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!

Business
2020
Thanksgiving Christmas Eve Christmas Day
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PETrifying Places

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!

 

Local Roots 

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

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.

 

Reggae Flava

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!

 

Ingram Farms

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

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

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

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!

 

Las Piñas 

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

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.

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.

 

Coming Soon

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.

 

 

 

Written by: Will Baggett

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.

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.

Cravings

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.

Eat

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

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

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!

Play

Sokol Park

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!

Loosa Brews

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!

Shindig

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.

The Fourth of July is (almost) here! Time to enjoy the long weekend of burgers and hot dogs on the grill, sunshine, music, boats, fireworks, bonfires, friends, and family! While this year may look a little different, this holiday can provide some much-needed relaxation from the mental stresses of daily, routine life, especially in 2020. Not sure how to spend your weekend in the one and only Tuscaloosa? No worries, we have gathered some ideas below to help you make the most of Independence Day weekend.

 

Sparks Fly

It wouldn’t be a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks, and the City of Tuscaloosa is putting on a show that is viewable from downtown at 9 p.m. this Saturday! Free parking is available for all viewers at the Tuscaloosa amphitheater and the Intermodal Facility parking deck. Be sure to tune in to local Tuscaloosa radio stations to listen to live music accompanying the spectacular show. The Tuscaloosa fire department urges leaving the performances to professionals.

 

Wide Open Spaces

Another major component of celebrating the Fourth is basking in the glorious summer sun. Tuscaloosa is the perfect place to relax in the great outdoors with so many beautiful lakes, rivers, and parks. Lake Tuscaloosa has everything you need for a traditional family lake day, whether you boat, fish, or swim. You and the entire family are bound to have an unforgettable Fourth celebration at this local hangout. Another option is Lake Nicol, a man-made lake with a slew of trails that meander to captivating Cliffside views. These ledges make for a perfect spot to get away from it all in under a 15-min drive. Take in the picturesque waters on a paddleboard or admire the serene views while hiking in one of the most secluded and naturally beautiful places in the city.

 

Picnic Like a Pro

If you aren’t up for this adventure, pack a bag and enjoy a picnic on the captivating campus of The University of Alabama! Waitr also has offered a 50% off delivery special this weekend! Take advantage of this phenomenal deal and order from your favorite local restaurants! Whether you choose a juicy burger from Rama Jama’s, the game-changing wings from Catfish Heaven, or an unforgettable Chipotle Marinated Pork Tenderloin from Southern Ale House! For dessert, check out The Whimsey Cookie’s adorable and delicious Fourth of July Cookie Set.

 

Cool Down

If you need a cool down from the Alabama heat, stop by Las Piñas on McFarland Blvd for some homemade ice cream, chili powder popsicles, or fresh street corn! This family-owned business brings a modern twist to the classic ice cream shops. They serve 100% homemade frozen treats and snacks with the combination of Mexican and American flavors! If snow cones are more your style, Summer Snow is the perfect spot for you! With over sixty flavors to try, this shaved ice shop has proven itself as a staple within this community.

It’s safe to say that Tuscaloosa is a big city, and like any busy area, there are so many unique areas that make it special. With so many different sides to explore, we wanted to take you on a virtual tour and highlight everything that this city has to offer. Join us as we guide you through Tuscaloosa and show you what makes our city the One and Only!

 

Downtown

 

Downtown Tuscaloosa is the perfect area if you’re looking to shop, eat, or just hang out! With a variety of different local businesses to explore, the area is a hub for entertainment.

Shop: The Pants Store is one of the best downtown destinations for men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. With name brands like Carhartt, Steve Madden, Quay, Yeti, and more, you’re sure to find something stylish at an affordable price. Find the Pants Store on University Boulevard and get shopping!

Eat: Located on Greensboro Avenue, Central Mesa is the downtown destination for Mexican food with a unique twist. Their dishes include hot chicken tacos and spinach and mushroom quesadillas, but more traditional salads and sandwiches are also on the menu. Central Mesa also has a wide selection of beverages, including specialty cocktails and happy hour specials.

Hang out: If you’re looking for a spot to grab a drink and relax, look no further than Tavern 1831! Situated just off of University Boulevard behind Depalma’s, Tavern 1831 offers a variety of craft beer, mixed drinks, seltzers, and specialty shots. There’s never a cover charge, so feel free to stop in and cool off with one of their daily happy hour specials!

 

By the River

 

The Black Warrior River is one of Tuscaloosa’s most scenic locations. Whether you’re looking to get active or simply visiting for the beautiful views, this local favorite has something to satisfy everyone.

Eat: River is one of Tuscaloosa’s best fine-dining establishments. Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River off of Jack Warner Parkway, River serves steaks, seafood, salads, and more. They also offer deals on wine, draft beers, and specialty cocktails during happy hour. If you’re looking to enjoy fine dining with beautiful riverfront views, River is the perfect spot!

Shop: If you’re looking for the latest in women’s fashion, stop by Market House Boutique! With an array of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories, you’re sure to find something for your next night in or out. Market House Boutique offers more than just clothes; pick up something for your home while you’re there!

Hang out: The Riverwalk is the perfect place to spend a summer evening in Tuscaloosa! Located off of Jack Warner Parkway, The Riverwalk is a paved walking trail that spans over 4.5 miles of the southern bank of the Black Warrior River. Walk along the path, take a jog, or sit on a bench and take in the spectacular views!

 

Off the Beaten Path

 

Being in the city is great, but there are just as many places to explore that are only a short drive from the main part of Tuscaloosa!

Eat: Nick’s in the Sticks has been family owned and operated since 1953, and it’s fair to say that this local favorite is a hidden gem. Nick’s in the Sticks is best known for their delicious steaks, giant onion rings, and their famous drink, The Nicodemus. Visitors love the restaurant’s atmosphere and high-quality service. Don’t forget to bring a dollar to sign and add to the collection on the restaurant’s ceiling!

Hang out: Tuscaloosa has tons of parks that are situated on the outskirts of town. Hurricane Creek Park is one of these! Located off of Old Birmingham Highway, this spot is a local favorite for outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking. If you’re feeling bold, try kayaking down the creek, or feel free to simply relax on the banks and take in the park’s natural beauty!

Tuscaloosa is slowly beginning the process of reopening its doors! Throughout the painfully long and rather bizarre weeks of quarantine, the city of Tuscaloosa has continued to show resilience through these trying times. Several retail and service businesses are back open at 50% capacity. Some hours will be altered, and safety precautions will slightly differ from place to place. Our local businesses are ecstatic to welcome you back and to safely begin interacting with you when the time is right.

 

Due to the fluidity of the situation, many businesses have new operating hours for the time being. It’s always a good idea to call ahead and double-check their hours and safety guidelines before driving directly there. You also have access to the business’s social media platforms to stay informed of all sanitary precautions, new business hours, and other adjustments that might need to be made due to the pandemic.

 

There are several restaurants opening back up that have been taking the necessary precautions to protect their employees and customers throughout these past several weeks. For example, Buffalo Phil’s is now open, just in time to kick off your weekend with some amazing wings. The staff has been working diligently to provide a safe space to serve their customers while abiding by social distancing guidelines. If you are looking to steer clear of the college crowd, Buddy’s Rib & Steak in Northport is now open at 50% capacity. Another excellent restaurant that has reopened its doors is Central Mesa! Check them out to try some of their new menu items, like the pan-seared salmon with Spanish rice (pictured).

 

Bars are also taking appropriate steps to slowly adjust to the new normal. Loosa, for instance, is not allowing customers to sit at the bar or move around tables. There is plenty of outdoor and indoor seating to provide a safe place to enjoy one of their 63 taps, packaged beers, and wines. If getting out to have a drink doesn’t appeal to you, that’s alright because Loosa still has fantastic to-go options. Black Warrior Brewery is enforcing similar guidelines as well. The bar service has been replaced by table service. Additionally, they are following all CDC and state guidelines to operate safely! If you are comfortable going out at this time, please wear a mask and respect social distancing guidelines.

 

If the restaurants, bars, and breweries aren’t calling your name just yet, there is plenty more to get into this Memorial Day weekend! We have some phenomenal places here in T-town where you can spend time with friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors. With Lake Tuscaloosa, Lake Nicol, Lake Harris, the Riverwalk, Snow Hinton Park, and Capitol Park, just to name a few, you have no excuse to binge-watch your weekend away.

 

This is the light at the end of the tunnel for the community of Tuscaloosa as we begin to navigate our way through these unprecedented times. It is important to remember that each and every one of us are coping with COVID-19 in a different way. Respect how others are choosing to protect themselves and their loved ones. Ironically enough, social distancing is an opportunity for us to come together, while apart, and unite as a community.

To ensure the health and safety of residents in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, bars, restaurants, and breweries have stopped serving food or drink on-site for one week, but many are still open for take-out only. With UA closing its doors for the spring semester and canceling May graduation, local businesses need support now more than ever.

The City of Tuscaloosa and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama have worked together to come up with a plan that supports local businesses. We know that some people are not comfortable with leaving their home right now. Here are some ways you can help at varying levels of comfort:

● Purchase gift cards to use when the coronavirus is no longer a concern
● Order take out or delivery through the restaurant or business itself or through a service like Crimson2Go, where you have the option of ‘no contact delivery’
● Write reviews if you’ve had a positive experience
● Share posts on social media
● Shop online if a local business accepts online orders
● If your income hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus consider donating to a
a local business that could need it
● Tip generously
● If you are a business with employees working extended hours, consider bringing in meals from a local restaurant

If there’s one thing we’re certain of in these unprecedented times, it’s that residents of Tuscaloosa come together when faced with hardship. We choose to live here for many reasons both quantifiable and intangible and will always support our community.

Show us how you’re supporting local businesses by tagging #TuscaLocal on social media and visit ​https://tuscaloosachamber.com/support-local/​ for updates and a list of local businesses that could use your help.

For locals, a giant neon cactus in our southern college town just makes sense. They belong right up there in Tuscaloosa landmarks with Denny Chimes and the Railroad Bridge. They just make sense. To newcomers, they are one of the first things you ask a local about. Anybody born and raised here will likely have an undying passion for their tacos and sweet tea. While the city has grown its food scene more and more with each passing day, they still have a love for Taco Casa. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time before they sprung up around town. Long before 1974 when the first Taco Casa would open, founder Rod Wilkins was dreaming up of the Tex-Mex after practice under the guidance of Tuscaloosa Icon Coach Bear Bryant. He would go on to head back home, work with his father in construction and marry a Northport girl named Susan Strong.

They would come back to Tuscaloosa in 73 with money they invested from Susan’s grandmother. While Rod would try to get a loan for his Tex-Mex, he officiated high school football games while helping build Susan’s parents home. Once he got the loan from his fellow football official Ed King, he set out to find the perfect spot to build his dream on. On August 20th, 1974 Taco Casa was born. They hit the ground running with their long-continued tradition of serving fresh food made right after the customer ordered. Along with hot fresh food, they served some of the coldest beer in frosted mugs, quickly becoming the landmark restaurant where many locals would try their first taco.

After incredibly dedicating himself to his work, he was advised by his former high school coach to franchise Taco Casa. By 1977 Taco Casa expanded across the river to Northport. College students and locals alike would grow to love Taco Casa to the point they expanded into markets like Mobile, Birmingham, and even into auburn. On that tragic day of April 27th, 2011 a Taco Casa along 15th street was struck by the devastating tornado. The Restaurant would be one of the first businesses to come back stronger than before and be a beacon of hope for the city’s revival. To this day Taco Casa is still a family operated business with a dedication to our great city. They continue to serve freshly made Tex-Mex and some of the sweetest sweet tea in the state. It is loved and cherished as a local legend that continues to bring people together under the biggest cactus in town