Father’s memory inspires new local restaurant

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By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

On a return trip from Birmingham, Melanie Kilgo noticed an empty building off Hwy. 77 and Hwy. 59 next to the Petro truck stop. Already in the restaurant business as owner of Lola and Runts and Lola’s on the River, Melanie felt drawn to the site and chose the site for her newest business venture. Barney’s Roadhouse is now open at 4405 Journey Place in Gadsden.

Barney’s Roadhouse is named for and inspired by Melanie’s father Barney Williamson. Born in Comanche Oklahoma, in 1929, Barney was an independent truck driver who settled down in Attalla. He passed away in 1995.

“He’s just a great man, as all of our dads are,” said Melanie, tearing up at his memory. “He retired when he got lung cancer. He loved his grandchildren, loved fishing.”

Barney’s memory is infused into the new restaurant, with photos from his life decorating the walls with a biography and a map of the United States detailing the places he traveled. Melanie’s son, a welder, built the bar himself and dedicated it to his grandfather.

Melanie wanted to honor the memory of her trucker father by providing quality food to other truckers on the road.

“There is nowhere for the guys to stop and eat, they just have fast food options,” said Melanie.

“And their trucks make them shut down, so they have to either walk across the bridge or come here,” said Melanie. “And I just wanted them to have somewhere that they could have Southern cooking, home cooking and a place to come and relax and watch TV and fellowship with the other drivers and the community.”

Pulling from some of her family’s recipes, Melanie made sure that Barney’s Roadhouse had plenty of home cooked Southern food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast options include blueberry biscuits, French toast, Bananas Foster pancakes and country fried chicken. The restaurant currently is offering a breakfast special that includes two eggs, two slices of bacon, grits and gravy, a choice of toast or a biscuit and coffee for only $5.

For lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. or until gone, the restaurant offers meat and threes, with daily options that include Southern classics like chicken and dumplings, fried or grilled chicken, fried or grilled pork chops and fried flounder with sides that include collard greens, mashed potatoes, butter beans, a roll or cornbread and peach cobbler. Also available at lunch or dinner are pasta dishes, steak, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, salads and more.

“There’s homemade desserts,” said Melanie. “Each day, we’ll do cakes or cobblers.”

Along with good food, Melanie said that the restaurant also offers a great atmosphere.

“It’s just fun in here,” said Melanie. “Everyone comes in and they are friendly and open, and they share stories about their travels and how long they’ve been traveling. And you’ve got the community that comes in too.”

Barney’s Roadhouse is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant offers catering to local events and has experience catering at The Venue and for drug representatives.

For more information about Barney’s Roadhouse, call 256-467-3856.

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