Urban Cookhouse//Buy Local Eat Urban

I will go ahead and admit that I am one of the many folks in Tuscaloosa in denial that another fall academic season is upon us. Sure that means football , barbecue, and all things pumpkin; however, I still long for the long summer days, trips to the beach, and fresh light flavors involved in sunny seasons. This transition to August has been rough for me, and it gets even rougher on rainy Mondays when I’m not ready for school to be in session and lunch field trips in town with friends become more difficult. Working on UA’s campus, a lunch trip to a restaurant that has no campus affiliation can often be a breath of fresh air.

On this particular rainy Monday, I knew I was on a mission to have lunch at a “getaway” restaurant in Tuscaloosa. For me this often involves traveling over the bridge to the other side of Tuscaloosa and Northport to escape my lovely campus bubble. Racking my brain for something yummy, I decided to head to Urban Cookhouse to savor the last delicious flavors of summer.

Though I had eaten at other Urban Cookhouse locations in Birmingham and Montgomery in the past, it wasn’t until earlier this summer that I learned how committed the restaurant is to supporting local farmers in Alabama. I also hadn’t realized that despite the original restaurant debuting in Homewood in 2007, Urban Cookhouse owners David and Andrea Snyder are both alums of UA with family in Cottondale and Holt.

Checking out the menu at Urban Cookhouse for lunch, I was surprised once again at the level of variety that the restaurant has to offer. I was definitely in the mood for some fruits and veggies, but not completely sold on getting a salad as my main entrée. As a creature of habit typically getting the grilled chicken special, I had to take some extra time to evaluate my cravings. I got pumped once I noticed I could get the Berry Good salad as a wrap. Featuring seasonal berries, tomatoes, spiced pecans, lettuce, and grilled chicken, I knew this would be the perfect filling in a wheat wrap. Taking a peek at the side items, I decided to venture away from the roasted veggies and try out the hot cheddar pasta I always watch my friends order.

Filling up my beverage, I already had another “win” as I noticed that Urban Cookhouse had the nice pellet type ice ready for crunching without breaking a molar. Though the kitchen and catering staff appeared to be aggressively working on several catering orders, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my plate was placed in front of me. Quickly I noticed the large spiced pecan poking out of my wrap, along with the ample amount of cheese on my penne pasta. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to take my first bite of but eventually settled on wanting to taste my pasta while it was fresh and hot. Gooey and delicious, the hot cheddar pasta was all that I expected it to be. I immediately took in a mouthful of my Berry Good wrap loving the contrast between the savory chicken and tart berries.

Despite the summer coming to an end, I know that I’ll always have Urban Cookhouse as an escape to summer favorites. Once it cools down, I can’t wait to transition to my fall favorite lime-marinated steak and rice!

Urban Cookhouse is located in the Village at Northbank and opened daily. Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly and let us know where you are eating!

Sheena Gregg, MS, RDN,LD is a registered dietitian and local Filipino Foodie. Follow her on Twitter @TheThriftyRD

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