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  • Writer's pictureChopped Onion

Dreamland - Tuscaloosa, AL

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

5535 Fifteenth Avenue East

Tuscaloosa, AL 35405


In 1958 John & Lillie Bishop started the Dreamland Café. Today it is better known as just Dreamland. If you didn’t already know, Dreamland is famous for their ribs. This Dreamland is the original one and it only serves ribs. The ribs are cooked in a hickory fired brick pit. Before the ribs hit the fire they are rubbed only with salt. About 40 minutes into the process the ribs are sauced on both sides. When the ribs have finished cooking they are sauced one more time before they arrive at your table. You start off your feast with a half loaf of white bread and a cup of dipping sauce. This is the only appetizer they have. Once you get to dipping you won’t really care and you will soon find that it’s hard to stop. The sauce is burnt orange in color and is vinegar-based with spices. The sauce has an incredible sweet, tangy and hot taste. By this point you may start to experience what I call the "Dreamland Effect." The sauce and its amazing taste begins to transport you to a euphoric state where you become intensely focused on dipping, eating and savoring the sauce to the point that you lose track of everyone and everything around you. Now that you have eaten every slice of bread and every drop of sauce, your attention now turns to a full rack of ribs heading directly towards you. You get about 12 to 13 pieces per rack. I stopped briefly for a few sips of their excellent sweet tea. Every table has a full roll of paper towels. If you are not making a mess eating ribs, then you are not fully enjoying them. The ribs are outstanding! They were perfectly cooked and dipping them in the sauce makes them even better. And you can finish with some very good homemade banana pudding.

Note: When Alabama plays home football games, Dreamland will be packed and you may have a 2 to 3 hour wait.

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