‘Can’t miss stop’: One of Tuscaloosa’s oldest restaurants thrives

Jennifer Baggett, Contributing Writer

The Waysider Restaurant was established in 1906, making it one of the oldest restaurants in Tuscaloosa according to city records. 

Sometimes called the “little red house,” Waysider is located on Greensboro Avenue, just off 15th Street. It remains on many visitor’s lists as one of the town’s cornerstone restaurant destinations thanks to its rich history, Southern hospitality and famous breakfast.

One of the main attractions is the two-seater table where Paul “Bear” Bryant sat when he came for breakfast. On most mornings during Bryant’s time at the University, he made his way to Waysider and ordered his usual country ham. His storied corner table was preserved during the restaurant’s small makeover and marked to ensure it was returned to the exact location. That fixture Bryant cast as a staple of Alabama football made Waysider a must-visit location. 

Waysider cherishes that reputation.  The legacy plays a large part, but it’s also a symbol of how the history of a small breakfast place can be intertwined with a national powerhouse. 

Sometimes people come in, take a look around, check out the pictures and walk out. Some treat it like a museum. On a game day, the restaurant  can serve several hundred guests in a day at the roughly 50-seat restaurant.

“The family atmosphere and Tuscaloosa tradition make The Waysider a can’t-miss stop,” said James Gray, a native of Jasper, Alabama.  

He’s been dining at the restaurant for years, especially as a game day tradition. Now, he brings his children.

“All the changes over the past few years in and around Tuscaloosa, this place still feels like home,” Gray said.  

Matthew Parris, from Birmingham, and Jacob Trimm, from Mobile, like to stop by with friends when they’re both in town. 

“There’s always quite the crowd, it’s sort of like being at your grandmother’s,” Trimm said. 

The staff is known by some patrons to be welcoming, which adds to the feeling of home. 

“The staff calls almost everyone who walks in by name,” Parris said. “It’s a nice feeling.”