A guide to some of the best places in Title Town.
Laura Brooks | Writing Contributor
While students and football games are back, so are the long waits at restaurants and no available parking. This serves as fall being both a blessing and a curse to most townies, so a few local places are held close to act as an escape from the buzz on campus.
“The minute students get back into town, the culture changes and so does the traffic,” says Lauren Love, who was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “This leaves a lot of locals, like me, feeling a little overwhelmed.”
She goes on to say how Tuscaloosa thrives in the fall, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t use a few places to get away from the crowds.
Below is a list of places you may or may not have heard of. If you haven’t, maybe they can serve as a sweet getaway. But if you have heard of them, don’t spread the word too fast.
A short drive to downtown Northport is where you’ll find this quaint antique store full of beautiful items imported from Europe. If you visit, you will be accompanied by old postcards from Spain, vintage posters from France and antique bottles from Italy. There is so much more to see, and it is a beautiful find if you are looking to feel like you have escaped town.
Johnson’s Garden’s Gifts & Interiors
Formerly known as The Plant Lady, Johnson’s Garden’s Gifts & Interiors is a plant lover’s dream. There are two separate nurseries along with the whole perimeter of the building is covered in a variety of plants and shrubbery.
Sahar Aryanpure, a native of Tuscaloosa says she goes there all the time with her mom.
“It’s like an oasis,” Aryanpure says. “We could spend hours there.” You will also find the renowned cat either sleeping in the shade or curled up by one of the bird baths.
Placed in a small, pale blue building right down the street from Tuscaloosa’s well-known coffee shops, Ernest & Hadley is the only indie bookstore store in the city of Tuscaloosa. Named after Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson, the owners have a sweet story of why they named their bookstore after them. You’ll have to go by and ask about the story.
Eats and Drinks
If you’ve been to Tuscaloosa, the name Five probably rings a bell. But what you may not know is that Five restaurant also has a coffee shop open from 8 p.m. to 3 p.m. every day. Located directly beside Five Bar, Five Java serves coffee, juices and pastries in a vintage, groovy environment perfect for studying. And in my opinion, they also have the best coffee shop playlist.
A personal favorite, you can find Fridas Mexican Grill across the River in Northport, Alabama. It may be a bit of a drive, but so worth it. Conveniently near Lake Tuscaloosa, it has become the normal for locals to swing by Fridas for their after-lake-day meal. Try the VIP guacamole next time you give it a try.
Antojitos Izacalli is close to campus and arguably the home of the best chicken tacos. Word of mouth spreads fast about Antojitos, and the upperclassmen will know of it and can tell you where to find it.
Tuscaloosa has one local ice cream shop to its name, and that is Ingram Farms. It used to be in the city of Tuscaloosa but was taken over by a gas station. Now, it is in Northport on Highway 43. Not only do they sell Blue Bell Ice Cream, but they also sell produce and fruits. Go by and pick up some local fruits and vegetables with a sweet treat!
This sweet Mexican bakery houses some of the best flan and bread you will have in Tuscaloosa. After you have dinner at Antojitos, you can support this local business right down the street and grab some dessert.
Laura Brooks serves as a contributing writer. She is a senior studying English with a minor in creative writing and public relations. This is her first year with Alice and she is excited to see what is in store this upcoming year.