one of the partners. Later, they were approached by a realtor out of Birmingham who was seeking to sell her friend’s restaurant space. The three jumped on the opportunity and opened the restaurant Besitos Mexican Kitchen in February 2022. The venture has been a huge success, with customers lauding their authentic Hispanic recipes. Armed with that achievement, as well as the desire to bring a taste of original Mexican food to the Calhoun County area they call “home,” Vicars, Lopez, and Olivarres have opened their second location Besitos Mexican Kitchen Anniston as of Friday, March 31st, 2023.
Authentic Mexican Cuisine at Your Fingertips
Their exciting menu does offer many dishes that most folks have grown accustomed to, such as a variety of burrito, quesadilla, and enchilada choices, Tex Mex favorites like fajitas and chimichangas, and tacos like street tacos and fish tacos. They also serve Mexican street corn, which has become a popular item on modern Mexican cuisine menus. However, the menu sets Besitos Mexican Kitchen apart with its “Authentico” section. Ariel said, “My partners had recipes that were in their family or recipes that they had cultivated that we wanted to bring to life, which is why our menu is a little bit different than other Mexican restaurants in the area. We have a lot more authentic food on our menu because it is recipes that came from somebody’s grandmother or somebody’s mother that you won’t find anywhere else.”
An example of an original recipe is the Milanesa Verde–a breaded chicken breast served over a green poblano and cilantro-based spaghetti, sprinkled with queso fresco and Mexican cream. Another is Gustavo’s mole recipe (Pollo con Mole) which is a regional spin on that dish from Mexico City. Besitos Mexican Kitchen offers unique Mexican soups like their Tortilla Soup, which has a roasted tomato and chile base with queso fresco, avocado, Mexican cream, and housemade tortilla strips. Their Pozole Verde is a traditional Mexican celebration soup containing shredded chicken, cabbage, radish, onion, and hominy. In Hispanic culture, it’s typically served around Christmas time, but at this restaurant, it’s a daily menu item.
A Breakfast Like You’ve Never Had Before
An authentic Mexican restaurant that serves breakfast is a rare find, outside of larger cities like Atlanta. That’s why Besitos Mexican Kitchen’s breakfast menu is worth celebrating, with breakfast items for traditional palates and the adventurous alike. Notable authentic items would be the Chilaquiles–fried hand-cut tortilla topped with green or red salsa, fried egg, queso fresco, and Mexican cream, steak or chicken, with a side of black beans. Or you can chow down on Migas–corn tortilla cooked with scrambled eggs, onion, tomato, red salsa, topped with queso fresco, and served with rice and pinto beans.
More familiar breakfast items include breakfast burritos, omelets, breakfast tacos, a breakfast sandwich, pancakes, steak and eggs, and even a breakfast french fry-based dish. Other unique items are their four types of specialty Mexican coffees: 2 cinnamon based, one caramel based, and the fourth being a horchata–a type of latte drink flavored with toasted rice and cinnamon.
Currently, the hours for breakfast at Besitos Mexican Kitchen are reserved for Friday through Sunday 8:30 am – 10:30 am.
Special Surprises and Extras
Rather than offer a set dessert menu, Ariel plans to take a path less traveled by offering a daily specialty dessert. She shared that these would consist of traditional favorites like cheesecake, pie, banana pudding, cupcakes, and in-house pastries. One regular item they will feature, especially with their breakfast menu, is Conchas, a Mexican breakfast pastry.
Another rare find in Mexican restaurants in our area will be Mexican candies, which will be displayed in glass jars and sold by the pound at Besitos Mexican Kitchen. They also have an attractive display by the back door of the restaurant showcasing items for sale created by local artisans like jewelry, art, books, and stickers. On partnering with locals, Ariel said, “I love to help support someone else’s business while also growing mine. You can’t ask for more than that.”
In concluding the interview, Ariel wanted to express how pleased she is over the future, not only in regards to their restaurant but also for Anniston’s happenings: “I am excited to be in Anniston, and to bring something a bit different here, like the menu items, the desserts, the candies. This is home. It’s nice to be home. Main Street is going through such a cool revitalization, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. 9th through 11th Streets are now part of a new Arts and Entertainment District. I love that we are right in the middle of it, and I want to help it along. We’re happy to be here!”
Besitos Mexican Kitchen is located at 911 Noble St., Anniston, AL. Their hours of operation for dining-in and take-out orders are:
Tuesday thru Thursday 10:30 am – 2:30 pm; 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Friday 8:30 am – 2:30 pm; 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Saturday 8:30 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday 8:30 am – 8:00 pm
For more information, call (256) 624-6080 or email Besitosmexicankitchen2@gmail.com