Heart of the City: Ted’s Restaurant


Explore the businesses that are helping to lead the renaissance of Birmingham’s city center.

Where friendly gets downright fresh.

Ted’s has been one of the favorite spots in the heart of the city for decades now. With its friendly vibe and classic food, it was cool before downtown was even remotely cool. And now more than 40 years later, it is still creating a spark of community, fun, and good food right where it has always been—in the heart of the city. It has even been spruced up recently with new signage, paint and a beautiful new mural that celebrates the city it calls home.

But beyond the lunchtime crowds and the classic meat and three options on the steam table, there is something deeper going on.

Ted’s is operated by husband and wife team, Tasos and Beba Touloupis. It is a unique partnership, one of those extraordinary pairings where the strengths and weaknesses of one partner compliment the other in ways that enhances everybody’s efforts.

The amazing thing about Ted’s is the community that Tasos and Beba have built with this restaurant. Composed of loyal customers who come there several times a week and long-time employees who make the diners feel special.

Ted’s has been a vital part of the city for decades. In fact, long before most people gave the center of the city much of a chance of a rebirth, Ted’s was there, anchored on the corner of 4th Avenue South and 12th Street.

The Touloupises bought the restaurant from Ted Sarris in 2000, and kept the Ted’s name. They didn’t tinker with the recipes too much, either. “We kept the name because it was an institution downtown already,” Beba Touloupis remembers. “Everybody knew it as Ted’s. We were not just buying a restaurant and a building; we were buying a history and his customers.”

Those customers and plenty of new ones have discovered the friendly joking of Tasos and the warm and pleasant personality of Beba, just as they’ve discovered Ted’s classic Southern food with a wonderful Greek feeling to the food.

Lawyers and sales people. Bankers and construction workers. Cops and docs. “The customers have become good friends. The connections we have made over 19 years is like a community network,” Tasos says. A typical lunchtime may bring 250 diners to the restaurant.

The good food and sense of community is even mobile now. Tasos and Beba have expanded their catering business, utilizing Tasos’ expertise from his days managing a country club and slowly capturing a healthy portion of the city’s breakfast and lunch catering market.

They have also been able to capitalize on Birmingham’s blossoming film industry by managing the catering for movies and television shows being shot in the Magic City.

“I feel like you come into Ted’s, or have an event catered by us, you are going to experience what Birmingham is all about. We are honored to be a part of that,” Beba says.

 

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