Sunday, April 18, 2010

5 Tasty Places to Dine in Tuscaloosa

A Review of Tuscaloosa's Restaurants

I recently made my first trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that southern city with the funny sounding name. She's home to the University of Alabama, its 28,000 students and approximately 90,000 residents. That's a lot of hungry people to feed, but plenty of innovative restaurateurs manage to please all tastes.

Here's a sampler of some of the best:

Nick's in the Stick's
4018 Eutaw Highway  
205 758 9316
An unapologetically beat up, rustic and fun-loving place for a steak. It's officially Nick's Original Filet House and features juicy tenderloins at student friendly prices. Order onion rings and receive a near-toppling pyramid. The famed house drink is the Nicodemus, a fruity punch concoction similar to a New Orleans 'hurricane'. Try one, you'll love it; try two and those demons will find you in the morning.

Chuck's Fish
508 Greensboro Avenue
205 248 9372
Chuck's specializes in fresh fish and shellfish from the Gulf Coast and insists it be caught on "hook and line." The chefs create exotic looking sushi in the former warehouse. If not sushi, try crab stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon and broiled. Friends meet up for long, relaxing meals around eclectic art on the walls, flat-screened TV's and live music. Dining is casual or dressy.

The Cypress Inn
501 Rice Mine Road North
205 345 6997
The Cypress Inn offers an upscale atmosphere with relaxed dining along the banks of the Black Warrior River. College students beg their visiting parents to take them here. The Cypress Inn is famous for their smoked chicken served with white BBQ sauce and the ever popular fried catfish with hoppin' John and greens.

Brown's Corner Dueling Piano Bar and Grill
2325 University Boulevard
205 342 9033
Brown's attracts a sometimes rowdy crowd with live dueling pianos. The musicians banter back and forth and inspire the diners to sing along. Song requests are encouraged, along with a tip. Food service is typical pub fare but the fried pickles, one of the house appetizers, are worth a splurge. The crispy dills, coated in the lightest of batters, arrive with a dipping sauce. There's outdoor seating, too.

Dreamland BBQ
5535 15th Avenue East
205 758 8135

Ain't nothing like 'em nowhere is the motto and I'd say that true.  Oven pit bar-b-qued ribs, smoked sausage or pulled pork.  The original Dreamland only seats 68 but attracts huge crowds for tailgates on game days. Restaurant service is picnic style with plastic ware and rolls of paper towels for messy fingers.

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