Tuscaloosa Institution Dreamland Survives Twister

To donate online to relief efforts underway in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama, click. To donate $10, text “REDCROSS” to 90999.

I’ve heard from many folks wondering about T-Town’s BBQ institution, Dreamland.

The restaurant was not damaged by the tornado and is open for normal business today.

Full Moon Bar-B-Que though wasn’t so lucky.

The Tuscaloosa outpost of the small Birmingham-based chain was flattened Wednesday by the mile-wide twister. The above video includes a before-after photo comparison of the catastrophic damage.

Roy L. Williams of the TUSCALOOSA NEWS reports of the restaurant’s demise:

Three workers and customers who were inside a Full Moon BBQ in Tuscaloosa that was destroyed by a tornado Wednesday afternoon remain hospitalized this morning, the chain’s co-owner said.

David Maluff said it could have been a lot worse if his manager had not ushered the 13 employees and customers into a freezer in the back of the building when the twister struck.

“They told me the tornado literally came out of nowhere,” Maluff said. “The store is completely gone. The area around it on McFarland Boulevard looks like a war zone.”

Maluff said he is thankful that the tornado didn’t strike during the busy noon or evening rush period.

“The tornado had 175 mile an hour winds and destroyed our brick building,” he said. “One of our vans was tossed 400 feet away.”

Maluff said some of the folks inside the Full Moon suffered concussions, broken bones and scrapes, but “I thank God no one was killed. Some of our employees lost their homes.” 

Having grown up in a town ruled by BBQ (Kansas City), I have a full appreciation for what the survival of Dreamland means to the fine citizens of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama.

Compared to the unspeakable human tragedy that has played out across the state the past 48 hours, a BBQ restaurant’s survival is nowhere close to being at the top of the priority list right now but, like Bryant-Denny Stadium (somehow) surviving unscathed, we now know that two of Tuscaloosa’s greatest traditions remain in tact.

To donate directly online to relief efforts underway in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama, go here. To donate $10, text “REDCROSS” to 90999.

Roll Tide.

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