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A new restaurant is getting set to open its doors in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Urban Bar & Kitchen, a full restaurant that will offer seafood, steak, salads and more will offer also serve wine, specialty cocktails and 10 draft beers on tap.

The new eatery's owner and operator is Gary McGee, who ran the Levee Bar & Grill in Northport until the COVID-19 pandemic forced its permanent closure in May.

"We'll have a combination of a full-service bar of pretty much anything you could want," McGee said. "But as far as the food, again more traditional type things, things that will be easily recognizable."

The restaurant is preparing to open in the space that used to house the Fuzzy's Taco Bar along University Boulevard, but McGee said that when he first saw the location he wasn't immediately sure it was the right place to suit his vision for the restaurant.

McGee, who has had over 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, said his last two locations were both significantly bigger.

"The first time I came and looked at this [location] I passed on it and I said 'no I don't think I can make it work there,'" McGee said. "My thought process was working [both] at The Cypress [Inn] and The Levee, those are two huge restaurants, both can seat over 300 patrons at any given time. I've always been associated with running large operations, coming into this place, it was a smaller operation. Then I went home and I thought about it, without actually having dinner one night, and I got a picture of this place and I said, 'I need to go back and look at that place one more time.'

He said almost all of his professional experience comes from the other side of the Black Warrior River but that he has always wanted to be closer to the vibrancy of downtown Tuscaloosa.

 

After returning to the restaurant for one final look, McGee said aloud 'this must be the place,' a tag line that is now prominently displayed throughout the restaurant.

Urban Bar & Kitchen will also provide catering and delivery services including drop-offs to doctors' offices. The restaurant has still yet to announce a grand opening, but for more information check out their Facebook page or their Instagram page.

"People have an opportunity to come out here to experience us and we'll let them make the decision on what they think we are and who they think that we are and things like that," McGee said. "But when it comes down to it at the end of the day we know who we are and what we want to present to the Tuscaloosa community and we just hope that we're able to produce the food and the drinks the way we are supposed to."

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