Tuscaloosa is a destination filled with excitement and energy all year long. Opportunities to wine and dine around town continue to expand, so when it comes to searching for best places to eat and drink in Tuscaloosa, your options are plenty. The community offers a wonderful blend of traditional spots featuring some of the best soul food around as well as many eclectic places too. Below we have compiled a list of just a few places to wine and dine the best way we know how in Tuscaloosa.
The Wine Market
This place provides a variety of offerings by the glass including red, white, sparkling, and rosé, which can all be enjoyed on-premise. The owner believes that this business is an opportunity to bring new and exciting possibilities for the wine market family to further the way they serve the community of Tuscaloosa.
This locally owned restaurant offers fine dining outside of the hustle and bustle of downtown. Evangeline’s customers enjoy great company and cocktails, and a very delightful menu too. New American cuisine and wines are artfully presented in a romantic, upscale dining room. This fine dining option is the best place for signature dishes, fresh from the Gulf seafood, and decadent desserts. Reservations can be made on their website as well.
All of the featured fish at this gem comes from their own wholesale market at Harbor Docks. In addition to Gulf seafood, they offer aged, naturally-raised beef – cut in-house, and an award-winning sushi bar, created and managed by renowned chef Yoshie Eddings. If you’re looking for a top-notch dining experience with wonderful food, stellar service, a great atmosphere, and a nice selection of wine, look no further than Chuck’s Fish.
This one-of-a-kind bar focuses on pre-Prohibition and modern classic cocktails in a non-smoking environment. The atmosphere is very relaxing with delightful service. Don’t underestimate these mixologists; they can make the drink of your dreams in just minutes. The entire staff makes for a spectacular experience no matter what time it is. And don’t worry, if you aren’t feeling adventurous the good ole glass of wine never fails.
Are you looking for things to do when it’s raining in Tuscaloosa? You’ve come to the right spot!
1. Tuscaloosa’s Museums
Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum is one of the great museum options that we have in T-Town. Located at Tuscaloosa’s historic Queen City Park along the Black Warrior River, this museum is filled with knowledge and appreciation of our local and regional history and natural resources through exhibits, museum educational programs, and educational outreach efforts. For those interested in extinct animals, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is a perfect place to visit with its ancient fossils and many other exciting things to discover!
Did You Know: The University of Alabama actually oversees five museums in total, including the two mentioned above as well as the Moundville Archeological Park, the Gorgas House Museum, and the Paul W. Bryant Museum.
2. Art Galleries
We have some incredible and diverse art galleries in town that are definitely worth a visit. The Kentuck Art Center in Northport is an all-in-one museum, gallery, and event location. In the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa lies the Paul R. Jones Gallery, the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, Harrison Galleries, and the Tuscaloosa Art Garage (great for the kiddos) – all great spots to explore on a rainy day. If you happen to be in town the first Friday of the month, be sure the check out the First Friday Art Walk, featuring these galleries and more!
3. Coffee Shops
What cozier place could there be to hide from a rainy day than a traditional coffee shop? The smell of coffee and pastries in the air, people reading the newspaper, studying or chatting steadily alongside a laid-back playlist…. sounds perfect to us! Tuscaloosa offers many such magical places. There’s so many to select from, you can’t go wrong. Just to get you started, check Turbo Coffee, Monarch Espresso Bar, Just Love Coffee, Heritage House Coffee & Tea, or Strange Brew Coffeehouse.
Local breweries in Tuscaloosa are the perfect place to spend a gray afternoon among friends and one of America’s favorite drinks: Beer. Druid City Brewing Company, Black Warrior Brewing Company, and Loosa offer great brews and relaxed space to lean back and enjoy an ice-cold one on this dreary day. Looking for a glass of wine? Check out The Wine Market. How about a cocktail? Visit Session Cocktails.
5. Putt Putt Golf, Bowling, Arcade and more
Shindig Family Entertainment Center, Bowlero, and Crux Climbing are all excellent options for rainy days. This venues offer activities such as bowling, laser tag, arcade games, mini-golf, climbing, and a restaurant with a lounge! Forget about your worries and completely immerse yourself in all of the fun that these awesome places have to offer! Coming late 2023 – PopStroke! Soon you’ll be able to eat, drink, and putt next door to The University of Alabama Campus.
6. Tour Historic Homes
Historic Tuscaloosa works hard to preserve several historic homes located around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Tuesday through Saturday, guests can enjoy free tours of The Old Tavern, the Battle-Friedman House, and the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion. Additionally, people can tour the Murphy-Collins House and the McGuire-Strickland House by appointment and for special occasions.
Being on the outside isn’t always such a terrible thing, especially in a beautiful city like Tuscaloosa or Northport. If you’re searching for places to eat or drink outside in Tuscaloosa, you’ve come to the right spot! When you’re spending time with loved ones, eating your favorite snacks, and grabbing a drink or two as you enjoy the wonderful weather, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Check out this list of some favorite patios to immerse yourself in the outdoors with food and drink close at hand.
Loosa Brews – Loosa’s porch game has been stepped up since they opened. It has tons of table and bar style seating. It’s partly shaded, but fully equipped to be your next favorite hangout joint! With 63 beers on tap there’s a beer and a chair for everyone there!
Taco Mama – Taco Mama’s outdoor seating faces out onto University drive so whether you’re there to sunset watch or people watch, there’s a sitting activity for every personality! Not only that, but they serve beer and margaritas. So if you’re not huge on the beer scene, you’ve still got a place on their porch!
R & R Cigars – This particular porch is highly slept on because not many people take advantage of this incredible honey hole! R & R is a remodeled Victorian home with a huge front porch and plenty of comfortable seating to drink a beer, smoke a cigar, and watch your favorite game on tv.
Billy’s Sports Grill Northport – Located in the heart of historic downtown Northport, Billy’s offers great wings, their famous chicken sandwich, burgers, salads, and more! You can enjoy a comfortable and family-friendly atmosphere with the ultimate viewing of your favorite sports. The patio seating is excellent.
Innisfree – Innisfree’s porch is another phenomenal place to kick back and drink a cold one. They have plenty of seating and a whole slew of TVs. With a wide selection of drinks, they have a little something for the whole crew!
And just a few more – because you can’t ever have too many options! Check out Alcove International Tavern, The Houndstooth, Glory Bound Gyro Co., Heat Pizza, Mellow Mushroom, and the many bars and restaurants located within Temerson Square such as Sage Juice Bar & Speakeasy or Avenue Pub.
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!
- Any of Tuscaloosa’s Museums
Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum is one of the great museum options that we have in town. Located at Tuscaloosa’s historic Queen City Park along the Black Warrior River, this museum is filled with knowledge and appreciation of our local and regional history and natural resources through exhibits, museum educational programs, and educational outreach efforts. For the ones who are rather interested in extinct models, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is a perfect place to visit with its ancient fossils and many other exciting things to discover!
- Art Galleries
We have some incredible and diverse art galleries in town that are definitely worth a visit. The Kentuck Art Center in Northport is an all-in-one museum, gallery and event location that is now featuring Good Trouble: Civil Rights Past and Present. In the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa lies another local gem: Paul R. Jones Gallery. Currently the exhibition It’s Like That: Selections from the Collection of Rebecca and Jack Drake is on display. Works for this exhibition were selected by independent curator Paul Barrett!
- Coffee Shops
What cozier place could there be to hide from a rainy day than a traditional coffee shop? The smell of coffee and pastries in the air, people reading the newspaper, studying or chatting steadily alongside a laid-back playlist…. sounds perfect to us! Tuscaloosa offers many such magical places. For example, the local chain Heritage House, Monarch Espresso Bar downtown, or the new kid on the block Just Love Coffee. Choose one and enjoy!
Local breweries in Tuscaloosa are the perfect place to spend a gray afternoon among friends and one of America’s favorite drinks: Beer. Druid City Brewing Company, Black Warrior Brewing Company, and Loosa offer great brews and relaxed space to lean back and enjoy an ice-cold one on this dreary day. These local treasures have the coolest merchandise to brighten up your wardrobe today!
Shindig Family Entertainment Center is another excellent option for rainy days like today. This is your one-stop entertainment center with bowling, laser tag, arcade games, mini-golf, and a restaurant with a lounge! Forget about your worries and completely immerse yourself in all of the family fun that this awesome place has to offer!
Catch a Movie
The museum scene in Tuscaloosa is evergrowing. While it’s rainy outside, you can visit exhibits from art to natural history! The Alabama Museum of Natural History has shown its beauty through exhibitions, collections, and quality programs of teaching, research, and service for over 150 years. The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center has served as a hub for the arts in Tuscaloosa. You can currently observe the newest exhibition, “Eye Music” by Elizabeth Rand Photography. New exhibitions are opening every month so there is no absence of great talent to enjoy!
The best time of year is steadily approaching and it seems that the gift list is growing longer by the second. That’s where we come in to save the day. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some stellar local shops that will make this year’s Christmas shopping a breeze. Not only will this guide save you loads of time, but it’s also a way to show your love and support for the many phenomenal local businesses in Tuscaloosa! Want your favorite shop featured? Send us a direct message and let us know!
For your Brewery Buds…
There is always one kind of gift that gets put to good use with just about every recipient: alcohol. Whether you’re searching for your favorite IPA or a unique kind of wine, we have what you’re looking for in Tuscaloosa! Loosa is a spectacular local bar that offers 63-Taps that you can drink on-premise, or fill up in a growler and take home. They always keep 30 of the freshest draft beers from Alabama breweries plus rare beers from all over on tap. If alcohol isn’t the direction you were thinking, check out their T-shirts, hats, and glassware! Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor a souvenir is always a great little reminder of your experience here in T-Town.
For the Evermoving Explorers…
Although the temperatures are getting lower and lower, it is still important to stay active outside whether it is to exercise or for other sporting purposes! Staying outside and distanced is a safe and healthy way to enjoy activities with friends and family, so for all those outdoorsy companions, check out Woods and Water or Wagner’s. Woods and Water is a store that fills every outdoorsy person’s fantasies, whether for hunting, fishing, or other assorted outdoor activities! A local shoe store, Wagner’s, has another seasonal gift guide for everyone to put a holiday spring in their loved ones’ step this season! Browse through the wide selection of shoes and active outerwear divided into for him, for her, for girls, or for boys sections.
For your Foodie Friends…
Wheww… Where do we even start? To gift a delightful dining experience and incredible Italian cuisine check out the local favorite Depalmas! If a brunch date is more your style, gift your friend with mimosas and a view at River, or with a Southern-styled breakfast at The Waysider. For that unpredictable foodie friend, a Cravings gift card can go a long way. The city’s one-stop-shop for specialty candy, craft beer, wine, dessert, and so much more is located downtown for your convenience.
For the Auspicious Artists…
Bring the artistic wonder of Kentuck Arts Center to family and friends with the power of the Kentuck Festival of the Arts 2020 Virtual Marketplace. This virtual dream come true is available now until December 31st to safely celebrate local artists. With a wide variety of pieces and creations, the Virtual Marketplace is a fabulous way to browse and discover new tastes and trends within the art community all from the safety of your home. Not only is this a safe way to shop, but it also an incredible way to support local artists from around Tuscaloosa and all of West Alabama.
All Fired Up Ceramic Studio offers gift cards for visitors to purchase for their friends and family this upcoming holiday season or year-round for other celebrations! Gifts can come in the shape of gift cards for use at the All Fired Up studio or even take-home kits to move the ceramic fun to enjoy in the safety of your own home! All Fired Up is a delightful spot where you, along with friends or family, can stop by to create and paint your very own pottery creations together. This activity is a relaxing way to both blow off steam and express creativity through shape, color, and design! Visit All Fired Up’s website to learn more about the store and their different gift offerings.
For the Reserved Relaxers…
In the chaos that has been 2020, many people are looking for ways to healthily unwind and enjoy time to themselves or just time in peace and quiet. Tuscaloosa is home to several spots where you can find the gift of “solace” to give to one of your closest companions. Ernest and Hadley offers gift cards, branded gifts, and even store memberships as part of their gift gallery and is sure to provide a thoughtful and easy gift to give a book lover or someone looking to read more heading into the new year. Monarch Espresso Bar is another way to give the gift of peace and quiet by offering gift cards to give to friends and family this holiday season.
1. If savory Lamb Chops topped with Blackberry Reduction and a side of Garlic Mashed Potatoes and sautéed Kale sounds like your dream dinner, then you should definitely include Evangeline’s in your T-Town itinerary. As one of the area’s premier restaurants, this divine treasure provides exceptional service for private intimate dinners, social events, and corporate parties. From a small rehearsal dinner to a lavish party for friends and family, Evangeline’s has the atmosphere to create the ideal experience.
2. Do you consider seafood, steak, & sushi three of your main food groups? If so, then Chuck’s is most definitely calling you. Offering a diverse menu in trendy surrounds with a loft & full bar, this local favorite has a well-earned reputation as a T-Town staple. It is also perfect for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Crowd favorites include the crab cakes, sushi, scallops, and pizza. With attentive service and an unforgettable dining experience, you’ll always leave this happy and stuffed – and ready to come back again.
3. It would be a disservice to Tuscaloosa cuisine to discuss our incredible local dining without including Central Mesa. Established in 2017 by owner Craig Williams, this local treasure offers a Southern twist on traditional Latin-American dishes. The story of the restaurant is built upon a passion for providing fresh, great-tasting food and cocktails. Every dish is prepared in-house from scratch to ensure quality taste. The heart of the restaurant beats to provide a relaxed atmosphere and sense of community, where people can come and enjoy exceptional food and drink.
4. Ignite the creative in you and experience the Dinah Cultural Arts Center’s current exhibit, Stephanie Kirkland: “Windswept: Abstract Landscapes”. This moving collection of acrylic paintings was inspired during a road trip out West, which included hiking through Glacier, Zion, and Grand Canyon national parks. This week’s gallery hours of 1:00 p.m.to 3:00 p.m. offers the last chance to witness this captivating creation firsthand. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it!
5. Kentuck Art Center 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 holiday gifts. The Kentuck Gallery Shop offers an incredible shopping experience either online or in-person!
6. Fall foliage peak is on the horizon and one of the best places to take in the changing season is the Riverwalk. This first-rate paved trail sits along the southern bank of the Black Warrior River near downtown Tuscaloosa and is suited for both walkers and bikers. Along the 4.5-mile trail, there are a variety of (dog-friendly) park areas, benches, gazebos, and trees for hammocks and picnics. The pathway also provides a playground near the Public Library and a splash pad at the Bama Bell dock for the kids. For nighttime walkers, it is well-lit with street lamps along the way.
7. Get a taste of the (tamer) Tide. Take in the jaw-dropping beauty of UA’s campus in its most unique form: somewhat still and tranquil. Casually absorb the captivating architecture and elaborate landscaping that is so easy to take for granted during the football fan frenzy that accompanies one of the greatest dynasties in college football history. It offers another great place to enjoy the fall colors while viewing landmarks such as the President’s Mansion, Denny Chimes, Bryant-Denny Stadium, and historic Foster Auditorium – where Malone-Hood Plaza and the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower celebrate the spot where the University of Alabama was first integrated.
The City of Tuscaloosa has a plethora of activities to do and places to enjoy, but there are a few incredible local gems that are just waiting to be discovered! So, what hidden treasures are the locals not telling you about? We pulled together a list of spots around Tuscaloosa that you may not have heard of and could potentially become a regular part of your rotation! These suggestions range from delicious food and drink destinations to quiet spaces to relax and unwind for a bit.
1. Kentuck Art Center
For those who are looking to explore the fine arts side of Tuscaloosa, the Kentuck Arts Center is a local spot that more people ought to be aware of! Located off-campus in Northport, the Kentuck Art Center is a collection of many different artists and creators exhibiting their work for anyone to see and learn about. Kentuck’s mission is “to perpetuate the arts, engage the community, and empower the artist” and is open all year long for anyone!
2. Catfish Heaven
Named for their delectable catfish offerings, Catfish Heaven is a fish lover’s dream! Fried and prepared fresh daily, Catfish Heaven is a local restaurant that has been serving up savory catfish and irresistible hot wings since 1993. For over 25 years, the brothers that opened Catfish Heaven have been making this delightful and delicious destination in the Historic West End of Tuscaloosa a local favorite! Catfish Heaven’s dining room is currently closed for safety due to COVID-19, but they are still offering take-out orders for anyone looking to expand their list of go-to restaurants in Tuscaloosa!
As a spot filled to the brim with a diverse collection of drinks, beers, wines, and more, Cravings is a must for anyone looking to expand their drink repertoire. In addition to drinks, Cravings is also a good place for a bite to eat! There is an offering of snack foods, deli favorites, and an incredible breakfast offering for everyone to enjoy. Not to mention they serve unbelievable Detroit and Sicilian style pizza that will turn you into a regular customer in no time. Visit Cravings to discover new drink favorites and see if it becomes one of your new go-to spots in Tuscaloosa!
4. Ernest & Hadley’s
Ernest & Hadley’s is a charming local bookstore located a few blocks away from Downtown Tuscaloosa just waiting to be discovered. This bookstore is filled with popular picks, classical favorites, and even highlighted works from local Alabama writers! In addition to being a store, Ernest & Hadley’s regularly hosts events that are open to any and all visitors, so be sure to check online ahead of time for more information. Currently, Ernest & Hadley’s is operating with safety in mind and is allowing only five (5) patrons at a time and even has a curbside pick-up option available for anyone who would prefer not to enter the store!
5. Ruan Thai
Since 1991, Ruan Thai has been serving up fresh and savory authentic Thai food to students and locals alike with their extensive menu of delectable offerings. Ruan Thai offers both a lunch and dinner menu and even has dedicated portions of its menu for its sushi dishes and curry specials. Due to COVID-19, Ruan Thai is currently available through curbside pickup and through the delivery service, Crimson 2 Go. This locally-owned, authentic Thai restaurant is located on the Western end of the Strip and is the perfect local option for authentic Thai food in Tuscaloosa!
6. Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center
The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is a place for fans of fine arts and culture to explore and for everyday adventurers to discover! It is home to a rotating lineup of galleries that exhibit the thought-provoking and insightful power of the mediums of the fine arts. Not only is the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center a delightful spot to immerse yourself in fine arts and culture, but it is also a stop on the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa! In addition to visiting the resident exhibit, this center is an important site to learn the history behind it as it pertains to the City of Tuscaloosa as a whole.
7. Catch 22
If you are looking for a bar to hang out and enjoy outstanding cocktails at the end of a long day, Catch 22 is the place for you. As the home of house drink specialties galore, including pickle-, cucumber-, and even pepperoncini-infused vodka, this bar is known for creating a unique flavor in each creation. Located in Downtown Tuscaloosa on 6th Street, this is a great place for anyone looking to unwind with some boutique cocktails and refreshing favorites! Additionally, Catch 22 has recently extended their outdoor patio to accommodate social distancing requirements and create a safe environment for customers!
8. The Oasis
Located in Cottondale is a restaurant named The Oasis, offering a welcoming and Southern environment with the delicious food to back it up! The Oasis is famously known for its savory burgers and their incredible appetizers, including jalapeńo poppers, fried pickle spears, and fried mushrooms. The Oasis is truly a hidden gem for eating and may soon become one of your regular food spots in town! In order to accommodate the COVID-19 situation, The Oasis is currently only able to offer pick-up orders that can be placed at the restaurant.
9. Innisfree’s Lucky Lunch
I know what you’re thinking. “Everyone knows about Innisfree…”. Although that may be true, many regulars and first-time visitors alike don’t know about the spectacular meat and three meals available from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. With classic options like chicken parmesan, chicken tenders, or country fried steak you can experience irreplaceable southern cooking right in Downtown Tuscaloosa! The meat + three meal also falls under $10, so Innisfree is easy on your bank account, too.
10. Van de Graaff Park
Whether you’re looking for your next nature adventure, picnic spot, or photoshoot set this local treasure has it all. Fish, hike, or camp on the gorgeous acres of Van de Graff with its breathtaking parks and large ponds stocked with freshwater fish! Along the way, you can also find a section of Alabama’s oldest iron bridge crossing over Mill Creek. This local’s secret is nestled in Northport. Revel in nature’s beauty and enjoy some fresh air at Van de Graaff Park.
Written By: Will Baggett
Edited 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
Evangeline’s hit the local restaurant scene by storm, and for good reason! The restaurant is considered to be one of the city’s premier fine dining establishments. Best of all, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports is giving a $50 Evangeline’s gift card to one lucky winner next week on Instagram or Facebook! Join us as we show you everything that Evangeline’s has to offer.
Evangeline’s has a wide selection of dinner options that are sure to satisfy any visitor. The restaurant offers one of the best filet mignons in Tuscaloosa. Served with a garlic-infused potato puree, sautéed broccolini, and jumbo lump crab mornay sauce, the dish is both sophisticated and delicious. If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, try the summer peach salad. A bed of romaine and organic mixed greens is topped with peaches, strawberries, blueberries, candied pecans, goat cheese, and a house-made peach and poppy seed dressing to create this delightful and summery salad. Craving seafood? Evangeline’s has that too! Their phenomenal crab cakes are a must, so much so that al.com included them in 100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die. If you’re looking for a nice dinner in Tuscaloosa, Evangeline’s is one of the perfect places in town!
Evangeline’s also serves dessert to ensure that you finish your meal on a sweet note. There are a few classic options on the menu, including chocolate cake and peanut butter pie, but Evangeline’s offers so much more than classic treats! Lemon sorbet is the perfect option for those looking for something to complement the Tuscaloosa summer heat. There are even a couple of cheesecake options! Try blueberry cheesecake to get that summer feeling that accompanies fresh berries, or choose the praline pecan cheesecake for an irresistibly sweet crunch. No matter what you choose, rest easy knowing that each option is fresh and delicious.
There’s a lot that goes into making Evangeline’s the pinnacle of high class, including its atmosphere and high-quality ingredients. White tablecloths paired with a black ceiling emanate big-city sophistication, while the shot glass votives that sit on each table bring back the warmth that’s expected in southern towns like Tuscaloosa. Make sure you dress up to match that comfortable classiness, whether that means your Sunday best or your finest eveningwear. Keeping with the high-quality vibe, Evangeline’s also uses local produce in all of their dishes. Their fresh fruits and veggies are sourced from Katie Farms in Coker, Alabama. The atmosphere and high-quality dishes at Evangeline’s combine to make something totally unique, making the restaurant a must-visit!
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.