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.
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.
After months of anticipation, the first game day of the 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide football season is approaching! Although the weekend will look a bit different this year, there are so many ways to experience the city of Tuscaloosa. Below we have put together the Ultimate 2020 T-Town Tour Guide, full of local dining, enticing entertainment, and spectacular shopping. Be sure to stay safe and wear a mask while you explore the town. Enjoy your weekend adventures and let the good times (and the Crimson Tide) roll!
9:00 am – 9:45 am:
The first stop on our itinerary is Babe’s Donuts, located on Greensboro Avenue in the heart of Downtown Tuscaloosa. Known for its sweet treats and delicious coffee, this on-the-go option is currently open for to-go orders, making it convenient to start your day off on a good note! As you embark on your weekend journey stop by Babe’s for a classic donut – or mix it up with a Fruity Pebbles donut – and some cold brew coffee. Before you know it this local gem just might become your new T-Town favorite!
10:00 am – 11:30 am:
Located just down the street at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is the Sarah Garden Armstrong Exhibit: Threads and Layers. Sarah Garden Armstrong is an Alabama native and alumna of the University of Alabama, returning to Tuscaloosa to share her captivating work through different types of media, from paintings and sculptures to handmade artist books! This Friday is your last chance to visit her incredible exhibit, so be sure to visit the Event page for more information.
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm:
Your next stop along the T-Town Tour is Heat Pizza, located on Government Plaza. Choose wisely their wide selection of pizzas, including vegetarian and gluten-free options! Enjoy your lunch safely outside on the patio, with plenty of space for social distancing. As a matter of fact, Heat’s variety of beer, wine, and cocktails pairs perfectly with this perfect fall weather! With 5 years of experience serving pizzas, salads, drinks, and good times to Tuscaloosa, Heat will make your time here unforgettable.
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm:
The Paul R. Jones Museum has reopened its doors just in time for Bama’s season kickoff! Come experience the eclectic art of T-Town and explore their newest exhibit, “When They See Us, What Do They See?: Perspectives on Black Art”, curated by Barbara-Shae Jackson. The purpose of this exhibit is to ask visitors the question: What does the aesthetic experience of a person perceiving a work of art look like when it does not reflect their culture or personal life experience? Jackson, currently a doctoral student in cognitive psychology at The University of Alabama, is curating this collection to identify the responses of different visitors when they view art created by black and white artists. This weekend is your last chance to visit this thought-provoking exhibit, so be sure to visit the event page for more information.
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm:
Return to Downtown Tuscaloosa for a nice sit-down dinner at Chuck’s Fish where you can enjoy delicious appetizers and savory seafood dishes. This restaurant is a wonderful way to kick-off the weekend and celebrate the beginning of Alabama Football Season with family or friends! With a menu complete with classic cocktails and incredible entrees, Chuck’s is sure to be a crowd-pleaser no matter who is in your entourage.
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm:
Friday night LIVE MUSIC is returning to T-Town! Live from the Bama will begin at 7:30 pm, with limited in-person seating to ensure social distancing. Tickets are available to purchase for $10 here. If you are unable to attend the concert, join in on the fun virtually via the live stream on our Facebook page! Featuring local bands GrAystone and Casie & the NoJoes, this show will be sure to kick off your weekend the right way. Not to mention, all proceeds go directly to the Bama Theatre during this difficult time. To show your support for the irreplaceable Bama Theatre you can donate at your convenience here.
9:00 am – 10:30 am:
Start off your Saturday with a traditional T-Town breakfast at The Waysider, Tuscaloosa’s oldest restaurant in town! Once a regular stop for the great Bear Bryant, this classic local joint is located on Greensboro Avenue. Experience a bit of T-Town’s southern-style cooking with homemade biscuits, complimentary beignets (per request), or ham cooked to perfection. Not much of a breakfast person? No worries, The Waysider has delicious lunch items on the menu as well! Keep in mind that seating is limited, so be sure to budget for time as you may have to wait for a table!
11:00 am – 12:30 pm:
If you need a place to entertain your kids, look no further than the Children’s Hands-On Museum. This educational oasis is a delightful spot where your kids can learn about exciting subjects, like friction and temperature, all while having a blast! CHOM has set several guidelines in place to ensure the safety of all staff and visitors, like temperature screening at the entrance and controlled capacity inside. Ahead of your visit to the museum, check online for more information about exploring this interactive museum safely! If you aren’t comfortable taking your kids to CHOM, you can take CHOM to your kids with CHOM at home! Encouraging interactive learning is now easier than ever before with this resource up your sleeve.
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm:
Now it’s time to walk on over to Avenue Pub for a bit of local flavor to celebrate a football-filled afternoon! This treasure is a wonderful spot for spending quality time with loved ones and indulging in comfort food galore. With tasty sandwiches, fresh salads, and banging burgers, Avenue pub has what it takes to put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. If you just so happen to find yourself needing a spot to watch the Crimson Tide, there is a special offer of local beer for $4/pint during the game.
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm:
Between lunch and the start of the night football games, you can take a stroll around Downtown Tuscaloosa and do some necessary game day shopping. Whether you are looking to spruce up the Tide Pride in your repertoire or hoping to find the perfect crimson outfit, there are plenty of local shops to discover. For men, The Locker Room is a great spot for gameday polos and outerwear for later in the season. For women, whatever your style may be, Vintage Cotton Boutique offers a wide selection of unique pieces to help you put together the ideal football season wardrobe for any occasion!
6:00 pm: Alabama Crimson Tide at Missouri Tigers
ROOOLLLLLL TIDE ROLL into the return of college football! Wear your lucky socks and put your game face on because the highly-anticipated time is officially here. Whether you are at the game or cheering on the tide elsewhere, enjoy Tuscaloosa’s inexplicable, electrifying game-day atmosphere. Bama fans and locals alike know exactly what that feels like. Now is the perfect time to experience T-Town’s Bama fan phenomenon with the rare game-day hotel availability and local businesses eager to share their products/services with you.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm:
Start Sunday morning off the right way at Rama Jama’s with a hearty breakfast at this University of Alabama-themed grill on Bryant Drive. Admire Bryant-Denny Stadium in all its glory as you enjoy more incredible local food. With classic options like fresh biscuits, crispy bacon, and unbelievable ham, it’s no surprise this hometown hit has hundreds of rave reviews. After a long, exciting Saturday of exploring Tuscaloosa and cheering on the Crimson Tide, a southern-styled breakfast at the one and only Rama Jama’s is just what the doctor ordered.
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm:
The Paul W. Bryant Museum is back open for this year’s football season! They are so excited to welcome visitors to town and share the gilded history of Bear Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide! After enjoying a Saturday full of football, the Bryant Museum is the perfect place to spend your Sunday afternoon, watching and learning about the history of Alabama Athletics. Walk in the footsteps of Alabama greats with the exhaustive collection of items and memorabilia of past sports history at The University of Alabama. Be sure to visit Bryant Museum’s website ahead of time to purchase admission and check hours of operation.
2:30 pm – 5:00 pm:
Downtown Tuscaloosa is a great place to shop around and discover local businesses that offer clothes, accessories, furniture, and more. Olive Tree Antiques and Twice as Nice are delightful examples of antique shops in Downtown T-Town. Places like these have something for just about everyone with eclectic inventory that is constantly changing. Whether it be kitchenware, jewelry, an antique, or interior decorations you are bound to discover some T-Town treasures that would make the perfect souvenirs.
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
Black Belt Adventures recently created a weekend tour of Alabama’s Black Belt, showcasing the region’s best eateries, pit stops, and local goods. The Flavors of the Black Belt Adventure of course passes through Tuscaloosa, stopping by some of the city’s best restaurants and unique locations along the way. To see what made the cut and to take your own adventure through Tuscaloosa, follow along with us!
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ began serving the Tuscaloosa community from a small cinderblock building in 1962. Three generations later, the restaurant is known across the country for serving some of the best barbecue and ribs that the South has to offer. Archibald and Woodrow’s barbecued ribs, pork, and chicken are known for their trademark hickory-smoked flavor, and their house-made sides and sauces complement each item perfectly. If you’re looking for authentic Southern barbecue in Tuscaloosa, give Archibald and Woodrow’s a try!
Avenue Pub has been serving refined pub classics and a variety of craft beers to the Tuscaloosa community since 2014. Dishes like fish and chips and fried green tomato BLTs are made in-house with locally sourced ingredients, creating simple but memorable dishes. Make sure you try one of their local beer options while you’re there! The restaurant’s laid-back atmosphere creates a sense of community with every guest, making Avenue Pub the perfect place to visit for a casual and welcoming dining experience.
In 2017, Central Mesa began serving authentic Latin American food with a Southern twist in downtown Tuscaloosa. From hot chicken tacos inspired by the classic Nashville dish to beer-battered cod tacos that are straight from the Atlantic Ocean, Central Mesa offers one of the city’s most unique menus. The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh and delicious dishes alongside clean cocktails in a laid back atmosphere. If you’re looking for a unique fusion dining experience, Central Mesa is the place to be!
Chuck’s Fish opened in downtown Tuscaloosa in 2006 with the intention of showing off the best seafood that the Gulf of Mexico has to offer. The restaurant is named in honor of UA graduate Chuck Morgan, a civil rights attorney who fought against racial inequality during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with freshly harvested seafood, Chuck’s Fish also offers naturally-raised beef and an award-winning sushi bar. If you’re looking for a high-quality dining experience with a great atmosphere, look no further than Chuck’s Fish!
Depalma’s is Tuscaloosa’s premier destination for Italian cuisine that is both authentic and delicious. Since 1995, Depalma’s has been serving pastas, pizzas, calzones, and other entrees to locals and visitors alike. They also offer a wide drink selection as well as desserts, including Depalma’s famous white chocolate bread pudding. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere coupled with its prime location in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa makes it a must-try during your next visit!
Since 1958, Dreamland BBQ has been serving hickory-fired ribs and other barbecued favorites to the Tuscaloosa area. Over the years, Dreamland has become one of the most celebrated barbeque restaurants in the South. While they’re known for their iconic ribs, white bread, and sauce combination, Dreamland also serves barbeque sandwiches, smoked sausages, half chickens, and more! Check their online menu for availability at each location, and keep Dreamland in mind the next time you’re craving barbeque!
Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, River is Tuscaloosa’s top destination for urban dining with beautiful views. Since 2016, River has been serving tender steaks, savory flatbreads, specialty oysters, and more to the Tuscaloosa community. River prides itself on its great food and personal service, and its spacious dining terrace makes the perfect backdrop for a refined dining experience. If you’re looking for fine dining with beautiful riverfront views, choose River!
Along the Way
Besides some of the best dining in the South, Tuscaloosa also has some great sights and spots to visit! The Alabama Museum of Natural History has been celebrating the state’s natural history through exhibits, teaching programs, and service for over 150 years. While on The University of Alabama’s campus, stop by the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum to learn more about the campus’s famous football history. See some of the program’s most memorable moments displayed through state-of-the-art exhibits. To satisfy your artsy side, visit the Kentuck Art Center to learn more about the creativity of the Tuscaloosa community or enjoy one of their year-round programs. Round off your tour around Tuscaloosa with a drink at Black Warrior Brewing Company, which offers a large variety of craft beers and wines that are made in-house.
Black Belt Adventures’ many trails focus on the food, drinks, stays, and sights you’ll encounter on your trip, and shopping lists tell what local goodies you’ll want to pick up along the way. While on your adventure, make sure to enter Black Belt Adventures’ Feed Your Adventure Photo Contest! Simply snap a photo along one of their trails and upload your photo to their website. More information can be found on their website’s Flavors Photo Contest page. View the full brochure here and happy trails!
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!
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 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!
Let’s face it: because of the coronavirus pandemic, vacationing likely looks a bit different for everyone. Thankfully, there are other options. A staycation means you can still spend a weekend away from home without ever having to leave the city, and planning one is easy in Tuscaloosa! With so many local restaurants, shops, and unique locations to enjoy, there’s no shortage of things to do. We’ve compiled a schedule below to help you plan your next Tuscaloosa staycation!
Located in the heart of downtown and only a short walk from lots of bars and restaurants downtown, Home2 Suites is a beautiful hotel with a modern atmosphere. With a spectacular view of the downtown Tuscaloosa nightlife, there are several amenities that make this hotel a top choice. Enjoy free, hot breakfast, free wi-fi, free parking, and the indoor pool!
Candlewood Suites is another fine hotel for your weekend staycation. With a convenient location near Interstates 20 and 59, you can check out one of Tuscaloosa’s many attractions including The University of Alabama campus, a plethora of museums, nature trails, and plenty of unique shops! Experience top-notch customer service, spotless rooms, luxurious beds, and a great pool! Enjoy all that this special hotel has to offer by making a reservation online today!
Along the banks of the Black Warrior River and just minutes away from campus and downtown, enjoy a breathtaking view at Residence Inn on Rice Mine Loop. This hotel is devoted to giving guests an amazing experience from start to finish, including great amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, a free breakfast buffet, complimentary grocery delivery service, a grilling patio with fire pits, 24-hour fitness center, and an indoor pool. This hotel is also pet-friendly, so bring along the whole family for this staycation!
Out and About
If you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors this weekend, look no further than Lake Lurleen. The park is located only 20 minutes outside of town, and visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, just to name a few. Lake Lurleen is also known for its birding trails, and don’t forget to stop by the park’s Nature Center to learn more about the region’s plants and wildlife!
Sokol Park is another outdoor spot that’s perfect for a weekend afternoon. The park is located a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport. Sokol Park offers a wide variety of facilities, including multipurpose fields, bike trails, and a track. There’s also a dog park if you want to bring your favorite furry friend!
If shopping is more your speed, Earnest & Hadley Booksellers is a hidden Tuscaloosa gem. With a wide selection of used, new, and collectible books for sale, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you! Earnest & Hadley also offers books from local authors, including fiction and nonfiction works. Stop by the store today, or shop online if you’re looking to social distance!
For a laid-back dining experience, GloryBound in downtown Tuscaloosa is a local favorite. With over 15 types of gyros to choose from, including chicken bacon ranch, surf-n-turf, and veggie, this restaurant can satisfy any craving! In 2014 & 2015 Restaurant Hospitality ranked the pepperjack gyro as one of the best sandwiches in America! Enjoy the juicy rotisserie seared beef and lamb wrapped with lettuce and onions topped with pepperjack cheese, crispy bacon, and phenomenal comeback sauce!
If you’re interested in fine dining in a classy atmosphere, stop by R. Davidson Chophouse! This restaurant is located downtown and has a number of sophisticated dishes. From jumbo lump crab cakes to the RD Chophouse burger, their expansive menu ensures that there’s something for everyone! Make your reservation online on their website, or order takeout if you’d prefer to eat at home.
Out on the Town
If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Brummi’s Yummies is open downtown and ready to serve you some of their homemade baked goods! Custom cakes and cupcakes are their specialties, but banana pudding, cheesecakes, and brownies are also available. No matter what you’re in the mood for, Brummi’s Yummies is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!
If you’re looking for after-dinner drinks this weekend, drop by Nocturnal Tavern! This local gothic-styled club/bar is located in the dark little corner of Tuscaloosa. Enjoy the mysterious atmosphere and Victorian-style as you choose between domestic and imported beverages, as well as a variety of mixed drinks. They open at 5:00 p.m., so don’t hesitate to get the party started a little earlier this weekend.
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.
Get ready for crystal clear skies and sunny days this weekend in Tuscaloosa! Now is the perfect time to explore the unique, local gems of this incredible city. Whether you are savoring brunch at a local cafe, capturing a captivating view of Black Warrior River, or rocking out to some live music at your favorite bar, this town has what you need to make this weekend unforgettable.
The River Market
Visit the Tuscaloosa River Market Saturday for fresh, local produce and homemade goodies. Check out Savory Occasions table for warm bread pudding, or cool down with Tori’s Water Ice snow cones with flavors like tropical rainbow, green apple, cherry, pineapple, blue raspberry, and mango. Curbside pick-up is still available for select vendors. If you plan to attend, don’t forget your facemask! You will not be able to shop the market without it.
Double down on tunes this weekend at Alcove International! Make plans Friday for the sweet sounds of SouthTown starting at 10 PM. They cover classic rock, blues, and dance songs. Saturday night get ready for some rock and roll performed by Non-GMO at 10 PM.
You can catch The Brick and Hubba Show at Rhythm and Brews tonight, and Carson Carlisle Saturday at 10 PM!
If you don’t feel like spending money, The Actor’s Charitable Theatre (ACT) will present a free concert in Capitol Park tonight at 7 PM! Come check it out for a night of live entertainment with your family and friends!
The Great Outdoors
Balance yourself and rent a paddleboard at Lake Nicol! What better way to soak up the rays? Tuscaloosa Paddleboard provides high-quality YOLO boards, and guaranteed fun. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and simultaneously get in a great workout! Plus, the view is a spectacular bonus. If you’d rather stay on dry land, check out their local trails and explore the beauty that Tuscaloosa has to offer. Pack a lunch and a picnic blanket to make the most out of these warm summer days.
Try Something New
Grab your brunch crew and head over to Another Broken Egg to enjoy their brand-new menu! Start off with sweet beignets with orange marmalade sauce, and a refreshing summertime cocktail. The Watermelon Cucumber Cooler is the perfect treat for a beautiful weekend!
If you are craving something a little more Southern and traditional, we’ve got the perfect place for you! Mae’s Southern Café uses authentic family recipes for every dish. Need help deciding what to order? Mae’s is famous for their fall off the bone ribs, smoked for 3 hours, and worth every bite! You can’t complete a southern meal without Mae’s sweet tea. Brewed, steeped, and sweetened to perfection every time.