1. The River Walk
Disguised behind all of the commotions of Tuscaloosa lies the scenic River Walk. The 4.5 miles of path that runs directly next to the Black Warrior River serves as an ideal spot for picnics, dog walks, or leisurely strolls. Get out of the house, grab a friend, and go enjoy the view!
2. Dreamland BBQ
If you are from Tuscaloosa, or just Alabama itself, you know about this famous spot. Founded in 1958 by “Big Daddy” John Bishop, Dreamland has been a staple in Tuscaloosa’s food scene, serving communities across the state and even the country. You can still visit the original Dreamland location at 5525 15th Avenue East in Tuscaloosa. Pro Tip: Get the banana pudding.
3. Civil Rights Trail
To understand the rich history of Tuscaloosa’s civil rights history, it is crucial to examine the Civil Rights Trail. Many Alabamians are aware of the civil rights history that surrounds our state, but many might not be aware of the important events that took place in Tuscaloosa. The trail has 18 stops that tell of the extraordinary action that shaped this town forever. Visit https://civilrightstuscaloosa.org/trail/ to print your trail brochure.
Downtown Tuscaloosa has maintained its southern charm over the many years of change. Find a stylish outfit at The Pants Store, indulge in a nice dinner at Depalma’s, or sip on a craft cocktail at Sessions Bar. With dozens of businesses, new and old, its streets offer exciting experiences for everyone!
5. Lake Tuscaloosa
Right smack in the middle of Tuscaloosa you can fish, boat, or lie out with your friends at gorgeous Lake Tuscaloosa. This is the perfect spot for a quick, relaxing day trip with your friends or family. With 117 miles of shoreline, you sure won’t run out of room to play!
6. Crimson Tide Football
Alabama football fans have the honor of being some of the loudest, rowdiest fans in all of college football. To be honest, it’s hard to bite your tongue when your team has won 18 National Championships AND you have a larger stadium than Auburn.
7. The Strip
The Strip. Home to Quick Grill, the Yellow Hammer, and of course, Rounders. College kids love it, locals- well, probably don’t hate it too much. This is truly the place to go if you want that thrilling nightlife experience with a hint of college kid energy. Experience the electric energy on the strip that adds such an exciting element to Tuscaloosa!
8. Nicks in the Sticks
Nothing beats family-owned cooking- especially family-owned SOUTHERN cooking. Nicks in the Sticks has been serving the Tuscaloosa community since 1953 and has gone down in history ever since. Even though the venue is quite small, they dish up big flavors. If you have the chance to go, don’t forget to put a dollar bill on the ceiling!
What’s a good ole southern town without a good taproom? Tuscaloosa is home to 3 craft breweries: Loosa Brews, Druid City Brewing Company, and Black Warrior Brewing Company. New to the Tuscaloosa beer scene is The Grocery Brewpub that is set to open in the next few months!
10. The Immense History
While this one post could be a novel, T-Town has been a historical hotspot for centuries! Once the state capital in 1825, Tuscaloosa has been the home to the Creek Indian tribe and the site of a Civil War standoff. Grab a friend and discover the antiquity of Tuscaloosa throughout the many museums and tours offered throughout the town.
11. Kentuck Art Festival
Nothing screams fall in Tuscaloosa like changing leaves, football, and seasonal festivals. For 49 years, the Kentuck Art Center has been the epicenter of creativity for this community. The Kentuck Festival is filled with great music and art pieces from over 270 inspired creatives. While 2020 put a damper on the previous year’s fun, we are hopeful for the new year and the continuation of the spirit of Kentuck!
12. Tuscaloosa Farmers Market
Shop local, eat local, enjoy local. Supporting the Tuscaloosa community has never been easier thanks to the farmers market’s weekly Saturday appearance! Get your weekend fix of artisan bread, farm-fresh vegetables, and fabulous finds from your local small business owners at the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market- but remember to wear your mask!
13. The People
A deadly virus and a couple of tornados. It will take more than that to rock this town to its core! This community has endured so many hardships throughout the years. Yet still, we emerge stronger than ever and proud of the community we have built together! I could think of 1,000,000 reasons why I love Tuscaloosa, but 15 will have to do justice for now!
Growing up, we all ordered chicken fingers off the kid’s menu- this is probably where our adult obsession with the meal still resides. Fear not, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! Fried chicken fingers are more than a childhood staple, they are a pick-me-up food, a “remind me of home” food, and of course a good option for some after drinks food with your buddies! Have you ever wondered about which chicken fingers in Tuscaloosa hold the ultra-exclusive title of being the best? Well look no further my friends, we have three options here that will make you wonder: Which is worth it?
Guthrie’s – $5.76
Alabama loves Guthrie’s. Like, I mean LOVES Guthrie’s to an unhealthy obsession. Fast-food chicken fingers can be iffy, but Guthrie’s does it right every single time and for only around $5. The golden fried chicken fingers are incredibly tender and have the perfect amount of fried crispiness on the outside. Plus, they have their “secret sauce” which sounds mysterious as always but is sheer perfection. It is not too sweet or too salty and tastes like a mixture of mayo, ketchup, and garlic- which initially doesn’t sound prize-winning, but obviously, they are doing something right if people rant and rave about it! Being around for over 50 years has gained Guthrie’s a notable presence in the whole state of Alabama. Pro tip: The workers in the back make sure you are getting the fried tenders straight out of the fryer, so be extremely careful before biting into one of these, or else you might accidentally hurt yourself. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Hoos Q – $7
Yes, Hoos Q is known for its barbeque but they also have some seriously delicious chicken fingers! The Chicken Finger Plate is served with five hand-breaded tenders and served with their version of a “special sauce”. With 5 large chicken tenders, you will probably have enough to take home! The breaded tenders are juicy and perfectly cooked with a soft, easily tearable inside. Not too greasy, not too dry and the sauce is the perfect additive. This option is slightly more than Guthries, but you do get five big and flakey tenders. Any place with a “special sauce” seems to be a breadwinner so it’s no question why Hoos Q is a contender!
Southern Ale House – $8
Weighing in only slightly more than the other two is Southern Ale House’s chicken tenders. Of course, we are keeping up the theme with hand-breaded yumminess in our blog but there is a twist on these. Southern Ale House buttermilk brines their tenders before frying to add that extra punch of tenderness to the average chicken tender. Can you guess what else these are served with? If you thought of a special sauce, you’re a winner! The “Slap ‘Yo Mamma” sauce is a light tangy take on the average condiment choices. These tenders are perfectly fried, but definitely not dry. If you’re looking for a good crunch to chicken ratio, Southern Ale House might be in your cards!
Quite honestly, we all love chicken and would probably eat chicken fingers on Thanksgiving if it were socially acceptable! All of these restaurants are well known for their takes on classic chicken tenders. Guthrie’s is a long-time classic in the state of Alabama and has a history of serving up good meals and deals. Hoos Q shows us that it’s not all about barbeque and that they can serve up a mean chicken tender basket. Southern Ale House serves up a marinated, crunchy chicken tender that seems to be a fan favorite as well. We know there cannot simply be one “best” of anything in this town, but we are thankful to have so many options within our community!
Agree with any of our three? Let us know! Have a rebuttal? Share with us your top chicken tender spot in Tuscaloosa!
|Thanksgiving||Christmas Eve||Christmas Day|
|Another Broken Egg||Closed||Open||Closed|
|Archibald & Woodrow’s||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Babe’s Doughnut||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Baumhowers Restaurant||Closed||11 – 4||Closed|
|Brick & Spoon||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Broadway Pizzeria||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Buffalo Phil’s Wings||Closed||TBA||TBA|
|Chuck’s Fish||Carry Out Only||Closed||Closed|
|Depalma’s Italian Cafe||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Dreamland BBQ – Northport||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Dreamland BBQ – Tuscaloosa||Closed||til 3 pm||Closed|
|Druid City Social||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Evangeline’s||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Flavaz Seafood & Soulfood||Closed||Closes at 5 pm||Closed|
|Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers||Closed||Close at 4 pm||Closed|
|Full Moon BBQ||Closed||10 – 3||Closed|
|Half Shell Oyster House||Closed||11 – 8||Closed|
|Heat Pizza Bar||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Heritage House||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Hokkaido||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Hoo’s Q and Brew||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Hoo’s Q||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill||Closed||Open Lunch||Closed|
|Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ||Closed||till 3 pm||Closed|
|Just Love Coffee||Closed||Shortened Hours||Closed|
|Legends Bistro||Open||Check back later||Check back later|
|Lookout Rooftop Bar||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Metro Diner||9 – 2||9 – 2||Closed|
|Moe’s Original BBQ||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Monarch Espresso||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Mugshots Grill and Bar||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Peach Pit Bar & Grill||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza||Closed||til 2 pm||Closed|
|R Davidson Chophouse||11 – 8||Closed||Closed|
|Raised on Country||Closed||til 4 pm||Closed|
|Rama Jama’s||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Rock N Roll Sushi||Check Website||Check Website||Check Website|
|Ruan Thai Exotic Thai Cuisine Rest.||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Sage Juice Bar||Closed||Open||Closed|
|Sharks Fish and Chicken||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Shoals Bar and Kitchen||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Side-by-Side||Check Website||Check Website||Check Website|
|Southern Ale House||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Surin of Thailand||Closed||Check back later||Closed|
|Sweet Home Food Bar||Closed||Check back later||Check back later|
|Swen Chinese Restaurant||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Taco Mama||Closed||til 4 pm||Closed|
|The Juicy Crab||11 am – 4 pm||Open||11 am – 4 pm|
|The Waysider||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Turbo Coffee||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Twelve25||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Urban Cookhouse||Closed||Check back later||Closed|
|Veracruz Mexican Grill||Closed||Check back later||Closed|
|VooDoo Wing Company||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Wing Stop||5 pm – 12 am||Closed||Closed|
|World Of Beer||Closed||Check back later||Check back later|
|Zoe’s Kitchen (all locations)||Check Website||Check Website||Check Website|
Fall has arrived, and with it came that familiar crisp autumn air, which means the outdoors are calling our names! See for yourself Tuscaloosa’s breathtaking back yard…and it doesn’t stop there, either. This city’s stunning landscape paired with phenomenal local businesses elevates an already beautiful destination into a MUST-DO Road Trip. Whether you are looking to wind down with an outdoor picnic, take an adventure hiking through the fall foliage, or shop like there’s no tomorrow, let these 10 reasons why Tuscaloosa should be your next weekend getaway guide your planning process. After all, you don’t want the legendary Tuscaloosa Experience to pass you by!
A recent addition to the city’s outstanding coffee shop scene is about to open and we couldn’t be more excited! Just Love Coffee prioritizes that sense of community as a business. The laid-back & relaxed atmosphere that makes Just Love Coffee Cafe so special was created to be different than the stuffy reputation of most specialty coffee shops. Downtown Tuscaloosa is a prime place to shop until you drop. Whether you are looking for your next gameday attire at The Pants Store, or searching for an antique accessory at Twice as Nice, this area is ideal for shopping at a vast variety of places that are all conveniently located!
Offering a serene view of the Black Warrior River, the Riverwalk is also the place to hammock, picnic, or relax! There are numerous picnic tables, benches, and gazebos to provide a comfortable environment, allowing you to get the most out of your experience with the great outdoors of T-Town. Let your mind take a rest from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you are looking to work up a sweat and take advantage of the cooler temperatures, there is also a running path along the Riverwalk to enjoy in the morning or throughout the day. In addition to these activities, the Riverwalk is located close to a number of restaurants to enjoy either at the start or at the end of a delightful Autumn day, like Market House Boutique, Another Broken Egg, and River. Be sure to carry a mask with you for safety if you intend to visit any of the restaurants or businesses on the Riverwalk!
3. Lake Harris
Lake Harris is one of the many nearby lakes that offers an incredible setting for a number of different outdoor activities. There are plenty of picnic areas and a beach, where one might spread out a blanket to enjoy their lunch or simply take in the scene. In addition to these spots, there are a number of trees gathered close by the bank, perfect for setting up a cozy hammock! For those who are looking to stay active, there is a 1.76-mile hike around the lake through the trees. As the weather cools down, this area will become a peaceful gathering place for all who wish to experience some of Tuscaloosa’s many hidden gems.
4. Farmer’s Market
The Tuscaloosa Farmers Market is a spectacular shopping spot where you can find anything from a hand-cut Maple & Walnut Cutting Board to a hand-poured Yellowhammer candle scented Alabama Shores, all within walking distance. Each Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. local vendors of all specialties gather at the Tuscaloosa River Market to show off their wares to the community. If you plan on discovering the market’s incredible vendors this Saturday, wear a mask and be prepared to follow all social distancing guidelines!
5. Children’s Hands-on Museum
CHOM is a wonderful place in town where children explore, create, and discover something new every time they visit. When we say “hands-on” we really mean it! Learning through play is what CHOM’S exhibits are all about, where kids are encouraged to touch, feel, and play in fantastic exhibits. Three floors of fun await with 24 exhibits, offering newborns and 13 year-olds alike an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in fun learning processes.
6. Kentuck Art Center
This local favorite offers a unique view into the minds of the endlessly talented local artists all around Tuscaloosa. From handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry to kitchen pitchers, this gold mine is ideal for a one-stop-shop for all of your holiday gifts. The Kentuck Gallery Shop offers an incredible shopping experience unlike any other online and/or in-person! Also, the 49th Kentuck Festival of the Arts is open NOW until December 31, 2020. With over 180 artist shops specializing in categories like clay, glass, jewelry, mixed media, sculpture, and wood you are bound to find the perfect Christmas present for everyone on your list!
7. Bower’s Park
Bower’s Park is a nearby public park that offers quite a few activity opportunities, like a disc golf course or several fields for rent. Not much different from regular golf, disc golf is an active way to stay busy on a delightful weekend outside! Those looking to get into this sport need to be sure and purchase discs ahead of time, however. As far as a field for rent, Bower’s Park has a number of different fields, baseball/softball or multipurpose, that can be rented out for a small gathering of friends to safely play a pickup game of baseball, softball, and more! Before visiting Bower’s Park, be sure to bring along a mask in case of other visitors.
8. Civil Rights Trail
As temperatures slowly start to drop, it is prime time to spend the day walking around outside and exploring new places. Among the many adventures that await you in town is the Civil Rights Trail, where anyone has the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history and learn about how the Civil Rights Movement shaped the City of Tuscaloosa. Located primarily in Downtown Tuscaloosa, this trail is perfect for staying active and demonstrates a profound learning opportunity for those who are not aware of the history of Tuscaloosa. Thanks to its proximity to Downtown Tuscaloosa, the Civil Rights Trail is also a good opportunity to discover local dining options, such as Reggae Flava and Brummi’s Yummies. For more T-Town treasures along the trail check out the official guide here.
9. Government Plaza
If you are looking for a versatile area that offers wide-open spaces to safely enjoy this city, then the Government Plaza is the spot for you. Located in the heart of downtown, this 5-acre park makes social distancing a breeze. Soak in all of the cozy fall vibes while diving into a good book from Ernest and Hadley, grubbing on delicious Heat pizza, sipping on some Monarch coffee, or maybe even unwinding with your favorite yoga flow. After months on end of being trapped inside now is the time to relax and appreciate nature in all its wonder. If you want your furry friend to tag along, the sidewalks surrounding the park makes for the perfect path for walking with your furry friend.
10. Lake Tuscaloosa
This local hangout has everything you need for an unforgettable lake day with friends and family. Lake Tuscaloosa has earned its reputation as the perfect fishing spot with bass, sunfish, crappie, and more. If fishing isn’t for you, stand on the shore, hike the lake’s cliffs, or simply take in the captivating views! Only a short drive from the city, this lake makes pairing a morning out in nature and Rama Jama’s iconic Southern breakfast unbelievably easy as well. You are bound to have a blast at this local treasure, especially in this beautiful fall weather.
When you’re ready to plan your next road trip to T-Town check out all of the exceptional hotels this city has to offer!
Written by: Jamie Hoven
Lake Tuscaloosa has everything you need for an unforgettable lake day with friends, family, and fluffy companions. This local hangout has certainly earned its reputation as a fantastic fishing spot with bass, sunfish, crappie, and more! If fishing isn’t for you, stand on the shore, hike the lake’s cliffs, or simply take in the captivating views with your pet by your side! Everyone is bound to have a blast in this comfortable cozy weather. Only a short drive from the city, this lake makes pairing a morning out in nature with Rama Jama’s iconic Southern breakfast unbelievably easy. This sport-centric bar & grill serves a variety of American eats, including all-day breakfast, sandwiches & shakes!
Across the river and north of downtown Northport, you’ll find one of PARA’s many phenomenal developments: The Van De Graff Arboretum. This 33-acre beauty has it all, from freshwater ponds and protected swamplands to porch-style swings and a historic bridge over a peaceful creek. This park splendidly showcases the natural southern beauty Tuscaloosians (and their furry friends) admire and cherish. The hidden gem within the park is the reused 1882 King Bowstring Bridge mentioned previously. Once used to cross the Black Warrior, it closed in 1896, slowly becoming forgotten until the park reclaimed it. With surreal views and unforgettable places to explore Van de Graff makes for a picturesque place for your next fall picnic!
Spooky Shopping Spaces
Immerse yourself into your character this weekend by stepping into the past and finding your one-of-a-kind halloweekend costume at some of our incredible, local antique stores! Druid City Vintage opened at the end of last year and already has the potential for an instant T-Town “must-do”. Whether it’s a Jimi Hendrix tee or a Vintage Handheld (and still working) Basketball Game that will put the perfect finishing touch on your Halloween costume, you’re bound to leave this gold mine smiling.
Twice as Nice is another local thrift/consignment shop that blesses this community. This gem has been in business for 20 years in its current location with over 16,000 clients. Specializing in high-end designer clothing, furniture, and antiques this spot is another go-to for finding a creative and unique last-minute costume!
Formidable Football and more Frightening Fall Functions
Para is hosting BOO! in the park this Friday, which is a two-part spooky extravaganza including Trick or Treat Trails and a Halloween Double Feature! Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and round up the whole family for this night of fun! Hotel Transylvania will begin at 6:30 pm and Hocus Pocus will begin at 8:30 pm. Social distancing will be enforced, please wear your mask. Enter through the Sokol Park entrance off of Ol’ Colony Road. Gates open at 5:30. Food trucks and concessions available.
BeWEAR of the $100 Surprise Giveaway we’ve been cooking up. Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports has teamed up with FIVE bar to raise Mask Awearness AND make your Friday even better! Our red SUV (with our logo on it, you can’t miss it) will be parked in front of this local favorite at 5:30 pm tomorrow wearing, you guessed it, a face mask! Follow the instructions displayed on the windshield for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card to FIVE! You can go ahead and solidify the plans you made to kick off the weekend early with drinks and grub right after work. Enjoy fine dining and shoot your shot for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card to an iconic Tuscaloosa restaurant!
Don’t stop the fun after FIVE because Twelve25 will be hosting a Fright Night Halloween Costume Competition this Friday! Wear your iconic costume for a chance to win $50, $100, or $200 AND VIP access for 8! This is an adult Halloween celebration you definitely don’t want to miss, starting at 8 pm. World of Beer is also having several specials starting TONIGHT exclusively for this Halloweekend.
Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Get your Terrifying Tide Pride on for Saturday night at 6 pm as the Crimson Tide faces the Bulldogs! Hoop, holler and have a full-out hoot cheering on the Bama Family this weekend. For everyone’s safety, many updates have been made for the 2020 season. Head to The University of Alabama’s 2020 Gameday Information Page for all the details. If you are looking for more updates regarding the Alabama Crimson Tide Game Day Experience read the article here!
This Halloweekend be smart, wear a mask, and enjoy Rolling with the Tide!
**Masks and social distancing required for ALL events.
Written by: Jamie Hoven
As the school year starts back up in Tuscaloosa, we are excited to be welcoming students back to town! A few things have changed around town since school last left off, so we wanted to share a list of must-visit food stops and businesses around town. There are dozens of local businesses and restaurants around Tuscaloosa just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed, and there’s no better time like the present to be adventurous and experience new offerings! The following list of experiences ranges from familiar favorites in new locations, new spots to check out, and a variety of places that are perfect to enjoy on a daily basis!
The ever-popular Local Roots food truck has transitioned into its own brick and mortar restaurant location on North McFarland Boulevard and is prepared to deliver the same mouth-watering dishes that students have come to expect from the food truck window, plus more! If you have not yet eaten at Local Roots, be sure to swing by to discover the many decadent menu items offered, featuring a variety of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
Sage Bar is the perfect spot to relax or share a meal and drinks with some friends while taking time off from your daily routine! This bar doubles as both a juice bar and a speakeasy to keep you calm, focused, and relaxed all the way through your day. Whether it is early-morning brain food, brunch and lunch bites, or an evening cocktail, Sage Bar has the answer. Sage Bar is located on 4th Street in Downtown Tuscaloosa.
Another popular food truck has also found its way into its own restaurant: Reggae Flava! Reggae Flava is a veteran-owned business that offers traditional Jamaican dishes that are sure to make your taste buds dance with delight. The Reggae Flava menu is filled with Caribbean dishes that are both delicious and can satisfy anyone’s comfort food needs. Now that Reggae Flava has moved into its own location in Timmerson Square, this spot is a great place for people to be adventurous with their food choices and experience the many flavors of Jamaican cuisine!
For fans of farmer’s markets and those who do their best to use locally-grown produce, Ingram Farms is a delightful place to visit and look around. Doubling as an ice cream shop selling Blue Bell Ice Cream and locally-flavored ice cream, Ingram Farms is a wonderful place for students to support a local business of the Tuscaloosa area! Ingram Farms is a family-owned and operated business in Northport and has been selling produce and ice cream to the local residents of Tuscaloosa and Northport for years.
Jackie of All Trades is a Furniture and Design Store located in a new spot on Rice Mine Road, where a person can come to find the experts at furnishing a new apartment, a new home, or a reimagining of either! The owner, Jackie, and her team of designers love to work with clients to bring to life new ideas and designs for home customization. If you are in need of a big redesign or looking to shake things up, visit the Jackie of All Trades showroom to dive into the full design experience!
Foosackly’s a new fast food addition to the City of Tuscaloosa, located on 15th Street. This chicken-centric restaurant is a staple throughout the state of Alabama and has caused quite a craze since opening its new location in Tuscaloosa over the summer. Fans of fresh chicken tenders, house-made sauces, and freshly brewed sweet tea must swing by Foosackly’s to get to know one of the newest fast-food spots in town!
Shindig is the go-to all-in-one party spot, with its offering of bowling, arcade games, laser tag, blacklight mini-golf, and a restaurant/lounge. If you are in need of blowing off steam with your friends, Shindig is the place to be for any and all the above reasons! Weekly and Seasonal specials are offered as well, including Night Owl Bowling (late night bowling), multi-game offerings of laser tag, and even 3-D mini golf. Be sure to check the Shindig website for hours of operation and enjoy an exciting evening of fun!
Looking for a homemade ice cream shop with an exciting and surprising twist? Las Piñas is a family-owned ice cream shop located off McFarland Boulevard, specializing in a unique twist of traditional American and Mexican flavors in its ice cream. Everything made in this shop from the ice cream to the special frozen treats is 100% homemade and 100% delicious! Las Piñas offers a refreshing change of taste with the care of a homemade treat for everyone to enjoy!
Mi Casita Bakery is a local bakery that bakes delicious treats that will be sure to satisfy any sweet tooth’s sugar craving! Whether it is mouth-watering cheesecake, fresh bread, or even authentic Italian tiramisu, Mi Casita Bakery is a great way to celebrate all different occasions or to simply provide a much-needed cheat day for anyone looking for sweet comfort food. Mi Casita bakery is located off McFarland Road on Hargrove Road.
The Biscuit Shop Co. isn’t just your everyday breakfast spot. This breakfast spot is a locally-owned and operated spot that offers a delectable variety of both sweet and savory biscuits and treats to start the day off right! At The Biscuit Shop Co., you can expect coffee and other drinks, a daily menu full of all your favorites, specialty biscuits that change twice a month, breakfast sandwiches to eat on the go! The Biscuit Shop Co. is located in Northport and is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to mix up their breakfast routine or looking for a spot to relax and start off the day with a calm bite to eat.
As the semester keeps rolling, more and more businesses will begin to either reopen or open their doors for the first time ever. We have pulled together a list of a few spots to look out for around town so you can be one of the first back or the first to try them out! This list includes a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, a hearty barbeque joint, and exciting new places to unwind and enjoy a drink with friends.
- Druid City Music Hall Grand Reopening
- Golden Rule Barbeque – previously Mooyah
- Just Love Coffee – previously O’Henry’s
- Central Wine Market – previously Carpé Vino
- Druid City Social – previously 301 Bistro
Written by: Will Baggett
Although Tuscaloosa is a predominately southern town with southern food, you have to stop by and try the toasted pork roll and ham New York-style bagels from Cravings! If you have more a sweet tooth, Cravings also has a variety of specialty candies and chocolates! Stock up on some traditional licorice chews or try something unique like the Turkish Taffy or Kinder Bueno Bar.
Pick up some of Tuscaloosa’s best comfort food from King’s Kitchen for a picnic that feels like homemade cooking. Located on Hargrove Rd, King’s Kitchen has it all; from burgers and sandwiches to fried chicken plates with every side dish you could imagine!
Catch A Taste
For a quirky and unique picnic, stop by the Catch A Taste food truck for all things wings and hot dogs. Many customers recommend the polish dog or one of the many wing flavor combinations ranging from sweet and spicy to bring the heat temperatures!
Wilson 5 Café
Visit the Wilson 5 Café food truck to enjoy some loaded appetizers for the whole family! If you’re in the mood for some festival food, try the funnel cake smothered in strawberries, powdered sugar, and whipped cream. Regulars also insist you try the covered nachos with meat options consisting of pulled pork, sausage, or ground beef. The café’s food truck locations and hours can be found here with other menu items and prices.
Flavaz Soul Food & Seafood Restaurant
Flavaz Soul Food & Seafood Restaurant brings the sea to you with fresh homemade shrimp, lobster, and an array of fish with multiple plate combinations! With multiple takeout options available, this restaurant is the perfect way to picnic by the water with high-quality food for a low price.
Sit and stay awhile at one of the picnic tables at Monnish Park one summer evening to enjoy both your food and company! No need to worry, the park also has electricity, restrooms, and even a grill if you want to do your own cooking for a homemade picnic. The park includes rentable facilities, covered sitting areas, and a playground for the kids to create the perfect picnic ambiance.
Annette M. Shelby Park Trail
Break out that picnic blanket and settle down along the Annette M. Shelby Park Trail for a serene and unpopulated picnic. Located on 15th street, the trail stretches for a mile with paved roads and lush grass throughout the area. The park also houses a giant water fountain adored by children and animals alike.
Black Warrior River
Park and enjoy the scenery of the Black Warrior River that stretches along Jack Warner Parkway near the University of Alabama campus. With many views available, one can enjoy their food on a park bench at Manderson Landing or on the lawn bordering the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Enjoying a delicious meal and viewing the sunset on the Black Warrior is what Tuscaloosa is all about, and there’s no better place to appreciate the breathtaking views of a southern summer sunset.
Van de Graaf Park
Located only a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport, Van de Graaf Park is the perfect place to have a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors! The park has a covered area to enjoy your meal, or feel free to walk along the park’s trails to discover your own perfect spot! Van de Graaf Park also offers a variety of other amenities to make the most of your day, including overnight camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. No matter the activity, make sure you take in the park’s natural beauty and its famous King Bowstring Bridge!
Lake Lurleen is one of Tuscaloosa’s best destinations to combine recreation with relaxation. If you’re looking to have a picnic, the park offers designated picnic areas and pavilions for you to enjoy your food! If you’re in the mood to be adventurous, try fishing, camping, hiking, or boating with one of the park’s on-site boat rentals. Whether you’re looking to be leisurely or get active, Lake Lurleen has it all!
Besides these restaurants and locations, Tuscaloosa has so much more to offer when finding your perfect picnic adventure. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll always find a relaxing and enjoyable summer evening when shopping and exploring around local Tuscaloosa!
Black Belt Adventures recently created a weekend tour of Alabama’s Black Belt, showcasing the region’s best eateries, pit stops, and local goods. The Flavors of the Black Belt Adventure of course passes through Tuscaloosa, stopping by some of the city’s best restaurants and unique locations along the way. To see what made the cut and to take your own adventure through Tuscaloosa, follow along with us!
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ began serving the Tuscaloosa community from a small cinderblock building in 1962. Three generations later, the restaurant is known across the country for serving some of the best barbecue and ribs that the South has to offer. Archibald and Woodrow’s barbecued ribs, pork, and chicken are known for their trademark hickory-smoked flavor, and their house-made sides and sauces complement each item perfectly. If you’re looking for authentic Southern barbecue in Tuscaloosa, give Archibald and Woodrow’s a try!
Avenue Pub has been serving refined pub classics and a variety of craft beers to the Tuscaloosa community since 2014. Dishes like fish and chips and fried green tomato BLTs are made in-house with locally sourced ingredients, creating simple but memorable dishes. Make sure you try one of their local beer options while you’re there! The restaurant’s laid-back atmosphere creates a sense of community with every guest, making Avenue Pub the perfect place to visit for a casual and welcoming dining experience.
In 2017, Central Mesa began serving authentic Latin American food with a Southern twist in downtown Tuscaloosa. From hot chicken tacos inspired by the classic Nashville dish to beer-battered cod tacos that are straight from the Atlantic Ocean, Central Mesa offers one of the city’s most unique menus. The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh and delicious dishes alongside clean cocktails in a laid back atmosphere. If you’re looking for a unique fusion dining experience, Central Mesa is the place to be!
Chuck’s Fish opened in downtown Tuscaloosa in 2006 with the intention of showing off the best seafood that the Gulf of Mexico has to offer. The restaurant is named in honor of UA graduate Chuck Morgan, a civil rights attorney who fought against racial inequality during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with freshly harvested seafood, Chuck’s Fish also offers naturally-raised beef and an award-winning sushi bar. If you’re looking for a high-quality dining experience with a great atmosphere, look no further than Chuck’s Fish!
Depalma’s is Tuscaloosa’s premier destination for Italian cuisine that is both authentic and delicious. Since 1995, Depalma’s has been serving pastas, pizzas, calzones, and other entrees to locals and visitors alike. They also offer a wide drink selection as well as desserts, including Depalma’s famous white chocolate bread pudding. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere coupled with its prime location in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa makes it a must-try during your next visit!
Since 1958, Dreamland BBQ has been serving hickory-fired ribs and other barbecued favorites to the Tuscaloosa area. Over the years, Dreamland has become one of the most celebrated barbeque restaurants in the South. While they’re known for their iconic ribs, white bread, and sauce combination, Dreamland also serves barbeque sandwiches, smoked sausages, half chickens, and more! Check their online menu for availability at each location, and keep Dreamland in mind the next time you’re craving barbeque!
Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, River is Tuscaloosa’s top destination for urban dining with beautiful views. Since 2016, River has been serving tender steaks, savory flatbreads, specialty oysters, and more to the Tuscaloosa community. River prides itself on its great food and personal service, and its spacious dining terrace makes the perfect backdrop for a refined dining experience. If you’re looking for fine dining with beautiful riverfront views, choose River!
Along the Way
Besides some of the best dining in the South, Tuscaloosa also has some great sights and spots to visit! The Alabama Museum of Natural History has been celebrating the state’s natural history through exhibits, teaching programs, and service for over 150 years. While on The University of Alabama’s campus, stop by the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum to learn more about the campus’s famous football history. See some of the program’s most memorable moments displayed through state-of-the-art exhibits. To satisfy your artsy side, visit the Kentuck Art Center to learn more about the creativity of the Tuscaloosa community or enjoy one of their year-round programs. Round off your tour around Tuscaloosa with a drink at Black Warrior Brewing Company, which offers a large variety of craft beers and wines that are made in-house.
Black Belt Adventures’ many trails focus on the food, drinks, stays, and sights you’ll encounter on your trip, and shopping lists tell what local goodies you’ll want to pick up along the way. While on your adventure, make sure to enter Black Belt Adventures’ Feed Your Adventure Photo Contest! Simply snap a photo along one of their trails and upload your photo to their website. More information can be found on their website’s Flavors Photo Contest page. View the full brochure here and happy trails!
Tuscaloosa is one of those cities where going with the flow is just as fun as strategically planning out your day. From local restaurants and small shops to beautiful outdoor spaces, there’s so much to explore. No matter where you decide to stop along the way, you’ll love where the journey takes you! See what this city has to offer on your exciting and eventful experience through Tuscaloosa!
Shop ‘till you drop
Effie’s Inc. is a women’s contemporary clothing boutique located in downtown Tuscaloosa. Effie’s carries the latest trends for every style and age, including jumpsuits, tops, shoes, jewelry, and so much more. They pride themselves on their one-on-one customer service, and for good reason! Customers constantly rave about the boutique’s spectacular selection of clothing and incredibly friendly staff members. Stop by Effie’s on Queen City Avenue today and pick up something that’s sure to be stylish!
Kentuck Gallery Shop
If you’re looking to spruce up any space this summer to find that “it” factor, look no further than Kentuck Gallery Shop! The Kentuck Art Center is a local treasure that has added such value to our community for over 45 years, and they don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. You can find one of a kind mugs, jewelry, platters, paintings, and so much more on their user-friendly site. To experience the full magic of Kentuck check out their virtual exhibition to showcase how artists are bringing joy in the midst of uncertainty. To support the future of Kentuck culture, despite the recent cancellation of this year’s festival, you can go here to donate to the Festival Forever Fund.
Imagine a quaint café mixed with a pizzeria, bar, and an ice-cream shop. Well, this place exists and it’s called Cravings. Whether it be chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, a mix and match six-pack of your favorite craft beer, or a Mexican Coca Cola, something is bound to be calling your name while browsing this local gem. No matter what age you are, Cravings has the perfect little treat for kids and adults alike. For example, kids absolutely love the unique sodas and vintage candies while the parents tend to lean toward the vast selection of beer and wine.
Flavaz Seafood & Soul Food Restaurant
Tuscaloosa is perhaps one of the best cities to experience the southern, satisfying soul food. Flavaz Seafood and Soul Food Restaurant is a prime example of our city representing southern hospitality in its truest sense. Customers can’t decide which is better here: the phenomenal food or the unbelievable customer service. When you come by to see what all the fuss is about, expect to be greeted with a smiling face as soon as you come in the door. The welcoming atmosphere combined with the enormous and authentic flavor in every bite makes this establishment a local staple no doubt.
Depalma’s is one of the best places in Tuscaloosa for authentic Italian favorites. Located in downtown Tuscaloosa, the restaurant is known for its cozy atmosphere and incredible dishes like pasta Pomodoro, veal marsala, and hand-crafted pizzas and calzones. Depalma’s also offers a wide selection of wines by the glass or bottle as well as beers and cocktails. Depalma’s is a favorite of locals, so stop by on University Boulevard and see what all the talk is about!
Dreamland BBQ has been a staple of the Tuscaloosa restaurant scene since 1958. Since then, Dreamland has established itself as one of the best barbecue restaurants in the state of Alabama, not to mention the city of Tuscaloosa. Along with their popular barbecue favorites, they offer smoked items including half chickens and sausage. Pick up an order of their famous ribs, white bread, and BBQ sauce from their 15th Street location in Tuscaloosa today and try what’s been the talk of the state for over 60 years!
Enjoy the great outdoors this summer at a local hidden treasure in town, Sokol Park! They have plenty of amenities for visitors to enjoy, including multipurpose playing fields, a playground, and a dog park. With over 11 miles of trails, there’s also plenty of space to hike or jog. Picnic in the grass, follow the trails, or play some soccer on the fields. If you’re interested in enjoying the great outdoors, Sokol Park might just be the perfect getaway for you!
Established in 2014, Loosa Brews is a bar and specialty retailer for quality craft beer and wine. Loosa always keeps 30 of the freshest draft beers from Alabama breweries plus rare beers from all over on tap. Their cozy atmosphere makes enjoying a pint and shopping their extensive selection an enjoyable experience. While at Loosa Brews, be sure you check out their wide assortment of vintage arcade and pinball machines including Ghostbusters, Aerosmith, and Guardians of the Galaxy!
Looking for an all-encompassing entertainment experience for families, friends, or those just looking to have a little fun? Shindig, located on McFarland Blvd E, is one of Tuscaloosa’s newest additions! The possibilities are endless at this place, with 28 bowling lanes, putt-putt golf, laser tag, axe throwing, arcade machines, and a stage for live music. There is also a restaurant with a lounge to sit back, relax, and recharge.
Out and About
Grand Slam Baseball Tournament: If you’re in the mood to enjoy America’s favorite pastime, look no further than the 2020 Grand Slam Baseball Tournament being held right here in Tuscaloosa! The 7U & 8U division is Saturday only, while the 9U to 12U division is a two-day tournament. Masks must be worn at the tournament, and social distancing rules will be enforced.
Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society Virtual Tours: If you aren’t comfortable leaving the house, there are plenty of entertaining things to do virtually from the comfort of your home! Tuscaloosa has quite a few historic buildings, and it’s easy to see them all with the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society’s virtual tours! See the Battle-Friedman House, the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion, or The Old Tavern from the comfort of your home this weekend.
Cardinal Park: Cardinal Park is located a short drive from the heart of Tuscaloosa along Airport Road. The park offers grills and a playground for the kids to enjoy, and if you’re lucky, you may see planes or helicopters take off from the local airport! Visitors report that the park is clean and safe, so stop by this weekend and enjoy everything that Cardinal Park has to offer!
Eat and Enjoy
Thomas Rib Shack: Thomas Rib Shack is known for serving some of the best soul food in Tuscaloosa! The restaurant serves hearty and healthy southern dishes, including Southern favorites like fried chicken, barbeque pork, and ribs. Thomas Rib Shack is known for its reasonable prices, phenomenal service, and delicious food. Stop in and grab a plate, or order take out if you’re looking to stay in this weekend!
The Brown Bag: If you’re looking for home-style cooking, The Brown Bag is the place to be! With catfish, barbeque, a variety of vegetable side dishes, and an assortment of desserts on the menu, you’re sure to find something to enjoy. Customers have sung their praises for The Brown Bag online, so be sure to stop in or place a to-go order this weekend to see what all the fuss is about!
Broadway Pizzeria: One of Tuscaloosa’s most iconic local pizza spots is Broadway Pizzeria. The restaurant was started by two best friends and has been serving wood-fired pizzas, hoagies, calzones, wings, and pasta to the Tuscaloosa community since 2002. Broadway Pizzeria is open for both dine-in and takeout, so place an order this weekend and enjoy your pizza wherever you’d like!
Mary’s Cakes and Pastries: Mary’s Cakes and Pastries is a specialty bakery that bakes unique cakes for weddings, birthdays, showers, and other celebrations. Mary’s Cakes also offers cookies, pastries, beverages, and a daily $5 lunch special. Most of their cakes are made to order, but there are some available for last-minute celebrations or when you just want cake. Order curbside pickup from Mary’s Cakes and Pastries in downtown Northport this weekend!
Steel City Pops: There’s nothing better than cooling off with a popsicle on a hot summer day! Steel City Pops specializes in making gourmet popsicles out of high-quality ingredients. Their small-batch recipes include three different kinds of pops: cookie, creamy, and fruity. Stop by the shop located on University Boulevard in downtown Tuscaloosa this weekend and pick up a gourmet treat!
Insomnia Cookies: Insomnia Cookies is a favorite of college students and local sweet friends alike. They specialize in delivering warm, delicious cookies right to the doors of individuals and companies alike. Their offerings include chocolate chunk, double chocolate mint, snickerdoodle, and so much more. And don’t worry, they’re open until 3 a.m. in case that late-night craving strikes! Insomnia Cookies is located on The Strip, but delivery is also available.
Our great state of Alabama is home to several icons, with the invention of white sauce at Big Bob Gibson’s, to the array of infamous ribs that continue to prove our place in the world of Barbeque. Tuscaloosa has more than their fair share of BBQ legends in town, with iconic institutions that have continued the proud tradition of Alabama BBQ being some of the best in the world. From the dynamic decade of the 60s to the decadent 80s, the druid city has hosted several wizards of the BBQ pit.
John “Big Daddy” Bishop grew up in a turbulent time for the south but came to rise from his job as a cement finisher to the face of his own dream. There was a brief moment where his iconic institution wouldn’t have existed, as he debated on how to provide better for his family with either his restaurant dream or opening a mortuary. Luckily one night, the legend goes; he dreamed about running a restaurant and never could get the dream out of his mind. He then opened up Dreamland the same year Paul Bryant started his coaching career at Alabama. Originally he served classic American staples like burgers but found he had a talent with barbecue. His success leads to the other items being removed from his menu and focused on his ribs. The crowd would grow with a racial diversity in a time where there was plenty of division. Students from the University of Alabama in town would mix in with the black residents who first came to dreamland. Leading to its city-wide popularity. It wasn’t just excellent ribs people came back for, Big Daddy ensured his customers felt like family at his establishment by encouraging his staff and family who worked beside him to create a welcoming atmosphere. People. This combination of legendary ribs and excellent service allowed his dream to grow beyond city limits. Today his success has lead to a franchise that extends across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Dreamland continues to grow, with his friendly face gracing the logo of their rib empire.
Tuscaloosa spot on the BBQ map wouldn’t have happened if the Archibald family didn’t open across the Black Warrior in Northport for business. Today, they have several locations around town, but the original house of ribs history starts back in 1962. The husband and wife duo of George and Betty Archibald quit their jobs and along with their son George Jr. opened the BBQ joint. While its location was hard to find at first, many were determined to find the source of the scented hickory smoke. Once inside people were greeted with a small menu packed with flavor with pork shoulder and slabs of ribs alongside white bread and the potato chip of the south, Golden Flake. The tiny house only offers three seats at the counter, six in a small dining room, but plenty of picnic tables to enjoy the long warm Alabama days outside. Archibald’s iconic status in Tuscaloosa wouldn’t be complete without a tie to the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Considered to be one of his favorite spots to eat, many more people have since followed the coaches footsteps to find its hardly changed since his era. Today, the success of the Archibald family has grown into three other locations under the name Archibald & Woodrow’s BBQ, and serves the classic ribs, alongside wings, pulled pork sandwiches, and several sides. The sweet hickory smoke now wafts across the city, but its source will always be the charming little house that is packed with over 50 years of a well-smoked pit and some of the best ribs of the south.
The established barbecue scene around town had become well understood by the 80s, with Dreamland growing and Archibald’s smoke wafting over the city, locals and tourists alike came to understand the flavor found in the college town along the Black Warrior. Three university students, from Athens, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa became close friends united in their love of southern cuisine and culture. It was in 88’ the boys met Moses Day to learn the ways of fire roasting meat. Moses had a pit set up in his backyard that grew to be well known around town. The boys would leave their southern state for the Rockies in Vail Colorado to refine their cooking skills. Eventually opening up something they came to find was lacking in the mountainside state. They boys would use the skills and pit mastery they learned from Moses to open up Moe’s Original BBQ bringing Alabama style barbecue to the North. Their popularity allowed them to come back to Bama with locations across the state, and eventually to the place where it all started. Opening their Tuscaloosa location in 2010, nine years since they began their own dream of contributing to the legacy of barbecue in Alabama.
Today, any visitor to this college town can find more than enough barbecue to satisfy their savory desires. From local legends and icons to the city’s ability to inspire the future generation of pit masters to a national level of success, it’s easy to see why we are well marked on any BBQ map.