The owners of one of downtown Tuscaloosa's best-kept secrets have sold their restaurant after cooking up joy there for almost 10 years.

Sweet Home Food Bar opened on University Boulevard next to Black Warrior Brewing Co. in the summer of 2014. At the time, New Yorker Debra Rubino told the Tuscaloosa News that she followed her son, who studied at the University of Alabama, to the Druid City and decided to open a new kind of eatery here.

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Since then, Rubino and her staff have served brunch, lunch and dinner with a focus on high-quality, farm-fresh ingredients with as much local sourcing as possible.

Their famous Clucken Russian is a contender for the best chicken sandwich in Tuscaloosa and the same case could be made in a different category for the brunch menu's chicken and waffles.

On Sunday, Rubino said she had mixed emotions as she announced on social media that the restaurant has been sold and will close while the new ownership changes its interior and menu, reportedly with a focus on Italian cuisine.

Their last day open before the keys change hands will be this Thursday, February 29th.

"It truly has been an honor meeting and serving y'all," Rubino wrote. "I will always remember the friendships formed, the couples who met here and got married, countless rehearsal dinners, bridal brunches, baby showers, birthday parties, weddings, graduations, University events and where friends came to say goodbye to loved ones."

For more coverage of restaurant and retail development in and around west Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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