The bustling Avondale neighborhood offers a wide variety of dining options for the nightly foot traffic, and right in the middle of it all is a vibrant taste of the Caribbean. The Thirsty Donkey is the passion project of Greg and Kathy Stein, Birmingham locals who, for a brief but magical time, operated a restaurant in Coral Bay down in the Virgin Islands. After the onslaught of record-setting hurricanes in 2017, they picked up the pieces of their business and brought the restaurant to the Magic City.
Caribbean Cuisine and More
The Thirsty Donkey’s menu consists of appetizing Caribbean fare along with regional favorites and treasured family recipes. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan items to accommodate a wide range of diets and preferences. When you sit down, you can start with wasabi-spiced edamame hummus, ahi tuna, or wine and garlic-soaked bay mussels, among other small plates. If you want to get things rolling with familiar mainland treats, you can order wings, fries, brat sliders, shrimp skewers, and more.
Entrees include a hearty cheeseburger that comes with fries, coleslaw, tomato, grilled onion, lettuce, and your call of cheddar, pimento, swiss, or bleu cheese. The Sloppy Juan comes with vegan chorizo and guacamole on a vegan-friendly roll, while carnivores may request real pork for the seasoned chorizo. The Caribbean pasta features a creamy house-made sauce, and you can customize the dish with shrimp, vegetables, parmesan, or chicken–which may be served grilled or blackened. You can also indulge in true comfort food with Norma’s Cottage Pie, a soul-warming dish of ground beef, peas and carrots, mashed potatoes, cheddar, and Guinness gravy. If you happen to dine on a Friday, you can also ask for the traditional fish and chips, which are only available that day.
Island Drinks and Other Libations
The Steins spent many breezy evenings serving up tropical cocktails and lively spirits down in St. John, and the good times are rolling once again now that they’re open for business in Avondale. The original Painkiller has always been a staple on their drink menu, at it blends the flavors of the Caribbean in a glass with rum, fresh nutmeg, and tropical fruit juice. If you’re in the mood for some citrus kick, you can order a strawberry lemonade or a curaçao-splashed Margarita as cobalt-blue as a sandbar. They also offer their own takes on the Hurricane, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, and Moscow Mule, along with other beachy drinks.
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