Extensive renovations have been underway at the former home of Ruby Tuesday on McFarland Boulevard since it permanently closed in late May and a quick glance at new signage there hints at the building's new tenant.

Red Bowl Asian Bistro, which will offer patrons a blend of Korean, Japanese and Chinese dishes, is set to officially open early next year just off of McFarland Boulevard.

Owner Qiu Wu said is no stranger to the Tuscaloosa area -- she has operated China Bob in Northport for 15 years with her husband and sons.

She told the Tuscaloosa Thread she prided herself on developing a strong relationship with her customers and the Northport community but said she has been looking to diversify her menu and expand her reach, especially with her sons now in high school.

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"It's a place where everybody knows me, and I know everybody's names," Wu said. "We drove by [Ruby Tuesday] when going to school every day, and we thought it'd be perfect. We've been talking to the property owner for 5 years. China Bob is small... Now, this one's too big," she said, laughing.

This restaurant is not to be confused with the Red Bowl Asian Restaurant in Talladega, Alabama, or any other local restaurants or franchises with the same name.

Wu said she chose the name to play off the traditional Chinese red bowl dish as well as the Crimson-themed nomenclature of many spots around Tuscaloosa.

The menu will feature a wide array of Asian dishes, ranging from Kung Pao Chicken to Sushi, and the restaurant features a high-end Make-Your-Own salad bar. Wu said her favorite item on the menu is Red Bowl's Crab Rangoon, but said she is just as excited to bring some of the specialty dishes she's cooked at home to the new restaurant.

(Red Bowl Asian Bistro)

Wu invited The Thread inside for a sneak preview of the renovations. She said she wanted to keep the building's layout largely the same as it was as Ruby Tuesday but also add just a splash of her personality.

The restaurant has had its soft opening already but is set to have its grand opening in January. Red Bowl will also apply for its municipal alcohol license on January 5th.

For more information, people can visit Red Bowl's website, or call 205-618-8896.

Top Stories From the Tuscaloosa Thread (12/07-12/11)