It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Alabama: football season. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore fan or just in it for the Saturday revelry, you’re going to get hungry. Leave the suspense to fourth and 1 – we’ve got the go-to places for chowing down on game day figured out.
Birmingham: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Samford University and Birmingham-Southern College
Located in Five Points South, this funky pizza place makes its dough from scratch daily and offers an impressive array of toppings to choose from. If you’re still in town on Sunday, you’ll want to try their indulgent brunch menu and the create-your-own bloody mary bar.
A five-minute drive from the Samford stadium, Homewood Gourmet has popular sandwich and salad options for lunch and take-home dinners for a crowd. Headed straight to the tailgate? Pick up an assortment of fresh salads to contribute to the spread.
You’ll discover a little bit of Greece at Nabeel’s between downtown Homewood and Edgewood. The restaurant and attached market are as authentic as it gets and are especially well known for moussaka and the Camel Rider sandwich.
Niki’s West is a meat-and-three institution with fans far and wide. The cafeteria-style service lets diners choose from a huge selection of home-cooked favorites like turnip greens, fried chicken, stewed tomatoes and boiled okra. And take a tip from the regulars: Don’t forget to save room for a bowl of Niki’s famous banana pudding.
Todd English P.U.B.
In the Uptown area of Birmingham, Todd English P.U.B. serves Southern interpretations of traditional gastropub staples. Cool off with an “adult milkshake” such as the Banana Monkey that’s spiked with banana liqueur.
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Head to Baumhower’s to check out the extensive menu of wings, burgers and more before, during or after the game. The atmosphere is great, especially during away games when you can cheer with those still in town.
The Cypress Inn
The combination of family recipes and local ingredients – from the smoked chicken to the bran muffins – is what makes this eatery popular. Built with cypress wood, the restaurant is perfectly suited for the landscape along the Black Warrior River.
As much as Innisfree has evolved, it will always be that place to escape and have a good time. Whether it’s for a game day weekend, to reminisce on college days, or to create new memories, if you are looking for a good time, there’s only one thing to do – Head to the Free. Make sure to try their pub fries!
Auburn University, Auburn
Located inside The Hotel at Auburn University, Ariccia is a prime place to wind down after games. Offering trattoria-style Italian cuisine, this cozy dinner destination has private patio seating to allow alfresco dining all year long.
The Hound is a family owned restaurant and bar featuring over-the-top American classics, top shelf bourbon and 28 craft beers on tap. It features bacon from heritage breed pork as well as other organic and humanely raised meats. The atmosphere was designed to be warm and welcoming- think hunting lodge, antler-pronged barn setting with the hustle and bustle of old time Alabama.
Big Blue Bagel & Deli
The restaurant is one of the most popular gathering places for Auburn students, faculty and locals. One of the favorite items on the menu, Tiger Melt, was named along with Big Blue’s Fantastic Bagel Chips as one of the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die“!
Troy University, Troy
Home to some of the best country cooking in the state, Sisters’ has been operated by sisters Pat Rogers and Geraldine Umbehagen for almost 15 years. Get your fill of home-cooked favorites during the week, or stop by on a Friday night for the seafood buffet.
Alabama State University, Montgomery
Chris’ Hot Dogs
Less than 2 miles from campus, Chris’ Hot Dogs has been a Montgomery tradition since 1917. Keep your order simple and choose hot dogs with Chris’ famous sauce. A bonus? Hank Williams is rumored to have enjoyed a dog or two at this legendary spot.
Alabama A&M University, Huntsville
Boasting some of the best wings in Huntsville, Beauregard’s is a great group destination. Enjoy the buzzing sports bar vibe and menu of ribs, burgers, salads and, of course, the restaurant’s signature habanero wings.
The views expressed here are those of the author.