Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Steamer’s Restaurant reopens after four-year hiatus

For many students new to Tuscaloosa, Steamer’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar is just another new restaurant in town, but those with memories of the area are welcoming back the eatery from its four-year hiatus.

“We were always a favorite with college students, and we hope to get that niche back,” said Heath Wyatt, part owner of Steamer’s.

Twins Heath and Keith Wyatt, both UA graduates, first started Steamer’s in 1996 when they were 21 years old. The restaurant sat in the current location of Sitar on 15th Street. After surprising amounts of growth, the owners moved to a spot on Hargrove Road across from Snow Hinton Park in 2001.

Another growth spurt led the brothers to move from the 200-seat capacity building on Hargrove Road to a 600-seat capacity building across the Black Warrior River in 2006. After two years in that location, they sold the business to Wintzell’s Oyster House.

“There were some pretty strict no-compete clauses in that contract,” Wyatt said. “We could get the name back after three years, but we really didn’t have any intentions to.”

After the no-compete clause ran out, however, the brothers began to think about returning to their original business, and when the building on Hargrove that they formerly inhabited became open, they jumped at the opportunity. Since opening on Feb. 1, they said business has been good.

“It’s really been overwhelming,” Wyatt said. “Our biggest enjoyment is people coming up and thanking us for coming back, saying they missed us.”

Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., Steamer’s will feature half-price appetizers, $2 pints, $2 well drinks and $3 wine. They will also have live trivia on Tuesday nights beginning Feb. 21.

Between the time the brothers sold Steamer’s and when they reopened it, they also bought what used to be Brown’s Department Store and opened Brown’s Corner Dueling Piano Bar. But after having trouble holding onto enough skilled pianists, they dropped the piano bar theme and turned it into more of a nightclub.

“We’re working on a concept to bring another restaurant there,” Wyatt said. “It’s so big that it would still be available to rent out for parties upstairs.”

The brothers also own and operate a small fish market near the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, also called Steamer’s, and the Bama Belle riverboat which Wyatt calls “the fun business.”

The new reopening of Steamer’s will serve the same steamed shellfish that made it so popular years before, especially among college students. Every Thursday, the restaurant will feature all-you-can-eat crawfish.

“Our biggest draw with college students has always been crawfish,” Wyatt said.

He said the next step for drawing college students is being able to take Bama Cash, and that’s something they are looking into.

For more information, or to contact Wyatt about Bama Belle or Brown’s Corner rental events, call 205-342-2334.

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