Why I love: Tropicaleo

Tropicaleo's Cubano sandwich
via Kristina O’Quinn

I’ve noticed that we at Bham Now give the Pizitz Center a ton of coverage.  I’m sure some of that is because we offer native advertising (which this is not, by the way).  But I think there’s more to it than just money.  I’m writing a love letter to what I see as the under-appreciated star of the Pizitz food hall: Tropicaleo.


To understand what makes Tropicaleo so appealing, you have to fit into a certain segment: adventurous and starved for a lowish-salt menu.  I study at Birmingham-Southern, and while we’re finally getting a new food service provider (hurray!), this past year I have done everything in my power to avoid eating at our caf – I feel awful after eating there.  So I’ve been surviving off of fast and fast-casual food, and that means I’ve been eating oodles of salt.  This changed with the Pizitz food hall, and especially with Tropicaleo.

World War Z zombies Why I love: Tropicaleo
“Totally real” footage of the lines for shawarma and ramen around lunchtime at the Pizitz food hall – via windowssearch-exp.com and actually just a screencap from World War Z

How to find it

Tropicaleo isn’t a huge deal at the Pizitz – for some reason, it’s not even listed on their website.  There’s actually almost never a line when I’m there, even when the lines for shawarma and ramen seem like a scene out of World War Z.  Maybe it’s the lighting, or maybe it’s people’s inexperience with Puerto Rican food.  It’s not the people, who are always super nice and invest in what they’re doing.  I don’t think it’s the food (tell me if you disagree).  It might even be the temporary nature of its spot – Tropicaleo occupies a “showcase” area of the food hall that changes operators every so often.  But something is keeping Tropicaleo from being as successful as I expected.

Give it a try

The next time you can’t decide whether you really want comfort food or kinda healthy food, give Tropicaleo a try.  Expect something in between heavy and light. Take the food for what it is: Puerto Rican food served fast, not fast food.  Let us know what you think.

Follow-up note: Any post that is part of Bham Now’s native advertising model, we label as ‘Sponsored‘ or ‘Partnered‘.

James Ozment
James Ozment

I'm a Birmingham native who loves music, cycling, reading, and tech. Find me on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, in Avondale, or hanging out with my cat

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