Tuscaloosa welcomes new restaurants this summerBy Sonya Haines | 08/28/2017 9:11am
Tuscaloosa is already home to some amazing food options, but over the summer even more restaurants were added to the roster. The city UA calls home now showcases Babe’s Doughnuts, Central Mesa, Aijan Sushi, Uperk Coffee and Frutta Bowls, each offering up a selection of options new to town.
Babe’s Doughnuts brings gourmet doughnuts to the Tuscaloosa area. Some of their specialty flavors include maple bacon, Heath bar sprinkle, Captain Crunch, red velvet cake and s’mores. They will also offer seasonal options like a king cake doughnut during Mardi Gras. They feature breakfast sandwiches too, including honey butter chicken biscuits and bacon avocado sandwiches. A trip to the doughnut shop would also never be complete without a cup of coffee, and Babe’s delivers on a steaming cup of Joe or iced beverages, offering a wide variety of coffee to pair with breakfast treats. Babe’s Gourmet Doughnuts is located downtown at 500 Greensboro Ave. The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Central Mesa serves up a new twist on traditional Mexican fare. With options such as Gulf-Catch Veracruz and Brisket and Grits, their extensive menu presents a new spin on Mexican favorites. Serving brunch on Sundays, between 10 a.m and 3 p.m., Central Mesa mixes breakfast foods such as eggs and pancakes with ingredients that are more traditional to the Mexican menu. They also have a happy hour weekdays between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. during which they offer a $5 Mesa margarita and a $3 beer, as well as $3 carnitas tostada and empanadas. Central Mesa is located at 519 Greensboro Ave.
Aijan Sushi is a new build-your-own sushi bar co-owned by former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. The new restaurant allows customers to create their own sushi rolls. For example, customers can add a layer of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to their rolls for an extra kick of spice. Aijan Sushi charges by the protein, so rolls come with unlimited veggies and sauces. Customers can create their own rolls at 1914 University Blvd. Aijan Sushi is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.
UPerk joins Tuscaloosa’s long list of coffee shops but has a more local, down-home feel. Serving up fresh coffee and tea along with pastries, UPerk uses local and fresh products. Uperk uses coffee from Seeds Coffee Co. located in Homewood, a small suburb of Birmingham, and their tea is from the locally-owned Tea Town in Tuscaloosa. In addition, they also offer homemade syrups to accompany their drinks. UPerk makes the majority of their food items in house using ingredients from a local farm, Katie Farms. The coffee shop is about more than just great food and drinks – they also find ways to serve their community through Project Coffee Table. Using student interns, called Table Setters, they partner with local nonprofits aimed at “brewing change in peace and justice,” according to their website. Uperk is located at 405 20th Ave. from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Frutta Bowls serves up fruit bowls and smoothies in a different way. Their bowls are more than just fruit; they come with fun toppings such as peanut butter, coconut, Nutella, and granola, just to list a few, and are customizable to each customer’s taste. The new Frutta Bowls is close to campus at 2530 University Blvd. and is open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.