A Guide to Eating (and Drinking) in Tuscaloosa

Planning a trip to Tuscaloosa this football season? Here’s a look at the food and drinks you don’t want to miss.

Follow along with our three-part series on the University of Alabama and the growing city of Tuscaloosa. We’re giving you an inside look at restaurants, breweries, art and all things T-Town.

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Avenue Pub

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photo from avepub.com

THE MENU

Hands down, the best burger in Tuscaloosa*. One bite of Avenue Pub’s bacon burger and you’ll understand exactly how they managed to break the curse of 405 23rd Ave (RIP The Globe, Carmelo, etc.). This Timerson Square restaurant has managed to make a serious name for itself with locals, students and out-of-town guests, alike. Avenue Pub is the place you want to be before a night out listening to the local bands.

*FIVE is a close second.

Epiphany

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photo from tripadvisor.com

THE MENU

Five stars. Epiphany is the best restaurant in Tuscaloosa (and might even give Birmingham a run for its money).

Established almost fifteen years ago, Epiphany is a rare gem of a place that you’re thankful is still there every time you look around its not-quite-full-enough dining room. The restaurant’s farm-to-fork menu is one you’d expect of a casual dinner spot in the East Village, not sandwiched between a late-night bar and wine shop in downtown Tuscaloosa. Close your eyes and pick a few dishes from their small plate menu. Trust me, it’ll be fun.

DePalmas

depalmas
photo from visittuscaloosa.com

THE MENU

Take your dad here. If your parents, in-laws or dad’s old frat buddies are with you, this is where you want to go. Don’t let the very reasonable menu prices fool you, you’ll be spending a pretty penny on all the wine you drink by the end of the night. No reservations, so be sure to claim a club chair by the front window and order a peach bellini while you wait. I promise, you won’t even realize you waited an hour and a half for a table.

Nick’s Filet House

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photo from visittuscaloosa.com

If I ever see you here, I’ll buy you a Nicodemus for not turning around when things started to look eerily similar to that scene from that horror movie. You’ll only be at Nicks in the Sticks if you’re a local, with a local, or with the guy who went to UA when filet’s cost $2 and there was still room to staple your dollar bills to the ceiling. You want to come here with your 15-year-old cousin who doesn’t mind driving you home after two Nicodemuses.

The menu: salad, baked potato, filet (I’ve heard they have chicken and onion rings, too, but I’ve never seen it).

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Druid City Brewing Company

Best brewery in Tuscaloosa, best beer in Alabama. Druid City Brewing Company is the real deal. If you’re into craft beer, this is one taproom you don’t want to miss. Stop by after dinner, sit outside and drink a North Porter with your folks. Or go by yourself, sit at the bar and drink a North Porter with Bob.

Alcove International Tavern

This one is for everyone. Take your mom after work, your girl after a date, or your group after dinner. The Alcove opened seven years ago this weekend (happy birthday!) next to an old barbershop on 8th Street. Probably the birthplace of the Druid City movement – Druid City Garden Project, Druid City Media, Druid City Bike Club, Druid City Whatever – and every other cool Tuscaloosa initiative out there. The Alcove is the OG of hip bars in Tuscaloosa.

Chuck’s Fish

While the dinner menu might be slightly overpriced, Chuck’s is about the only place in town to get the good stuff. Sushi. Sneak upstairs to the sushi bar when nobody’s looking (we don’t want everyone realizing there’s no need to wait for a table) and order a lemon drop. Or any other cocktail on the menu. You can’t go wrong.

Worth a mention: Loosa Brews, Catch 22 (allows smoking), The Gray Lady (allows smoking) and Green Bar (might allow smoking) are all good places to grab a drink in downtown Tuscaloosa. If you’re on The Strip, ask the nearest guy in a frat T-shirt where to hang out. He knows better than I do.

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Hooligans

Hooligans is a Tuscaloosa classic serving American, Mediterranean and breakfast food all day, every day. Grab an egg sandwich, gyro or the third-best cheeseburger in Tuscaloosa on your way out and you’ll be feeling A-OK by the time you hit 20-59. Now with two locations in Tuscaloosa (University and Hargrove), this is one of the few times when the second location is just as good as the first.

Open daily from 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Sweet Home Food Bar

After the hostess at Another Broken Egg tells you there’s a two-hour wait for a table, drive up the hill and come here. Sweet Home Food Bar’s huge breakfast menu has something for everyone at your table. And if you’re not feeling breakfast food, order a fried green tomato BLT with pesto mayo.

Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.