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Mar 21, 2007 11:14 AM

Tuscaloosa Alabama Chow

I'll be eating my way across the Deep South soon and Tuscaloosa is on the agenda.Love Dreamland,love City Diner,love Archibalds.Surely there are other places that I'm missing though.I prefer small,family run joints either in the woods or conveniently located near railroad tracks.Wrong side of town is not a problem....I actually prefer the wrong side of town when it comes to eating.

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  1. Is Dreamland still in business? It was a great, different, special, awesome place, deep in the woods, hard to find, and nearly perfect twenty years ago. But my favorite spot in Tuscaloosa was for breakfast at the Wayside. Now that was special. I'd be hornswaggled if it is still there.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Caponer

      Yes, Dreamland is still open in Tuscaloosa, Northport, Birmingham, Mobile, et al. I ate at Dreamland in T-town three days ago. That was my first (and probably last) Dreamland experience. I just don't get it. Ribs and white bread -- that is all. The ribs were mostly fat. There was very little meat. The meat that was there was dripping with too much of a too tangy BBQ sauce. It did nothing for me.

      1. re: Sister Sue

        I agree w/ Sister Sue about Dreamland. The one--and only--time I ate there, I thought the ribs were just terrible. Poor quality of rib, underdone, tough, fatty, and the sauce was forgettable. I guess it's something you have to have grown up with. I have no idea how they stay in business, much less thrive.

        1. re: NOLAFrank

          i'm going to have to "third" these comments...i was taken there the one time i was in tuscaloosa, and i thought i was there on an off day or something. but NOLAfrank describes my experience exactly. you know, there was a lot of "meat" on the bones, it was kind of fatty, but any good cook can slowcook that kind of cut or start with a braise or something and make those good - . but, they're not good. they are underdone and tough, disappointing....

          1. re: fatstern

            We go to Dreamland in Huntsville every time we're there and they're the best ribs I've ever had. I will agree that the consistency isn't always there but the worst ribs I've had were "Very good" and then usually they're incredible. I like the sauce and love saucy stuff so it doesn't bother me. My wife and some of the others order theirs without sauce.

            I've not heard many good reviews of the Tuscaloosa DL lately. Perhaps they're using poorer quality ribs or something now, I don't know. But they haven't been in business for all this time because they suck.


        2. re: Sister Sue

          We made a special detour to try the Dreamland in Birminham. ITA with y'all 's assessment of the ribs with too much fat. And not cooked so long that the meat was falling off the ribs.
          At the time, we thought that maybe they checked our TN license plates and pulled out ribs that were due for five more hours .....
          Sorry, yet relieved, that our experience wasn't directed at us.

      2. For home cooking, especially the best biscuits anywhere, I second the Waysider on Greensboro Ave @ 15th Street in Tuscaloosa. You must go there for breakfast. Not exactly the whole in the wall you requested, but The Globe on Main Ave in Northport is excellent. To me most of Tuscaloosa's "nicer" restaurants (such as DePalma's) are a real disappointment - -though I've heard Cozy's is an exception (no personal experience).

        7 Replies
        1. re: Bluehound

          Is the amazing burger joint The Oasis still up and running?It was a little outside of Tuscaloosa proper,I think Cottondale?I was there eating a burger and sipping cold beer the day Conway Twitty died and it was memorable for both food and atmosphere.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            The Oasis is still up and running. They have a fabulous cheeseburger and onion rings. YUM. If you like places that are family run, try The Slabhouse in Greenpond. GREAT food, GREAT service. They bring fresh seafood in everyweek and have fresh hand cut steaks. One of our favorites!

            1. re: jr8fan

              Thanks for the tip...I'll make sure to make a sidetrip to Greenpond when I'm through that neck of the woods soon.How does it compare to Nick's In The Sticks?

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                A little different atmosphere than Nick's. Great steaks the same as Nick's though. I recommend their onion rings. They are delicious. You can also get a basket of hush puppies for $1 to eat while you wait on your meal although they do bring you bread. We usually skip the bread and go straight to hush puppies.

                1. re: jr8fan

                  Hitting Tuscaloosa again in March. Obviously making Archibald's the focus of the trip but am interested in branching out a bit too.

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                    Archibald's remains the best thing in town, followed I would argue by the antojitos and specials at the taqueria Jaripeo on University Blvd, and in a distant third the German lunch place Edelweiss.The rest is eh, though I have yet to try newish upscale lunch and dinner spot Melina's in Northport. Have never had more than okay meals at City Diner, the Waysider, or other meat 'n' threes: perhaps I am ordering wrong?

                    1. re: EricW

                      Mrs. Sippi is dying to go to Ramer Jamer.


        2. Definitely try Maggie's Diner on 12th or 13th and 27th -- west of Lurleen Wallace. Excellent meat and three. The 15th St. Diner is also good for meat and 3, and Bill's in Northport is another meat and 3 with outstanding cornbread. Catfish Delight is good. It has virtually no seating. I also recommend Nick's in the Sticks for a steak.
          More upscale places worth a visit include Chuck's for fish and Kozy's for a pretty high-end meal.
          The Globe has perished.
          For barbecue other than ribs, Jim and Ed's is a solid local joint, as is the Pottery Grill (the orginal is east of town). They have a Full Moon, too.

          8 Replies
          1. re: dcbbq

            Nick's in the Sticks and Kozy's are both gone. The Globe has been replaced by Melina's: have not yet tried it. 15th Street Diner is okay. I should have mentioned the lunches at Manna, on McFarland: good organic produce used for relatively creative full meals.

            I am eager to try Maggie's now, hope it is still around!

            1. re: EricW

              Nick's is gone?! That's a shock. Maggie's was there the day before the LSU game.

              1. re: dcbbq


                Great article above about Nick's.

                Nick's is not closed.

                They're open tonight [Thu Feb 4 2010] til 9pm if anybody wants to head over there for a cold Nicodemus and a steak.

              2. re: EricW

                Did Kozy's close in the past two weeks? I ate there like two weeks ago!!

                1. re: curej

                  Not sure where ericw gets his info but Kozy's, like Nicks in the Sticks, is not closed. Their kitchen is open til 9 pm tonight, Monday Feb 15th 2010.

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                    Must apologize for spreading bad info, got told Nick's was closed by a friend I trust and confused Kozy's with an upscale place in a mall that has indeed closed. But no good excuses. Have already been to Nick's in penance (decent, not more), and am looking forward to Kozy's, about which I now hear great things.

                    1. re: EricW

                      "upscale place in a mall"

                      Must be thinking of Evangeline's. It had been open for years in the Northport Galleria. Heard it was good, but never ate there.

                      I lived in Tuscaloosa for several years but was never impressed with the food options. A short drive to Birmingham changed things.

                      Also - about 90 minutes west of Tuscaloosa is Anthony's Market in West Point, MS. Amazing.

              1. Tuscaloosa has had several very good restaurants open in the past few years, but we never get a chance to try them. Seems like people forget Cypress Inn in Northport - it's wonderful. When we have time and they're open, we try to get to Nicks Filet House AKA Nick's in the Sticks.