Knowing the best brunch spots near campus is crucial to surviving your university days. Ever woken up on Saturday morning (or Friday, we don’t judge here) with a killer headache that only a mountain of scrambled eggs and a gallon of coffee can cure? Well, you’re in luck because I’m gonna break down the best places in the Tuscaloosa area for when you’re hungover and need breakfast food ASAP.
1. Another Broken Egg
This one is a bit of no-brainer if you’ve lived in Tuscaloosa for a while, but it’s a classic for a reason. Located on the Black Warrior River, it has a casual, relaxed atmosphere perfect for nursing the remnants of last night’s shenanigans. One caveat, though – if you’re looking for something quick on a weekend morning, try one of the other options on this list. It’s no secret that this is one of the best brunch spots, and since it’s only two minutes from campus it tends to get very busy.
They’ve got healthier options on the menu, but this is really the place to go if you’re looking to indulge in the sweeter and greasier side of breakfast food. And if hair-of-the-dog is your preferred treatment method, they have a range of signature and seasonal cocktails (I’m looking at you Spiced Pumpkin Cold Brew).
2. The Waysider
The Waysider is another well-known Tuscaloosa staple, but if you’re new to UA you probably won’t have noticed it. Located downtown in a small red house, it can be hard to find if you don’t know to look for it. This place has earned its spot on a list of the best brunch spots, though. They’ve been serving food since 1951, and the walls are decorated with photographic evidence of just how beloved it is by locals and football legends alike. It definitely has a Bama football theme and the decor leans into it.
This is the place to go if you want classic, no fuss, breakfast staples; you won’t find anything innovative on the menu, but everything you do find is sure to be delicious.
Okay, this one is a little further away, across the river, but hear me out! The distance (and it’s not that far from campus, about 15 minutes) means that few students venture here for a weekend breakfast. That means no wait and a quieter atmosphere for when you need one of the best brunch spots to also be one of the least-likely-to-make-your-head-pound brunch spots.
Edgar’s gets bonus points for being a bakery as well as a cafe. You can have a side of cake with your eggs if you so desire.
4. Holler & Dash
In addition to being one of Tuscaloosa’s best brunch spots, Holler & Dash isn’t just close to campus, it’s practically on campus. Their specialty is biscuits, and they serve a range of delicious, savory, breakfast sandwiches – perfect for when you’re so hungover just the idea of holding a fork makes you tired.
One of their oft over-looked, sweet menu items could be just what you need, though. The beignets come with a coffee dipping sauce. And are they a substitute for the pillowy doughnuts and hickory coffee you’d find in New Orleans? No, but it can’t always be formal season, and these are a great substitute. Plus, the combination of sugar and caffeine will give you a two-for-one energy boost.
5. City Cafe
City Cafe, just across the river in downtown Northport, is where you should have your Uber take you when you want to fight a hangover preemptively and you’re tired of ending up at Waffle House. The obvious downside to City Cafe is that it’s only open on weekdays, but if your Thursday night has become Friday morning, you’re in luck, they open at 4AM. You should be prepared to stand out a little; the reason they open so early is to feed the farmers heading out to work.
The food is well worth a few stares, though. When you hear southerners speak fondly of things like “good down-home cooking,” this is what they mean. Think eggs, grits, biscuits, and hashbrowns. And the best part? It’s one of the few places you can get a full meal for under five dollars. In fact, it’s so good it makes my list of the best brunch spots in Tuscaloosa even though it’s technically in Northport.
6. Metro Diner
Metro Diner can be found in the Midtown Village shopping center about ten minutes from campus. It may look unassuming on the outside, but don’t be fooled. This is a great spot when you have a group with split opinions on brunch. Some people prefer breakfast and some people prefer lunch (they’re wrong, but we love them anyway). Metro Diner has options for both camps.
7. Heritage House Coffee
This is really a coffee shop that happens to serve breakfast food. The food is good, but if a delicious, hearty meal is what you’re after, try one of the other places on this list. This is the place to come when you’d like a few carbs with your espresso.
They do all of your typical espresso drinks with the milk or non-milk of your choice, plus they have several specialty drinks that will satisfy anyone who likes their coffee to taste more like dessert. Fair warning, the decor in Heritage House leans towards inspirational quotes, not always what you want to see while you’re trying to cure last night’s questionable decisions. If that’s the case, try Monarch Espresso Bar where there are fewer food options, but also fewer guilt trips.
8. Farm Bowl + Juice Co.
You may have noticed that this list skews more towards the “hangovers are best cured with caffeine and carbs” philosophy, but sometimes they can be just the incentive you need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Farm Bowl can help. They specialize in oatmeal and acai bowls, but they also do smoothies, juices, and wellness shots for when you need a hard reset on your healthy eating goal. They’ve even got a drive-thru for those days when you can’t be bothered to do more than throw a baseball cap over last night’s hair.