With summer fast approaching and Tuscaloosa’s businesses returning to a sense of normalcy (but safely, of course!), we are thrilled to get out and about with our friends and family. It feels like it’s been a long time coming. And, it just so happens that yesterday was National Wine Day, so what other way to celebrate than wining and dining at some of the eclectic places we have around town. Below we have compiled a list of 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.
Druid City Social
This local favorite has great food and awesome drinks (yes, including wine) that make for a good time! This Gastropub is located in downtown Tuscaloosa and has a beautiful Beer Garden as well as additional outdoor seating. Their food is fresh, the burgers and steaks are Certified Angus Beef, and all of the soups, sauces, and dressings are made in-house!
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.
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!
- Jon Langston’s Bird Dog Tour is stopping in Tuscaloosa this weekend! Langston will be performing at Druid City Music Hall at 8 p.m. Don’t miss the chance to see this country musician live, you can get tickets here.
- There is a speed dating fundraiser for singles 25 and over at LynCar Events, and Designs starting at 8 p.m. Meet, chat, and find your match on Valentine’s Day. The event includes hors d ‘oeuvres, wine, and desserts. Proceeds raised will fund scholarships for Rolling into Success, Inc.
- The Alabama Gymnastics takes on Arkansas at 5:45 p.m. The theme is 80’s night, so be sure to dress for the occasion. The gymnastics team is also doing a sweatband, fanny pack, and t-shirt giveaway.
- The Alabama Men’s Basketball team takes on LSU at Coleman Coliseum at 4 p.m. Cheer on the Crimson Tide as they take on the number two team in the SEC.
- The Brook and Bluff, Nashville-based band will be performing at Druid City Music Hall at 8 p.m. This band has quickly become recognized for its evocative blend of vocal harmony, soulful air, and groovitational pull. Get your tickets here.
- Monarch Espresso Bar is hosting a coffee tasting lab from 3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. Taste different kinds of coffee and learn how to identify different flavor notes, so you can know exactly what type of coffee you like.
- ‘Reach for the Stars’ is happening all day at the Children’s Hands-on Museum. Kids can enjoy planetarium shows, space crafts, and an asteroid launch.
- Mary’s Cakes and Pastries is having a Cookie Throwdown with the theme “Where the Wild Things Are.” The book, “Where the Wild Things Are” will be read at 1:15 p.m., baking and decorating cookies begins at 1:30 p.m., and judging will start at 2:45. There will be winners in various age categories from “5 and under” to “adult.” The first cookie is free to decorate, but if you want more to practice on, they are $1 each.
- The University of Alabama Theatre and Dance presents Mr. Universe this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Allen Bales Theatre. This play allows the audience to ask the difficult questions about truth and lies, perspective and perception, and the character’s mysterious motivations. This play takes place in New Orleans with a drag queen and a bloody stranger after a wild night.
- The play, Inherit the Wind, is happening Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Tuscaloosa. This play I based on the events of the Scopes Monkey Trials, Inherit the Wind pits two lawyers against one another as the state prosecutes a teacher for discussing the theory of evolution in the classroom.
- Urine Town is performing at ACT studio theatre this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. This play demonstrates what it could be like in 20 years when there is a water shortage. Find out if people follow the laws or revolt against them.
The Strip along University Blvd is home to so many classic collegiate icons. From locally made cocktails to some of the best burgers and wings in the South, you’re not going to find anywhere that embodies the spirit of college quite like the Strip does. One of its landmarks comes at the corner of University and Campus Drive, is Buffalo Phil’s. This ivy-covered brick lodge for some of the best wings in the world was founded in 1980. Phillip Weaver came to the University of Alabama with a deli and convenience store on campus but wasn’t satisfied with going to class and overseeing his business. He searched for something different to bring to the table at his future quick service restaurant. Eventually, he found Buffalo wings to be severely lacking in the South and decided to concoct his own unique hot sauces for fresh cut chicken wings. It was in 1980 he opened Wings& Things. While traditional southerners weren’t used to actually eating the wings of a chicken, as they saw them as the least desirable part. It was through sampling his delicious product to local businesses and students on campus that Wings & Things quickly became a popular place. The Uniqueness of his wings alongside staples like curly fries and a cornucopia of deliciousness alongside a variety of beers proved to his place on the strip. It was in 1992 that Wings & Things became called Buffalo Phil’s as to offer a trademark for Weaver’s success. Today you’ll find a welcoming college staple that comes offering the “Best Wings in the World.