Review: Papi Ali’s providing plant-based Latin food in TuckerMikail Ali. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Tucker, GA — Mikail Ali started Papi Ali’s as a food truck in early 2020, just before the restaurant business apocalypse caused by the pandemic. By the fall of 2021, he opened a counter service location in Tucker.
What kind of food, you may ask, has allowed Papi Ali’s to swim against the tide?
The menu is simultaneously varied and straightforward. There are sandwiches, wraps, bowls, tacos, side items like empanadas, and freshly pressed juices and smoothies. You can choose meals like the Papi’s Bowl or build your own. Ingredients are plant-based and the meat substitutes like the mushroom bacon and mushroom chorizo are appropriately savory without trying too hard to be “meat.” The options make it easy to work around dietary restrictions and personal tastes, so anyone can find something they will enjoy.
I will say that because of the chipotle crema the MBLTA (Mushroom Bacon Lettuce Tomato and Avocado) does not really taste like a BLT (one of my favorite sandwiches), so keep that in mind if you are envisioning a vegan BLT. However, the mushroom bacon is crispy and it’s a good sandwich in its own right.
Grain bowl sizes are generous, and the menu includes a half size “snack” version. My Papi’s Bowl was a tasty combination of black beans, rice, slaw, mushroom chorizo, and plantains. My carnivorous husband ate the mushroom chorizo, mushroom bacon, and gujarillo tofu tacos gleefully.
Aside from the food, Papi Ali’s strength is that it accommodates choice. It’s a good place to go if you’re famished and if you just want something light, and it’s a great place to go if you have a group of people who may have conflicting dietary restrictions. It’s a restaurant that allows everyone to find something they will enjoy without imposing on each other, without sacrificing taste.
For a store menu and hours, click here.
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