Taste of Tuscaloosa: The Side By Side Lives Up to This Foodie’s High Standards

By Sheena Gregg


The news that James Beard Award winner and Iron Chef competitor Chris Hastings has a restaurant in Tuscaloosa is a dream come true for this enthusiastic foodie. Located in the new Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Tuscaloosa, The Side by Side Restaurant achieves its primary goal of bringing out the gourmand in every visitor, enticing customers to not only enjoy eating, but to savor the entire food and restaurant experience.


Chef de Cuisine Patrick Brawley believes that patrons can expect a dedication to using local ingredients that inspire the seasonal menu.


“We want diners to know that we use local, fresh ingredients. We have exciting partnerships coming along, including the potential of working with the Druid City Garden Project.”


Experiences working alongside Chef Hastings at Hot and Hot Fish Club and also independently in the Cayman Islands have gifted Chef Brawley with a magnitude of flavor talents that make The Side by Side unique. To top off the gastronomic talents of Tuscaloosa’s newest eatery, The Side by Side also features Chef Edward Gee, former Senior Pastry Sous Chef for the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, Florida.


I decided to treat myself to a perfect afternoon of enjoying all that The Side by Side has to offer. Arriving for an early afternoon lunch, I was eager to try multiple things on the menu. My server, Misty, was a delight, providing details on specials and sharing the day’s Seasonal Vegetable Plate selections. I opted for the vegetable plate while also hungrily deciding to try the famous Dad’s Grilled Chicken with Panzanella.


Waiting on my food, I was overtaken by the variety of ambiance that was naturally part of The Side by Side environment. A rotunda with gorgeous natural light provided a casual elegance, while other areas of the restaurant portrayed a more upscale atmosphere, including the private dining area to accommodate intimate parties.


Soon, my table began to fill with my selections. The balance of flavors and the acidity of the vegetable plate were quickly obvious as I took my first bite of a roasted, stuffed bell pepper. The juiciness of the grilled chicken perfectly complemented the anticipated textures of the panzanella. Thinking I could no longer continue eating, I joyfully found room for Chef Gee’s special Strawberry Short Cake creation, featuring a honey butter biscuit and refreshing strawberry ice cream.


Knowing the quality of dishes I had at lunch make me even more eager to enjoy a Side by Side dinner experience. I found the flavors to be exceptional. The pricing was extremely competitive with other lunches in Tuscaloosa. Though I almost felt like the food was too beautiful to eat at times, my taste buds are thankful that I was able to enjoy such a delicious dining experience.


For more information on The Side by Side Restaurant, please visit www.thesidebysiderestaurant.com.


Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at www.afilipinofoodie.com.

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Sheena Gregg

Registered Dietitian/Assistant Director, Health Education and Nutrition Services at The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheena-gregg-83612a9b

Lake Tuscaloosa Living (LTL) is the premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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