Tuscaloosa’s food truck scene has certainly evolved over the past few years, and we’re totally here for it! Whether you’re attending a local festival, exploring The University of Alabama’s beautiful campus, or simply frequenting some of our neighborhoods, it’s likely you’ll see a food truck out and about. If you’re like us, there’s just something special about a delicious meal cooked to perfection and served with a smile and at the convenience of “on-the-go”. Today, we want to share six local food trucks that you can find hitting the streets of T-Town.
Just remember, there are many more food trucks in Tuscaloosa than the ones we’re covering, especially depending on the time of the year (ie: football season – roll tide!).
- Catch a Taste
Serving with love and devotion to make great food is the goal of this food truck. It’s nearly impossible to leave this place without a smile. They move around day-to-day, so you can click here to view their schedule. Whether you’re looking for a beef wrap combo or a wing platter, you will be more than satisfied as soon as you catch a taste.
- Bean Me Up Scottie
This little gem is relatively new to town, but word travels fast when the food is incredible. This organic eatery has unique delicacies like vegan cupcakes, mac and cheese burger, and the classic BLT sandwich. All of their meat is plant-based for those vegetarians and vegans out there. With deserts like Zucchini bread and banana nut bread, this place can cure just about any craving! Their schedule will be posted soon on their Facebook page.
- Cheese Louise
This local gourmet grilled cheese food truck specializes in, none other than, spectacular sandwiches. They have earned quite the reputation around town and have lived up to the hype. This place puts a bit of a spin on the American icon. Just imagine, you order the Macdaddy, which is filled with Colby jack cheese, bacon, and chipotle sauce on freshly toasted white bread. Yum!! For the full menu and more details check out their website here.
- Little Poblano
Hungry for tacos and tamales in Tuscaloosa? This Poblano food truck has just what you want to satisfy even the deepest hunger. They offer an incredible chicken roasted in an orange tinga sauce, guacamole, pickled red onion, marinated cabbage, and house crema. And if that’s not your style, the classic quesadilla never disappoints with chicken tinga, cheese, and roasted poblanos. For more information on Little Poblano click here.
- Big Tasty
One of the more classic food trucks that roam T-Town is Big Tasty, serving a wide range of hot dogs and hamburgers. They offer quality services that go a long way to ensuring that your order is to perfection. Not to mention the rave reviews they receive about their customer service going above and beyond. If hamburgers and hot dogs aren’t your thing, they also serve a mouth-watering wing combo, served with a side and a drink. For more details check out their website.
- Urban Cookhouse
When the official food truck of Urban Cookhouse roams Tuscaloosa, we all know what that means… it’s time to grub! They’re serving up your favorite UC Classics, now on the go! Check out their website to find our next stop! Whether you’re craving something healthy like Berry Good salad and wrap or something hardy, Applewood bacon, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes with aioli on toasted white bread, you’re sure to be satisfied with all the variety of options here.
A smoothie bowl concept that has everyone talking on campus! Their specialty is healthy, happy, good food because the fuel we put in our body matters. Blenz Bowls tries to bring us the best fuel available and we think it’s pretty good! They can typically be found on campus Monday through Friday during the school year and actually have a storefront location in the Student Center as well. Check out their Instagram page for current locations or visit their website today!
Archibald’s Food Truck
Arguably some of the best wings in West Alabama, the Archibald’s Food Truck can often be found around the community and at several local events! They are a locally owned barbecue food truck but their business (Archibald & Woodrow’s BBQ) has been around for over 60 years now. They were established in 1962 and is now being run by the third-generation! Over the years, the meat and sauce has stayed the same. Check out their Facebook page or their website to learn more.
After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the time has finally come. The Druid City Arts Festival, presented by Cadence Bank, is returning tomorrow from 5 – 10 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm!
This 12th annual community event allows guests to explore and shop one-of-a-kind art from over 70 visual artists while enjoying the outdoors on a Tuscaloosa spring day at our lovely Government Plaza! While there, you can enjoy lunch, a snack, or a cold treat from one of your favorite local food trucks, too. Our friends from Buffalo Rock will be there with Pepsi products, too.
Showcasing some of Tuscaloosa’s musicians, guests will be able to watch performances from artists including Drum Nation and Alabama Blues Project! Click here to take a look at the full Stage Schedule, presented by Mercedes-Benz.
And, last but not least, one of the great things about this festival is that there are so many engaging activities for adults and children alike. Below we have compiled some of the fun kid-friendly activities that will be available at DCAF this year! We must give a special thanks to our friends at McAbee Construction for their sponsorship of the DCAF Kids Zone.
- Coloring stations where kids can let their creativity lead the way
- Hands-on soap-making with Left Hand Soap
- Engaging inflatable games for the younger kiddos
- Airbrush face painting
- Interactive Tuscaloosa mural project
- Booth tube photo mosaic
- Interactive quilting demos by the Quilter’s Guild, presented by Shelton State Community College
- The Art Garage’s Interactive Activity
- Spin Art
- Make friends with Metro Animal Shelter’s furry friends with their on-site RV
- Enjoy watching a one-of-a-kind DCAF t-shirt be made with an on-site screen-printing vendor (shirts do cost)
It is International Coffee Day and there is only one way to celebrate. Treat yourself to the must-needed companion, Coffee, as the work and school year are in full swing. With the temperature slowly dropping like an autumn leaf, what better time than now to discover a new coffee shop where you can enjoy specially-curated coffee brews and specialty coffee drinks? The City of Tuscaloosa is home to a variety of eclectic local cafes and shops to satisfy your coffee, so you’re in luck! Below is a list of locations around town where you can discover your new favorite cup of joe and celebrate International Coffee Day accordingly!
Coffee with Breakfast
You simply cannot go wrong with a hot (or iced) cup of coffee paired with a tasty treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. What are you waiting for? Start your week off with a little pick-me-up! On the corner of Greensboro and University Blvd sits Babe’s Donuts, this local favorite has earned quite a reputation around town with exceptional service and plenty of delicious treats to choose from. Their donuts can be topped with anything from fruity pebbles to Reese’s and Heath Bars, so be sure to scope out the many options before choosing wisely. Start your week off with this little pick-me-up! They are only open for take-out, so finding a good view of Downtown T-town to enjoy your killer combo is a must.
Breakfast with Coffee
If you are looking for a spot to grab a bigger meal and still celebrate today’s holiday, check out Another Broken Egg or Five Bar! Both of these restaurants offer a delicious variety for breakfast, brunch, and lunch (as well as dinner for Five). There is indoor seating available for those that want to get out of the house, but don’t forget to bring your mask! Five Bar also has a dedicated coffee shop that is open every day from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm! Visit either of these T-Town stops to pair an incredible meal with a delightful cup of joe.
Traveling all around the city of Tuscaloosa is the Joyful Java food truck! This one-of-a-kind coffee stop is considered a must-try by hundreds of UA students. Each cup is filled with a full-bodied flavor, from beans that are daily roasted and brewed fresh. If that isn’t quite your style, no problem! Joyful Java has a nice variety to choose from, including nitro brew, Greek frappe, espresso, and even caramel apple cider. There are no wrong choices here. Find Joyful Java in Tuscaloosa, or have ’em out to cater to your next event!
Tuscaloosa is home to several unique coffee houses that all bring something special and different to this town’s cafe scene. Turbo Coffee, for example, offers cold-pressed juices, açai bowls, and superfood smoothies in addition to their coffee selection. If you are looking for to-go options, Monarch Espresso Bar currently offers wonderful window service and outdoor seating so visitors can continue to visit the shop and socialize safely while enjoying a cup of coffee!
A classy coffee cafe, Just Love Coffee, is joining Tuscaloosa in a few weeks and we can hardly wait. Run by a mission to spread joy and kindness communities, this new local shop is sure to bring something unique to T-Town. Former alumni of The University of Alabama and two brothers are more than determined to spread the mission of Just Love Coffee to the Tuscaloosa area. In addition to the specially-curated coffee, Just Love also offers a menu of delectable goodies ranging from chicken and waffles to salads! Be sure to join us in giving this local business a warm welcome when they open!
Safety is the top priority for returning to campus, but that does not mean sacrificing the ability to enjoy yourself and to enjoy new experiences, especially in the City of Tuscaloosa. There are plenty of ways to maintain a safe, physical distance while also enjoying what Tuscaloosa has to offer, whether it be the scenic views, rich history, or the one-of-a-kind businesses and restaurant culture of this city. Below, we have compiled a list of ways to stay socially active while also being socially distanced!
The different lakes located around Tuscaloosa have been a regular relaxation spot for students over the years. In order to have a fun and peaceful time, visiting one of the nearby lakes is a modern time twist on a classic activity for UA students. These lakes are not only wonderful places to swim and rent kayaks for, but they are also a peaceful spot to read a book and enjoy the nature of the Tuscaloosa area. What better way to substitute a library table or a lakeside picnic table? These lakes offer services that allow you to either rent paddleboards for the day, paddle your own kayak around to the different scenic spots along the lakefront, or layout at the beach to continue working on your summer tan! The most popular lakes around the City of Tuscaloosa to check out are Lake Lurleen, Lake Nicol, and Lake Tuscaloosa.
Civil Rights Walk
The City of Tuscaloosa has a history intertwined with the Civil Rights movement, and there is a presence of that history all around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Traveling through history along the Civil Rights Walk is a way to stay active outdoors and be proactive about the history and importance of the Civil Rights Movement to our city. Visit (website) to locate the markers located around Downtown Tuscaloosa and learn more about the lasting impact that the Civil Rights Movement has made on the history and people of the City of Tuscaloosa. Visit here to learn more about the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa and how you can find more and more resources regarding the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa.
Historic Downtown Tuscaloosa
Downtown Tuscaloosa is a relaxing area of town where anyone is free to walk around and wander from door to door to find something they feel drawn to. There are numerous boutique stores and businesses where eclectic finds are inevitable. If you’re looking for a new wardrobe, or maybe just some refreshing new pieces, check out Pause Boutique, Effie’s Inc., or Pants Store! Walking around Downtown Tuscaloosa is a peaceful yet adventurous activity for all to find unique local while staying active after months of quarantine. However, Downtown Tuscaloosa does feature a lot of locations that would require entering a building, so be sure to pack a mask and be safe when visiting indoor storefronts and shops.
Self-Guided UA Tour
The University of Alabama has a rich history that every student and resident of Tuscaloosa ought to learn and become familiar with. At the heart of it all is The Quad, which is filled to the brim with its own history but also offers one of the most picturesque areas of campus. A refreshing way to stay connected to the culture of the university while maintaining physical distancing outdoors is to take a stroll around the University of Alabama campus and soaking in the history of the many buildings and locations. Many locations, including the ones located on the Quad, include historical markers that indicate the historic significance of their existence (or previous existence) and offer a glimpse into what truly defines this university.
Enjoy the scenic nature of the Black Warrior River from the comfort of a relaxing hammock or a light jog along the riverfront. The Riverwalk is 4.2 miles of a paved trail that offers visitors a place to enjoy the outdoors in a way that is safe and distanced from others, and versatile enough that anyone can find themselves enjoying an afternoon out and about. The Riverwalk is a great place to go on a quick run, exercise on a bike, and walk your dog, plus offers serene and scenic spots for reading a nice book or enjoying a delicious picnic. Whether you are wanting to stay physically active through exercise and movement or if you are wanting to simply sit outdoors and soak in the sunlight and fresh air, the Riverwalk is a must-do.
Golf and Disc Golf
In order to stay distanced while remaining active, certain sports offer more distanced situations than others, like golf or disc golf. There are several public golf course options located near Tuscaloosa including Ol’ Colony, North River Yacht Club, The Links at Tuscaloosa, Indian Hills Country Club, Tall Pines, and Hidden Meadows. Each of these courses is available on weekends and offers a variety of offerings to satisfy the most serious players and to welcome the more introductory players. If you are more of a disc golfer than a traditional golfer, Bower’s Park is the place to be, thanks to a full 18-hole course primarily located on wooded terrain and featuring beginner and professional tees for players of all skill ranges! Whether you are driving a golf ball or a disc, these activities are a safe way to get back into the swing of things!
A staple of campus life is enjoying the food trucks that make their way onto campus or throughout Tuscaloosa. These days, food trucks are a great way to stay outdoors and distanced while also supporting local businesses of Tuscaloosa. Not only are you able to be smart about what you are eating, but you may discover a new favorite dish or new favorite dining destination! We offer a phenomenal variety with options like Catch a Taste, Aces Tuscaloosa, Cheese Louise Tuscaloosa, and Urban Cookhouse. Food trucks appear in various locations around the city, so be sure to plan ahead of time to be aware of where certain trucks will be located and what their menu will look like! Remember to wear a mask at all times except when you are eating in order to maximize caution and ensure the safety of yourselves and those around you.
Local Farmers Markets
A health-conscious and locally-oriented outdoor activity that everyone can take advantage of is enjoying a farmers market. In Tuscaloosa, a few wonderful options for outdoor farmers markets are Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market, Ingram Farms, Northport Farmers Market, and the Curbside Farmers Market. Shopping at a farmers market can expose you to new flavors to up your cooking game, and they support the local farmers that stock the markets. Be sure to wear a mask while visiting local farmers markets for the health and safety of yourself and the vendors working the markets!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Summer is officially here, and there’s no better place to spend it than Tuscaloosa! With a variety of local businesses ready to help you make the most of these long, hot days, there’s always something to explore. Check out these options and make the most of your summer in the One and Only Tuscaloosa!
Snow Cones: Snow cones are some of the best summer treats around! To help you battle the heat, stop by Summer Snow. This shaved ice shop on University Boulevard has been serving the Tuscaloosa community since 1988, and their unique assortment of flavors is sure to satisfy any palette! Try the refreshing pink lemonade, or let your taste buds escape to a tropical paradise with coconut. Summer Snow is iconic to the city of Tuscaloosa, so come prepared to enjoy all that this local favorite has to offer.
Ice cream: If ice cream is more your speed, stop by Ingram Farms to grab a scoop or two! The produce stand is located a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport. Ingram Farms offers a variety of flavors of Mayfield and Blue Bell ice cream as well as local creations, including specialty blends such as orange pineapple. Don’t forget to pick up some locally grown fruits and veggies while you’re there!
Milkshakes: Rama Jama’s is known for its burgers and hot dogs, but did you know that they also offer milkshakes? Located conveniently near The University of Alabama’s campus, Rama Jama’s has been a part of Tuscaloosa’s restaurant scene for decades. Their milkshake selection includes flavors such as caramel, cherry, strawberry, and Oreo, just to name a few. Stop by today and enjoy a cold treat from this uniquely local spot!
Water you waiting for?
Paddleboarding: Water sports are a great way to catch a break from the summer heat. If you’re interested in getting active, try paddleboarding! Tuscaloosa Paddleboarding offers board rentals at the docks by Riverwalk Condominiums and at Lake Nicol Park. Boards are just $20 an hour, but daily rates and group rates for parties of four and over are also available. Call ahead to make a reservation today!
Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity that the whole family can enjoy this summer. Luckily, Lake Tuscaloosa is only a short drive from the city, meaning the perfect fishing spot isn’t far from home! Bass, sunfish, crappie, and more populate the lake’s waters. Stand on the shore, perch on the lake’s cliffs, or take a boat out on the water and see what you can catch!
Swimming: Swimming is one of the first summer activities that come to mind, and Hurricane Creek Park is the perfect place to take a dip! Located off of Old Birmingham Highway, this spot is a Tuscaloosa favorite for outdoor activities of all kinds. Along with swimming, visitors can hike, kayak, or simply sit along the shore and enjoy the park’s unspoiled natural beauty.
Dinner: Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, River is perfect for a delicious dinner in a beautiful setting. Located a short drive from downtown along the Riverwalk, River’s menu includes steaks, seafood, salads, and flatbreads. Check their website for their happy hour menu, which offers deals on wine, draft beers, and specialty cocktails. Whether for a nice family dinner or a romantic evening out, River is the perfect spot to spend a summer evening!
Drinks: If you’re in the mood for a laid-back and fun atmosphere, look no further than Loosa Brews! Doubling as both a retail store and a full-service bar, Loosa offers dozens of local craft beers and mainstream favorites on draft. Bring quarters and enjoy some friendly competition with their wide selection of arcade and pinball machines! If you’re looking to stay in, call and order a growler or choose from their wide selection of packaged beers and wines.
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.