Tuscaloosa will soon have two more food options along McFarland Blvd. Construction began Monday on the city's first Aldi grocery store and Texas Roadhouse restaurant as part of the Shops at City Center. 

Developers hope to have the new businesses opened within six months and they would anchor the retail locations in front of the Lofts at City Center, which sit just northwest of the 15th Street and McFarland Blvd intersection. That student housing complex sits on the former site of the Wood Square Shopping Center, which was destroyed by the April 2011 tornado.

Aldi, a German-based supermarket, currently operates 18 different locations around Alabama but nothing south of Birmingham until now. The discount store operates as efficiently as possible to provide customers with lower costs than traditional grocery stores.

The Texas Roadhouse chain first opened 22 years ago in Indiana and has expanded to 49 states across the country. The Tuscaloosa location will be the seventh to open in Alabama.

This latest construction project adds to a busy period of growth through a section of Tuscaloosa that was hit hard by that tornado four years ago. The Shoppes at Legacy Park is making noticeable progress right across McFarland Blvd. That retail development will be anchored by a Fresh Market, Dick's Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and DSW Shoes.

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