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Jun 20, 2014 07:39 AM

Birmingham and Tuscaloosa

I'll be coming down to see a football game this fall and would like to set up an itinerary. As of now we are going to stay in Birmingham and go back and forth for the game. With that being said, we would like to get recommendations for :
a place to eat Friday night in Birmingham (High Lands, Hot&Hot etc)-prefer not to have wear a blazer
Suggestions on whether to eat in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa Saturday for brunch/lunch and then where. Also is there place on the way that is a must do (when we go to our home games there's a BBQ we always stop at on the way). And then where should we eat Saturday after the game? Thinking we should head back to Birmingham...
And then a great place to eat on the way to the airport on Sunday.
Additionally any tips on bars or places to go have fun would be much appreciated.
Thank you.

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  1. Hopefully some T-town regs will chime in (are there any) but Saturdays in Tuscaloosa are nuts. You should bring your own food and beer to tailgate. You could call into Archibald's in Northport but again, traffic can be brutal around any SEC football down within 4-5 hours before game time.

    For Friday night, I think you can get away with no coat at the bar area of Highlands. I would try for a reservation now.

    1. Dreamland is pretty good for Alabama Ribs and Q if you miss archibalds.

      Also, here is a fun little article

      5 Replies
      1. re: CharlesKochel

        No offense Charles and I have not been to the original in Ttown, but the Dreamland in BHM directly cooks their ribs over wood and coals. This is not (indirect) barbecue but flame grilled, which tends to make them tougher and they taste like a combination of burnt and sauce, which is NOT barbecue to me. YMMV.

        You could also get takeout from Saw's which is the best 'cue in BHM although I think Jim and Nicks can be respectible too.

        1. re: Dax

          No offense Dax but I think "Flame grilled" is rather misleading. As I tell people, it's slow cooked over a wood fire. See this video I shot:
          I've only been to the Dreamland in Huntsville and it's fantastic. Probably my favourite ribs. They do not taste burnt and you can ask for sauce on the side.
          They aren't pull off the bone tender but are far from what you'd consider tough. I'd say have a very nice chew to them.


          1. re: Davwud

            Real barbecue is offset cooking without direct heat. That is about as direct as it gets. I've been to Dreamland in BHM about 15 times and IMO you can sometimes taste the burnt/creosote flavor on them.

            I don't want "fall off the bone" by any means. A properly cooked rack should have some pull to the meat but I also don't want to feel like I'm gnawing on rawhide. This is not 100% of the case at Dreamland, but I can go to Saw's or even Jim and Nick's and get better ribs so why would I waste my money on DL? The only reason I go back is for work functions.

            1. re: Dax

              I never called them BBQ. If you read, I said "slow cooked OVER a wood fire." Also, I said "PULL off the bone" which is to say, properly cooked.

              Mostly though, they are part of the same chain but different restaurants. I do know the HSV works hard to maintain quality control. Even bringing in someone from the flagship. Perhaps if you visited HSV and I visited BHM we'd understand each others points of view.

              I've never had "rawhide" texture ribs. I've been probably at least a few dozen times. Almost always very good or better. There was a string of visits a few years ago where they weren't even good. Then one day I'm in Costco and see a guy in a DL shirt. He was expert brought in to fix things. Offered us a free dinner and they were just as great as ever.


              1. re: Davwud

                Fair enough, OP mentioned BBQ so I wanted to clarify that I don't consider DL ribs to be true 'cue. Additionally, while the one in TTown (and HSV) may be good, I would steer the OP away from grabbing tailgate from DL in BHM.

      2. You definitely won't need a tie and probably not a Friday night dinner thing either. But Green Acres Cafe serves up some really tasty Soul Food. We visited the one downtown. It's take out only but the park across the street is a nice setting to stop and consume your goodies. And perhaps ponder the past.
        In Tuscaloosa we've been to Rammer Jammer. It's a great little diner literally in the shadow of the stadium. As I understand it, it's hard to get near the place on game day.
        My nieces cousins have gone there and I hear tales of vendors selling tasty items around the stadium. May be worth investigating.