Dreamland. The moniker of the city’s most famous eatery pretty much sums up the whole culinary picture here. Because today in Tuscaloosa diners can have it all, from the traditional Southern meat-and-three to world-class international cuisine.
The famous Dreamland Bar-b-que has been dishing up its signature succulent ribs since 1958, when “Big Daddy” Bishop opened the first location. The meat is still cooked in a hickory-fired brick pit and diners agree that, truly, there “ain’t nothing like ‘em nowhere.”
There are plenty of new culinary kids on the block as well, though. FIG, which bills itself as “casual gourmet,” has a devoted following both for its warm atmosphere and for favorite dishes such as the chicken salad and the peanut butter cake. The chefs here also support fair trade practices and organic growers.
With the Gulf Coast less than a day’s drive away, fresh seafood is always on the menu at Evangeline’s, one of the city’s premier dining and entertaining spots, featuring favorite items such as the shrimptini, langoustine potpie and catfish Allyson.
For historic ambience in the heart of downtown, head to Epiphany Fine Dining, housed in a restored department store and known as much for its 100-year-old wood floors and vaulted brick archways as for the fine American Southern cuisine served here.
Perhaps most exciting on Tuscaloosa’s epicurean scene is the opening of Carpe Vino, a wine shop with a twist: Not only can patrons buy fine wine here, but they can also relax on the couches under hand-crafted wine glass chandeliers and open and drink their selections right in the shop. With more than 200 wines by the bottle in a range of prices for every budget, Carpe Vino has quickly become a favorite gathering spot in downtown Tuscaloosa. The shop also has weekly wine tastings and promises to be an “attitude-free” place to enjoy the fruit of the vine.