In 1958 two legends began growing in Tuscaloosa Alabama.  That year Coach Paul William”Bear” Bryant came to the football program at UA.  The other legend that started that year is Dreamland BBQ.

Tuscaloosa was the first stop on our College Roadtrip for the summer.  My son wanted to tour the University of Alabama.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to introduce my family to this legend of food.

In 1958 the Dreamland cafe was located right where is still serves ribs from today.  About two miles from the intersection of Hwy 82 and Interstate 59 just south of Tuscaloosa in an area known as Jerusalem Heights.  John ‘Big Daddy’ Bishop built the original Dreamland by hand and it still stands today.

Big Daddy always said, “You should be good to the grandparents” and his own children would help customers to their cars and open the door for them. The point is that John Bishop didn’t just open a café- he made a place that was home to his children and his family and extended that feeling of love to everyone that came by.

The original Dreamland is still that today and all of the locations do their best to be homelike and comfortable.  You are welcome to sit at the bar and read license plates or read the names of the famous people that have signed slab boxes when they have dined there.

When you sit down your server will bring you a plate of white bread and the BBQ sauce to dip it in. Just trust me, it is GOOD.

Dreamland became famous for their ribs and the sauce.  In fact in the original location, the menu is really simple.  Ribs, Rib Sandwich, and sausage are the only entrees.  Of course being in the South, you can get homemade banana or chocolate pudding.

No matter which of the locations you goto, Dreamland food is good.  Since 1993 Dreamland has had a few franchised locations across Alabama and Georgia.  Those locations serve other items, but the experience of eating in the original is worth the trip to Tuscaloosa.




4 thoughts on “Dreamland BBQ – An Alabama Original

  1. I’ve had original Alabama BBQ with my friends from Huntsville and I opened this post hoping to see white bread on the side. Looks authentic !

    1. Jamie, I grew up in Huntsville! If there are two BBQ restaurants that Alabama is famous for, they have to be Dreamland in Tuscaloosa and Big Bob Gibsons in Decatur. I am doing my best to create their white sauce they serve with the BBQ chicken there.

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