And of course, it has a connection to Alabama football.

Facebook/The Historic Waysider Restaurant

In many Southern cities and towns, some of the places with the most authentic food and friendly service don’t look especially fancy. The atmosphere and the people matter just as much as the meal itself. Enter The Historic Waysider Restaurant, known simply as The Waysider, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Waysider has been serving Southern dishes since 1951, and touts itself as the oldest continuously operating restaurant in West Alabama.

Be prepared to wait for a table on the old wooden church pew that sits on the red house’s porch, especially if you visit on a home football game weekend in the fall, but it’ll be worth it. The dining area might be smaller than your Joanna Gaines-inspired open-concept living area, but you’ll be comfy at the wooden tables that resemble the ones in your own grandmother's kitchen.

It’s hard to miss the cardboard cut-out of Coach Nick Saban when you first walk in, but the next thing you’ll notice is the wall plastered with paintings and pictures of Alabama football. Because The Waysider has a list of famous clientele (at least from the sports world), many pieces of memorabilia are signed by the star coaches or players they're putting on display. The ESPN College Game Day crew, national championship winning coach Gene Stallings, and world heavyweight boxing champion, Tuscaloosa native Deontay Wilder have enjoyed meals at those wooden tables too. One of the most memorable pieces of history is a small table tucked in the corner by the door. That's the table where Alabama legend coach Paul “Bear” Bryant quietly enjoyed his menu favorite, country ham, on early mornings.  

Speaking of country ham, it’s time to talk about the food. If you’ve ever described a restaurant as having food that “tastes like Grandma’s,” wait until you dig into a bowl of cheese grits or a short stack of homemade hot cakes. And don't be surprised to receive pancakes in the form of the University of Alabama’s mascot, Big Al, especially if you’re wearing the visiting team’s colors on a game weekend. The Waysider’s breakfast is simple and delicious. The no-fuss menu features Southern breakfast classics like Steak with Two Eggs (any way you like it) and Biscuits with Red Eye Gravy. The biscuits are fluffy, buttery, and small enough that if you’re not careful, you might put a few too many away before your meal arrives. Rumor has it, there’s no recipe for The Waysider’s renowned biscuits—it’s all based on memory and just-right texture.

The Waysider serves breakfast-only on the weekends but has lunch specials Tuesday through Friday, handwritten daily. You can order Southern classics like fried green tomatoes, turnip greens, squash casserole, fried catfish and oysters, and homemade pies and cobblers, but the breakfast menu isn’t off-limits at lunchtime.

So if you ever find yourself in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, make your way to the tiny red house that serves better-than-Mama’s biscuits. (Remember: parking is in the back.) You might run into a Heisman trophy winner, you might make a friend at the neighboring table, you might get too full on biscuits and coffee–but you’ll definitely feel at home.

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At The Waysider, breakfast is served Tuesday through Friday from 5:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday from 6:30 a.m.-noon, and Sunday from 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.. Closed on Monday.