DPT Student Tuscaloosa Food Reviews: #1 Robert "Taylor" McSwain

DPT Student Tuscaloosa Food Reviews: #1 Robert "Taylor" McSwain

We welcomed our first Doctor of Physical Therapy Student to Physiolete in the Fall of 2020. We had a great 16 weeks with Robert “Taylor” McSwain teaching him all things physical therapy, but little did we know what he would teach us. Taylor made it his mission to try as many local food spots for lunch in Tuscaloosa as possible while he was here. We asked clients and Element Fitness members where he should go each day and he came pretty close to going just about everywhere! We are highlighting some of Taylor’s top reviews for you with hopes that you’ll go check out some of these local spots! Thanks to Taylor, we’ll probably encourage all of our students from here on out to do a Tuscaloosa Food Review for us. Enjoy the inaugural Food Review from the original man himself!

If you are like me, you like food and you can’t cook. This can pose a problem when you are on a clinical rotation in a town that you aren’t familiar with. Lucky for you, I destroyed my bank account and my body eating out during my rotation here in Tuscaloosa. The only thing in return that I ask of you is that you do not judge me for how long this list is.


  • Avenue Pub: Simple menu, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t excellent. It can get expensive--but it is worth it. I can vouch for the steak sandwich, chicken sandwich, and burger. 
  • Babe’s Donuts: Just go in there and get some. Don’t feel bad about it. I went so often that the guy behind the counter recognized me even when I was wearing a mask. 
  • Brick and Spoon: Great brunch place that is close by and will get you your food quick enough for you to get lunch and be back to work in an hour.
  • Buffalo Phil’s: Best bone-in wings in town. Very wet wings that come from a Tuscaloosa staple. 
  • Depalma’s Italian Café: This is the best pizza in town. Everything I had here was good. The food takes a while to make because they hand-make everything. I had the pizza, the Pasta Depalma, and the Grilled salmon with citrus salsa verde and they were all very good. 
  • Dreamland BBQ: The best BBQ in town and it isn’t close. The ribs are what you are going to want to order. Also, get the banana pudding. There are two locations, the Northport location is closer and has more options but the Tuscaloosa location is the original location and has the better ribs. 
  • Catfish Heaven: Really good catfish and the best wings in town. Also, do yourself a favor and order one of the punches to drink. This place isn’t a traditional restaurant as you order over the phone/online and pick it up when it’s ready. It is basically just a room with an order and pickup window.
  • Five Bar: You can pick from one of five dishes here. I had the shrimp and enjoyed it but apparently, the burger is the real reason to go as I was scolded for not ordering it. 
  • Innisfree: I loved this place. It is bar food, but still pretty good. Lunch specials include 1 meat, 3 sides, cornbread, and a drink for about $11. Great hamburger steak as well as pretty decent wings. 
  • Just Love Coffee: Amazing gourmet waffles. Every dish they serve that would traditionally come on a biscuit or toast comes on a waffle. I really liked the chicken waffle dippers, but I’m not sure how the waffle thing would taste with something like avocado toast?
  • Local Roots: Great burgers and great chicken sandwiches. This is a local fast food place that has a restaurant taste to it. 
  • Metro Diner: The chicken and waffles were very good and so were the beef tips and rice. 
  • Mugshot’s: Makes crazy burgers. Try the pizza burger and the peanut butter burger. Trust me. 
  • Nick’s Original Filet House: Best steak place in town. That’s all that needs to be said. 
  • Rama Jama’s: Probably my favorite place in town. They serve breakfast all day and their burgers are “thicc.” That’s thicc with 2 C’s. You have to fight these burgers while you eat them because they are so meaty. Get the “National Championship” burger. Do it. Be warned, this place is right beside the Alabama football stadium and they made me get my order to go when I wore my Arkansas Razorback mask. 
Robert Taylor McSwain in an Arkansas Razorback Mask

The "infamous" Razorbacks mask Taylor wore in Rama Jama's


  • Sharks Fish and Chicken: Best boneless wings in town that don’t come from a chain. These wings are original because they are cooked similar to Korean-style wings but the flavors are American. 
  • Taco Casa: Great greasy tacos for a drive-through location. The tacos and beefy nachos are the best. This is the superior taco joint in town.
  • Taco Mama: The pulled pork taco is better than it has any business being. It can be hard to get food here because the college kids swarm this place during lunch, even during a global pandemic. Taco Mama is taking precautions of course.
  • T-Town Café: Great food that comes fast. This place is what they mean when they say “food for the soul.” Another one of my favorite places in town.