Yep, long before Chuck Sheen gave us his famous catch phrase, the University of Alabama was producing winning football teams. Established in 1892 the "Crimson Tide" has racked up an impressive 31 bowl wins, 22 SEC titles and 13 national championships (as of 2010) from their home in "T-Town", Bryant-Denny Stadium. Opened in 1929 as Denny Stadium it honoured the former university president George Hutchenson Denny. A name amendment to Bryant-Denny occurred in 1976 to honour coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant. A legend, legends revere.
For many years most of the major “Tide” battles have occurred at the larger Legion Field in Birmingham. However an expansion of the stadium in 1997 meant a larger seating capacity and a permanent home in Tuscaloosa was established in 2004.
I had an opportunity to visit UA and got to see B-D up close and let me tell you it’s huge. The most current addition (2010) has made it the 2nd largest stadium in the SEC, the 5th largest in the US and the 8th largest non racing sports venue in the world at a capacity of well over 101,000.
While the front of B-D stadium faces University Avenue it’s address is actually 920 Paul W Bryant Drive. Right next door to Rama Jama’s.
Literally in the shadow of B-D stadium Rama Jama’s is a veritable shrine to the mighty Crimson Tide football squad. Ya, there are references to other sports but barely enough to let you know UA has other teams. Every inch of wall space is now occupied with a souvinier or picture so they’ve started working on the ceiling. It’s also crammed almost as tight as it will go with tables. On game days you don’t even think about getting in. They have 1 menu. It’s written on the chalk board above the cash registers. It’s a mecca for a Crimson Tide football fan. Heck even the owner bears a striking resemblance to head football coach Nick Saban.
Walking in my nose was to promise me a great meal. The smell of flat top hamburgers hung in the air like cherry blossoms on a spring day. My mouth started to water. My body to tremble with excitement. Mmmm fried beef fat aaaaauuuugggghhhhh!!!!
Okay, I’ve snapped out of it.
I first heard of this place when Todd Blackledge of ESPN visited for a segment of his “Taste of the Town.” The analyst on ESPN’s Saturday night NCAA football games picks a local eatery every week during the regular season, pays a visit and features them during the game. Eat food, watch college football and get paid for it. Nice work if you can find it.
So with all that build up, how was the food you may ask??
The Championship burger was fantastic. I’m usually not into “Monster burgers” so at 10 oz it was at the top end of my range. I’d rather see 2, 1/4 lb patties rather than 1, 1/2 lb. The fact that it was just a large diner style burger worked fine for me. A bacon cheeseburger with my standard, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo that delivered on the promise it held. Probably a top 5 burger for me.
The onion rings were right in my wheel house too. Large cut onion slices battered and deep fried. Passing the pinch and pull tests they’re as good as it gets. Maybe even the best.
Mrs. Sippi got an order of fried green tomatoes which she really liked. I thought they were okay. Far from the best I’ve had but still quite servicable.
Sil went with the RJ special dog. A hot dog wrapped in bacon. How can you go wrong?? Well, you can’t. Especially with mustard and grilled onions. She did admit that cheese would’ve elevated even further.
For desert we opted for an apple and a peach fried pie. Both were fantastic. I think I preferred the peach but the apple with it’s less sweet filling was very nice.
Sil, Madam Butterfly and the King all ordered milkshakes of different flavours and all loved them.
They serve breakfast as well and having seen another diner with one, trust me, order the All American omelet.
You can find Rama Jama’s at 1000 Paul W. Bryant Drive in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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Well that’s all from the food court for today. ‘Til next time.