When it comes to cuisine, the Southern States are known for many things, but vegetarian food is probably not one of them. The focus in food is surely set on the amazing barbecue, burgers, and chicken – justifiably.  But as living vegetarian becomes more and more popular, it’s worth looking for options around town that accommodate that! Yet there is no dedicated vegetarian restaurant in Tuscaloosa, but there are some pretty amazing dishes in town that are live-saving for all vegetarians and also a delicious culinary experiment for anybody else. Go out and try these five terrific veggie dishes in Tuscaloosa:

Sloppy Joel at Animal Butter
This recently opened unique bistro is one of the best places to go for vegetarian and conscientious gourmets in Tuscaloosa! They provide the freshest possible ingredients from local farmers and enrich their classic street food dishes with a creative soul. One of the best among their veggie dishes is the Sloppy Joel. This classic is transformed into a root-vegetable alternative, refined with a chili paste and fried shallots. A perfect composition, specially created for vegetarians. Perfect with that goes one of their veggie sides, like the crispy Brussels sprouts or sweet potato fries.

Black-eyed Pea Burger at 301 Bistro
Veggie burgers can be found in almost every chain nowadays, but many can’t beat the burger from the one and only 301 Bistro. The restaurant’s atmosphere inside the old train station is just as amazing as in their beer garden outside, and their Black-Eyed Pea Burger is a fancy taste experience that is definitely worth trying, even if you are usually a meat eater! The breaded bean patty comes on a whole wheat bun and is topped with double cheese, tomatoes, and arugula. The extra magic of this dish is added by the truffle oil and balsamic aioli – an ingenious piece of the class that 301 is known for!

Hummus at Glory Bound
Hummus has not only become a trendy dish throughout the last few years, it is also literally the perfect meal for your lunch – healthy, tasty and filling! At the cultish Glory Bound in downtown Tuscaloosa, hummus is one of the flagship dishes and definitely their specialty! The variety is striking: Choose your favorite hummus out of ten variants, for example, chipotle-lime, Mediterranean olive or spinach-pesto! Or take the hummus-trio and get any three tastes of your choice! Every hummus dish is served with unlimited delicious warm pita bread. The portions look overwhelming, but you won’t have a choice but eat it all in the end – it is simply too good.

Pasta at DePalma’s
Although their pizza and antipasti are pretty amazing as well, the most striking dishes at Tuscaloosa’s favorite Italian restaurant is their pasta! Many of them are also delicious vegetarian options! Dedicated meat free is, for example, the portabello mushroom ravioli, Mediterranean penne with olives, spinach angel hair, their very own DePalma’s pasta with artichoke hearts and much more! All these are so delicious, you don’t even realize or think about missing meat in them. One of the best parts is also the fresh garlic bread that comes with the pasta. So, drive downtown and spend an amazing and not-so-obviously-vegetarian dinner at DePalma’s!

Panini at Sweet Home Food Bar
The one and only Sweet Home Food Bar is always a good choice, no matter if you want to grab lunch, dinner or a leisure brunch on Sundays. You can also find a meatless dish at any time of the day there, but our focus lies on a dish that can be found in their afternoon menu: The Vegetable Panini. These Italian-inspired grilled sandwiches can’t be found at any corner – they should be, though! Sweet Home has a wonderful vegetarian Panini that is made with eggplant, roasted peppers, plenty of cheese and a balsamic dressing. One more delicious dish not only for full-time vegetarians. Be adventurous and try veggie!

We’re approaching summertime in Tuscaloosa which means things are heating up and the idea of staying indoors becomes less appealing with each passing day. To help you out we’ve created a list of some of our favorite restaurants in town that offer superb outdoor seating areas so you can enjoy the summer heat and thrilling atmospheres all day long.

1. Another Broken Egg Café

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat brunch while enjoying the nice breeze of an Alabama morning, Another Broken Egg is a great option! Located on the River Walk, Another Broken Egg offers a beautiful river view from its terrace. Scrumptious menu items such as omelets, waffles, sandwiches and black bean benedict are sure to send your taste buds into a craze.

2. Local Roots

Local Roots offers customers the full outdoor eating experience. The traveling food truck takes pride in serving southern food made from local ingredients. The food truck travels all over Tuscaloosa serving some of the most delicious burgers and tacos this city has to offer. You can find its weekly schedules online to find out where it will be located each day. Its most frequent location is in downtown Tuscaloosa and features picnic tables for assembling. This is the perfect way to enjoy delectable food and the beautiful scenery that is downtown Tuscaloosa.

3. Heat Pizza Bar

This one of a kind pizza place is a local favorite. Located on the first floor of the downtown parking garage, it has a distinctive outdoor seating area facing the communal lawn at the downtown plaza! The modern vibe and exclusive pizzas have proven to be a huge hit in Tuscaloosa. Heat provides a menu that features exclusive items such as the Thai Chicken and Reuben pizzas and a large list of specialty cocktails. This is the perfect place to enjoy a spontaneous lunch or casual dinner with a view and a cocktail!

4. River

Surrounded by the exquisite views of the Black Warrior River is Tuscaloosa’s newest trending restaurant, River! River offers a picturesque outdoor experience. It has areas for both lounging and eating on its outdoor terrace and features canopies and fire pits to enhance the already remarkable atmosphere. With chefs that cook up some of the best oysters, steaks, and flatbreads in town, River is the perfect place to enjoy all the perks that come with dining outdoors this season!

5. Taco Mama

If you have a job that requires you to sit inside on all of these beautiful Alabama summer days, Taco Mama is your perfect lunchtime escape! With one of the most popular patios in Tuscaloosa, Taco Mama is home to specialty tacos, burritos and quesadillas. If you’re feeling lively enough, you can even order one of Taco Mama’s specialty margaritas to accentuate your meal before returning to the office. As the experts at this taco bar say, “stay hungry and be thirsty!”

  1.  Brunch at 301 Bistro

With its distinctive charm, specialty cocktails and mouthwatering cuisine, 301 Bistro is sure to be a hit with your mom this Mother’s Day! The renovated train station offers an eclectic vibe with fresh, locally grown food options that combine the flavors of German, Southern, and Creole cuisine. On Sundays, the bistro features a jazz trio, “The Voodoo Saints,” and a special brunch menu that offers exclusive items such as shrimp-and-grits, French toast, and mimosas! This Mother’s Day let your mom take a break from cooking and let the masters at 301 Bistro take over.

  1. Exploring at Lake Lurleen State Park

After your mom enjoys brunch at 301 Bistro, take her over to the 250-acre man-made lake located just on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa where she can enjoy the sweet heat of an Alabama spring. After all the time she spends indoors cooking and cleaning up after the family, she is guaranteed to enjoy some much needed time outdoors. Lake Lurleen State Park offers paddleboat and canoe rentals as well as numerous hiking trails and swimming areas certain to provide just the adventure your mom is looking for this weekend.

  1. Tour the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art

If your mom isn’t so much a fan of the outdoors and prefers the splendor of art and history, the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art is the way to go this Mother’s Day. The art begins with the exterior of the building that portrays unique architecture designed to resemble a Japanese temple. Inside, your mom can find a large variety of collections featuring themes from the American Revolution and Civil War. The museum offers one of the greatest private collections of American art, and the best part of all- it’s completely free to tour. So if you’re looking for a splendid and inexpensive way to impress your mom this Mother’s Day, there’s no better place than the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art.

  1. Mani-Pedi at the Village Nail Bar

Let’s be honest, all our moms deserve a little pampering, especially on Mother’s Day. Village Nail Bar is the latest hit in Tuscaloosa for all who love a good Mani-Pedi. While there, your mom can enjoy a glass of wine or champagne while the pros at Village Nail Bar work on glamming her up. Your mom is guaranteed to be feeling like the queen she is while receiving a hand and foot massage during her Mani-Pedi services. If that doesn’t seem like enough, your mom can take it a step further and enjoy a luxurious facial before she leaves. So if your mom needs a little indulgence and a lot of relaxation, Village Nail Bar is the place to take her this holiday.

  1. Dinner on the Town

Your mom probably cooks dinner almost every night so on Mother’s Day let someone else do the cooking, and take her out to one of Tuscaloosa’s treasured restaurants. If your mom is interested in an upscale place that also offers an exciting atmosphere take her to the locally renowned restaurant, Chuck’s Fish where she can enjoy a delicious seafood entrée. She can sink her teeth into one of the astonishing dishes such as parmesan-crusted grouper or blackened fish tacos. She can finish off the meal with one of Chuck’s signature cocktail like a Crimson Mule or Strawberry Manhattan. If your mom prefers a quieter restaurant with a classier atmosphere, she will certainly enjoy one of Tuscaloosa’s newest culinary treasures, River. This restaurant is surrounded by the beautiful views of the Black Warrior River and features family recipes made from locally grown ingredients your mom is sure to savor. She can relish the southern cuisine from appetizers such as smoked catfish dip, or enjoy the splendid flavor of a flat iron steak. Dinner at one of these amazing restaurants is sure to bring your mom’s special day to a flavorful end.

Written By: Bailee Kennamer – Intern

Valentine’s Day can mean two things: romance and pressure. When you’re with someone, the 14th can be a bit of a nightmare. From fighting for a reservation to getting the right flowers it can become all too stressful for a day of love. This year, be ahead of the curve and follow some of our advice on how to turn the city of Tuscaloosa into the city of love!

The Weekend

For those unaware, this year V-Day falls on an all too dull Tuesday. Right after Monday, it’s hard to find time between work or school to really show your love beyond an early dinner cut short so you have time to finish that paper or turn in early before that 8 am meeting.
The weekend before or after Valentine’s Day, however, should not only give you more time to enjoy each others company but avoid the waits that give you gameday flashbacks at any of Tuscaloosa’s finest dining establishments.

The Classic Romantic

Evangeline’s
For a night out that spans over hours of fine dining, and excellent wine pairing, take the one you love to the one and only Evangeline’s. They have established themselves as some of the most elite in Tuscaloosa dining with extravagant courses and service that have made it a classic date night spot across the river.

R. Davidson Chophouse
Tuscaloosa’s new steakhouse has grown to be one of the latest in our refined dining scene, and there’s nothing more classic for dinner on Valentine’s than a prime slice of steak with some excellent lobster. The whole evening will be filling, and be sure to venture around their amazing appetizers and cocktails for a night of flame roasted passion.

Depalmas
Everyone knows Italy is for lovers, and we have our delicious slice of it right along University in downtown. Sure it’s a well-known date spot, but it rightfully earned that title. From decadent pasta to some of the best tiramisu around, it’s beyond worth the wait for a seat inside.

The Adventurous

The same old thing can be tiring, but Valentine’s day offers you a chance to break out of the rut and celebrate with something new or different.

Ruan Thai
Step outside the limits of southern cuisine and enter the tasty territory of Thailand above the strip inside the charming little house of Thai. Delight in fried rice served in a pineapple, or in watching each other turn red when you try some of their authenticly seasoned dishes. The experience will lead to memories you can’t find at your standard dim light dinner.

Dreamland BBQ
How did this make the adventure list? Simple. Dare to defy the fashion gods and wear your whitest shirts and test your abilities to not drip some of that all-too-delectable sauce on them. While everyone clutters up their feeds on Instagram with the same red rose and white plate dinners, share your story with your messy shirts and big grins from the filling sensation of some of the best ribs in Bama.

Mr. Chens
Walk inside this Chinese market, and find yourself in a hole in the wall that is stuffed with flavor. Go beyond your standard Chinese delivery order and explore the east in the cozy space with your loved one. You can even save your fortune cookies as a memento of Valentine’s Day gone right.

Foodies Delight

We are well into the golden era of food across America and Tuscaloosa is making strides to include itself in the growth. Sample some of our newest additions and make a break from the Italian and steak.

River
While the interior is completely contemporary, nothing is more of a classic night on the town than trying the latest and greatest on the foodie scene in town. Watch the moonlight dance on the Black Warrior while enjoying their modern cuisine and twists on classic cocktails. Be sure to take home one of their oatmeal pies for a sweet treat after the food coma wears off.

301 Bistro
Under the romantic lights of the giant gasolier, and the renovated grand hall of the L&N Station, you can find “Tuscaloosa fusion” which combines the food culture of the world with the traditions of this southern college town. From Reuben spring rolls to the classic bread pudding it’ll be heaven on a fork for sure.

Side by Side
Come enjoy some modern southern cuisine under the dome of the Embassy Suites in downtown. They offer a selection of some southern staples reimagined with modern tastes to make for a delectable night out in the city.

V-Day

If the weekend doesn’t work because of your schedule or your partner said it’s Valentine’s or bust, there’s still plenty of ways to spice up this Tuesday. From full days worth of excitement to an evening well spent, here’s how to do this holiday right.

The Classic Night

You’re not shaken by the Tuesday date of this year’s night of romance. You’re treating this night like the last Friday of your life, and with that, you’re willing to go out and paint the town red. If none of the classics on the list above sound like your ideal date, here are a few more ideas.

Five Bar
Mood lighting is far from absent inside Five, with their eclectic collection of chandeliers, the setting is ready for romance. Perfect for those indecisive couples with their simple rule of only offering five items each night.

Shoals Kitchen and Bar
Hidden inside the Hotel Indigo lobby, you can find some comfy seating and comfort food waiting for you. Shoals Kitchen might surprise you with its bold flavors and delicious cocktails.

301 Bistro
Yes, it’s a great idea for both the weekend and the day of. Aside from its excellent moody atmosphere of yesteryear, and the modern cuisine flowing out of the kitchen, this year they have an exclusive menu for V-Day featuring appetizers and entrées not seen typically at the bistro.

Carpe Vino
Grab a delicious bottle pinot noir and enjoy the perfect Valentine’s ambiance in Tuscaloosa’s little downtown wine shop. They don’t have food, but you can bring it in from your favorite one and only spot!

 

The Low-Key Night

There aren’t rules and laws for Valentine’s day, and just because a night spent eating overpriced shrimp is customary, doesn’t mean its right for you. Here are some unconventional ways to enjoy the romantic Tuesday

Local Roots
Rooming the Druid City you can find their food truck with their daily updates, or the smell of locally sourced goodness wafting over the air. While everyone waits in line or crowd the hostess, why not skip the whole process and grab a seriously delicious food.

Little Italy
Sometimes all you need to express your love is a lofty slice of pizza. You can find that cheesy delicacy with all its golden goodness in Little Italy. Relax in a warm booth and relieve yourself of having to pretend that goat cheese infused kale actually sounded good for a whole meal with a true pie of love.

Stay in, Taste T-Town

You can get all dressed up, and feel uncomfortable in that suit or dress you haven’t worn since pre-holiday binge eating or slap on some sweats and order in. You’re not in 1990, so don’t feel limited to pizza or Chinese. It’s 2017 and Tuscaloosa has several sites that offer delivery covering all of the best restaurants in town beyond the standard food fare that would normally offer delivery.

Crimson2Go
With the widest offers from DePalma’s to Auntie Annes, you’re hard pressed to not find something you’ve been craving. It allows you to select from any restaurant open when you order so there’s no fighting over what to get if you both want something different!

Waitr
With some cross over on offers like crimson to go, Waitr also covers local and chains.

Since fall of ’15, Tuscaloosa has continued to change and grow. We have seen everything from food trucks, and fine dining, to the rise of another hotel for downtown. Since your last Saturday celebrations here, we have seen our food scene continue to blossom, with exciting new additions on the strip, by the Black Warrior and in downtown. There are so many outstanding new places we have seen open their doors, but these are the ones who stand out the most.

1. River
From the creative genius behind Cypress Inn, comes his latest venture into fine dining with a level of detailing that raises the bar for Tuscaloosa. The food is picture perfect with classic cocktails reimagined for the modern day. The location has excellent views of the river with the interior looking so effortlessly cool.

2. Holler & Dash
Straight out of Birmingham’s Homewood, Holler & Dash have brought an impressive bunch of biscuits to the strip. The fast casual eatery has a flair for style, with combining down-home southern cooking and influences from all over the world. The biscuits can be savory or sweet but go down great with a homemade soda that’s a step above your regular colas.

3. R Davidson’s Chophouse
Anyone can try to cook a steak, the people behind R Davidson’s Chophouse, know how to serve it. Their reputation in town has grown tremendously since they have opened for having some the best steaks, sides and even drinks around. Located in Temerson Square, R Davidson’s Chophouse answers the call for a proper steakhouse in downtown.

4. 301 Bistro & Beer Garden
Tucked along Greensboro in the old L&N Train Station is one of the hottest local spots. The restored space has transformed into a trendy foodie paradise with their inventive play on classic southern food, and German Beer Gardens. They feature German classics like schnitzel and sausage boards alongside Reuben spring rolls. They blend together the past and present to make one delicious meal.

5. Miss Dot’s
On the upper side of the Strip, is a delicious fried chicken. Miss Dots takes the southern staple of fried chicken and adds something extra. They serve some the most addictive and crispy chicken along with house-made sides that are sure to satisfy anyone. It also doesn’t hurt they know to pair sweet tea with that delicious sonic style ice. From the sauces to the darn good pecan pies, you’ll find something to love at Miss Dot’s.