Tuscaloosa is home to quite a number of remarkable people, all with a story and a talent to share with their community. When I think of the folks like this that I’ve encountered during my time in Tuscaloosa, Paul Lasseter comes to mind.
While setting up a nutrition table with my interns at Homegrown Alabama one fall afternoon, I noticed a set-up of tasty baked goods, complemented by the voices of professors and college students raving about the coffee they just purchased. I later learned that this little business was Kauloosa Coffee Roasters, and it was quite the popular vendor at both Homegrown Alabama and the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market at the River Market.
It’s hard to ignore the influx of health-conscious businesses that have been springing up in Tuscaloosa over the past five years. With television advertisements, new medical research, and a plethora of internet resources touting the importance of diet and supplements, it’s no wonder that businesses of this type continue to appear. However, those transient to Tuscaloosa may not realize the long-standing history of health food and product selection that Manna Grocery and Deli in Tuscaloosa offers.
Since he was 17, Pastor Garcia dreamed of owning his own restaurant. That dream originated in Mexico City, but never did Garcia imagine that he would fulfill it in Northport, Alabama.
“I’ve always wanted a restaurant. I love the environment. I love customer service and loving people,” said Garcia.
As someone whose coffee connoisseur skills have evolved over the years, I’ve developed a deep respect and love for the local establishments in our area. And if you’ve driven down University Boulevard lately, you’ve likely noticed that Tuscaloosans have welcomed O’Henry’s Coffees with open arms and a bear hug since it’s opening in October.
I would bet good money on the statement that it’s impossible not to find something delicious to eat in Tuscaloosa. We’ve got our classic restaurants that have stood the test of time in town, but we’ve also got quite a few new kids on the block. As a dietitian, I’m a firm believer in eating not only for our health, but also for some downright pleasure. We’ve got some delightful food in Tuscaloosa, and I’m excited to share a few of my favorite dishes around town.
By Sheena Gregg
Tuscaloosa’s Shoppes at Legacy Park has been booming with new business lately, including the deliciously famous Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant, which opened last month. The Austin, Texas-based eatery promises to give its customers a unique experience, one that includes delivering the full, fresh flavors that their food and drinks are known for.
“We want people coming in to expect exceptional service, a great, family-friendly atmosphere, and amazing fresh food,” said Nick Gordzelik, owner and operator of Chuy’s in Tuscaloosa. “We want to keep our folks happy and we try our best to fulfill any dietary modification requests.”
On that note, patrons can expect bold flavors in a variety of sizes – something not always offered in other restaurants. Chuy’s offers menu items in half or mini orders, allowing diners to adjust their portion size without sacrificing taste. Made from scratch sauces such as the tomatillo, ranchero, and creamy jalapeno are just a few from the bunch of Chuy’s unique sauce repertoire.
By Joshua Watkins
Walk into Mugshots Grill & Bar and you will be greeted by images of many patrons (and a few famous individuals) all over the walls of an upscale rustic décor befitting a southern favorite. It’s a comfortable atmosphere and server, Kristin Beach, was most gracious as I looked over the extensive menu. Ultimately, Kristin recommended the “Come-back Burger” and it did not disappoint.
By Sheena Gregg
Anyone who’s driven through Tuscaloosa has likely noticed the major construction that’s happened in our city over the summer. All the construction means a lot of new shopping options in Tuscaloosa, including a premier shopping experience for the foodies in town. Now open for almost two months, The Fresh Market in The Shoppes at Legacy Park on McFarland Boulevard has been tantalizing Tuscaloosans with its European style market and vast selection of specialty foods.
It may be hot this season, but the long summer days have got us ready to enjoy dinner on the patio at Tuscaloosa’s most popular restaurants. Check out our recommendations to enjoy an al fresco breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Tuscaloosa style.
By Sheena Gregg
Area residents in the mood for a unique snack like Sriracha popcorn or a nostalgic candy favorite like Razzles or Turkish taffy now have a place to satisfy those cravings at a place called, appropriately enough, “Cravings.” New York native Dan Robinson has enhanced downtown Tuscaloosa with a store to meet the needs of any food lover. Robinson is no stranger to providing unique, delectable treats to a community, having previously owned The Candy Bar, a specialty grocery in New Orleans’ French Quarter.