Patch Destination Of The Month: Raised On Country Burgers & Grill

Ryan Phillips
·4 min read

TUSCALOOSA, AL — There likely isn't another eatery in Tuscaloosa where a customer has the choice between a five-pound steak or a kangaroo burger. But that's the kind of allure the owners of Raised on Country Burgers & Grill hope will draw keen interest to their exotic offerings, while also earning it the distinction of being named our inaugural Tuscaloosa Patch Destination of the Month for January 2021.

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Owned by business partners Bo Lawrence and Tony Mancuso, the 1,800-square-foot restaurant on University Boulevard features the city's widest range of wild game burgers and farm-to-table meats. For instance, on Tuesday, Lawrence casually mentioned in conversation how he had gotten off the phone earlier in the day after ordering yak meat from the Himalayas.

While sourcing the wild game meat proves a consistent challenge, Lawrence — who hand cuts all the meat himself — said he has been in the trade for 14 years and takes pride in providing meat to his customers they can't get anywhere else, all at a price they can easily afford.

This includes everything from alligator and snapping turtle, to kangaroo meat from Australia and camel from Saudi Arabia.

"It comes from everywhere right now ... that’s the thing, you don’t just have one source," Lawrence said. "You have to kind of get in the network of it, nothing is local. Everything is from North Dakota, South Dakota, places like that."

Raised on Country Burgers & Grill offers a wide range of wild game burgers and farm-to-table, hand-cut meat (Photo courtesy of Bo Lawrence)
Raised on Country Burgers & Grill offers a wide range of wild game burgers and farm-to-table, hand-cut meat (Photo courtesy of Bo Lawrence)

Perhaps the most eye-catching offer from the restaurant is its Saturday night 5-pound steak challenge — a 45-minute gastronomical gauntlet requiring the customer to finish the entire steak, asparagus, baked potato and bread to get the meal for free. Otherwise, the massive meal prices out at a modest $69.

While seemingly not for the faint of heart, Lawrence pointed out that two of the 10 customers who had attempted the challenge as of Tuesday had finished it in time.

"One was a big body builder dude and the other was a big guy," Lawrence said. "We're doing 45 minutes because we didn’t have a time on the first round and had a guy sitting here for four hours and still didn’t finish it. It's definitely something to have fun with."

Other offerings include a Date Night and Double Date Night on Thursdays, providing two couples with four burgers, four orders of fries and four drinks for $40 — tax included.

As was the case with most restaurants, the coronavirus pandemic dealt a blow to progress for Raised on Country, which opened in October 2019 and was forced to temporarily close the following March amid sweeping shutdowns.

"What helped during the pandemic was the square footage," Lawrence said. "We didn’t have the big monthly rent like the big boys, so we survived and we didn’t have to cut anybody’s hours or let anybody go."

Looking ahead, Lawrence hopes the restaurant will continue to improve as it works toward its goal of providing a distinct experience for customers of all walks of life.

"The market is flooded with tacos and regular bar food right now," he said of Tuscaloosa's culinary scene. "We throw in a lot of different stuff and there's farm-to-table too, so you don’t have to eat wild game. But we keep it to where people can afford to eat wild game."

While Raised on Country does not have a website, its menu, hours of operation and other updates can be found by visiting its Facebook page.

Tuscaloosa Patch will choose one business or destination each month to highlight as its Destination of the Month. If you would like to nominate a destination or if you're interested in sponsoring this monthly feature to also promote your business, email Community Publisher Ryan Phillips at ryan.phillips@patch.com.

This article originally appeared on the Tuscaloosa Patch