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Category Archives: Vegetarian

Mugshots Grill and Bar

Mugshots is my favorite burger place in Tuscaloosa.  It is located downtown and is a good place to go for lunch if you are looking for somewhere close to campus that is not on the Strip.  It is also a good place to go before catching a show at the Bama Theatre or a wine tasting at Carpe Vino.  Note that if you visit Mugshots at a “peak” hour (lunch or dinner) or during a home football game weekend, you will likely have to wait a little while for a seat.  As the crowd might indicate, however, it is worth the wait.

When you first walk into Mugshots, you will note the “sports bar” like atmosphere with jersey’s and, because we are in Tuscaloosa, all things Crimson Tide on the walls.  You will see ESPN on televisions scattered throughout the restaurant, which is located in an old building that still houses much of its original character (like the brick walls, which hold not only sports memorabilia but also the “mugshots” of customers sent in from around the country and the world).

Mugshots is the home of the burger, serving up everything from the standard to the gourmet (peanut butter burger anyone?) including the three patty, six bacon strip, behemoth: the Mugshot (eat your meal, including beer battered fries, an onion ring, and a hand-battered pickle, in 12 minutes or less and it’s free!).  If burgers aren’t your thing, there is still plenty for you to eat: from sandwiches, to pastas, to Mugshot specialties like grilled Ahi Tuna, and much more.

I make a visit to Mugshots every time I have visitors from out of town, and it is yet to disappoint them.  Being a vegetarian, my natural burger choice is Brady’s Black Bean Burger.  I should note that I did not ask if the black bean burger can be substituted for the beef patty in their other burgers, but I don’t see why this would be a problem.  The black bean burger, like all Mugshot’s burgers, is huge.  Add to it a very large “side” of beer-battered fries or onion rings (it’s hard to choose) and you’ve got a very filling meal.  I can never finish the whole plate and on this trip, my dining companion, who ordered the Katie’s Kickin’ Chicken Basket appetizer, couldn’t finish theirs either. My advice if you plan on eating at Mugshots: come hungry or plan to take food home.

The black bean burger itself is handmade and better (and thicker) than most black bean burgers I’ve had before.  It is certainly better than any of the frozen brands available.  The burger sits on a large sourdough bun, which is a good thing because these patties are hard to contain.  The black bean burger includes a combination of items that at first seem odd, but the red onions and mayo create an interesting blend with the mildness of the burger.  Add pickle, tomato, lettuce, sautéed mushrooms and Swiss and cheddar cheeses, and you get a burger in which every bite is filled with different flavor combinations—none of which are disappointing.

Mugshots has so many interesting selections, you should never be disappointed.  The staff is always kind but, if they’re busy, you might have to wait longer than usual and it is sometimes a good idea to remind your waiter or waitress that you’re still there.  Prices are good, especially considering the large portions you receive.  Mugshots has other locations (though it remains exclusive to AL, MS, and LA), of course, but if you’re in Tuscaloosa, you have to try it.  Especially that peanut butter burger…

[amanda stevens]

Mugshot’s is located at 511 Greensboro Ave, just south University and across from Chuck’s Fish.

Monday-Saturday: 11am-2am
Sunday: 11am-12am

Manna Grocery

In a town like Tuscaloosa, home to pulled pork and wings, being a vegetarian can be hard.  The answer, my fellow herbivores (and omnivores), is Manna Grocery and Deli.  Manna is separated into two sections: the grocery section located at the front of the store and the deli/restaurant section near the back of the store and is a fabulous spot to eat whether you are grabbing lunch for the afternoon or for the next week.

The grocery section, while not large, is adequately stocked with products you can’t find in most other stores around Tuscaloosa.  While Manna is slightly pricier than say Target or Publix on products you can get around town (primarily Morningstar and Boca products), it is only a dollar or so difference and you are supporting a local business rather than a chain store (not to mention the selection of vegan/vegetarian/organic options is much larger).  Also, Manna offers more than just organic food, sporting organic beauty products, supplements, and some other miscellaneous items like jewelry and candles.

If you venture out of the grocery section, you will find the small deli in the back.  The deli section offers cheeses, cold vegetarian and vegan snacks, limited fresh produce (you should note that this is all the fresh produce that is offered), and to-go wraps, sandwiches and burritos.  If you aren’t in the mood for cold selections, however, you can order something hot from the restaurant area.

The restaurant area is right next to the deli and offers four types of vegetarian pizza and all vegetarian burgers. But fear not, my meat-loving friends, there’s plenty for you too (and it’s healthier than anything you can get from a crinkly paper bag)!  Manna offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian paninis, sandwiches, burritos, and salad and soup plates, as well as daily specials, which vary from day to day (you can find them on their website). The restaurant, like the store, isn’t large, but there is ample room.  I ate there at around 11:30 a.m. and though it was busy, there were still tables available.

For lunch, I chose the veggie and goat cheese panini.  I should note that I’d never had goat cheese before and subsequently discovered that I am not a fan, but the panini was still very flavorful.  The portabella mushroom added a tangy taste that mixed well with the other veggies and ingredients.  The bread was well toasted and really added to the flavor.  The panini was also very filling but if you’re still hungry you get your choice of chips to go with it—not to mention you can add dessert to your meal. Chocolate or mint chocolate pie, anyone?

The staff there is also very helpful.  Anytime I’ve been in the grocery section I’ve received assistance and found the same to be true when ordering food.  With great food and a helpful staff, Manna is a nice place to visit if you’re looking for a quick meal between classes.  As a vegetarian I feel lucky to have a place like Manna that offers alternatives to the limited selection of vegetarian foods found in larger stores around town.  It’s a good place to go if you’re a vegetarian looking for variety or if you’re just looking for healthier alternatives to Tuscaloosa’s usual fare.

[amanda stevens]

Manna Grocery is located at 2300 McFarland Blvd East across from Snow Hinton Park.

Manna’s store hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm.
Their deli/restaurant/lunch hours are from 11am-2:3opm Monday-Friday and 11am-2pm on Saturdays.