BY STACEY WALLACE
As I mentioned before in my last column, recently my much older brother Mike (As the youngest Patton child, I love saying that.) and my sister-in-law Sandi visited my husband Mike and me for a few days before they went back home to Texas. One day, we went to Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals) to visit my parents’ graves.
A word of advice: If you are currently blessed to have your Mama and Daddy with you, visit them and hug on them as much as you can because a visit to the cemetery is a very poor substitute.
While we were in Alex City, we decided to eat at Big B Bar-B-Que at 1626 AL Highway 22.
Steve Gibson, who is from Alex City, opened Big B in 1978. His son, Damien Gibson, has run this Alex City mainstay for the past 20 years. The restaurant also caught the attention of a fellow teacher from Long Cane Middle School years ago; Bo, who was also our head basketball coach, loved to bring our basketball team to eat at Big B Bar-B-Que when we played Alexander City Middle School. Bo really had great taste in restaurants, even though he was a Georgia fan.
As I may have mentioned before, the author Thomas Wolfe wrote a book entitled, You Can’t Go Home Again. Now, I haven’t read the book, but I strongly disagree with the title.
Instead, I agree with the song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles, and I am living proof that you can go home again. When I visit Alex City, I know I still belong.
For instance, when Mike, my brother Mike, Sandi and I were seated at Big B, Sherry Hayes, our server, remembered me from my younger days. At that time, Sherry worked at another restaurant in Alex City. Back then, as soon as I came through the door for my family’s to-go order, Sherry would call out to the cook, “Patton’s here.” I didn’t like to cook back then either.
Also, that day I met and hugged Angie, a fellow graduate of the Benjamin Russell High School class of 1981. Angie looked great; I, on the other hand, apologized for wearing no makeup and for being in my retirement uniform: an Auburn t-shirt and long shorts. In addition, just about a week or two later, Mike and I came back to Alex City to visit Orr Street Baptist Church, my home church. I received a lot of neck hugs from people who have known me since I was a baby.
So, sorry, Mr. Wolfe. You CAN go home again. But I digress.
Sherry, our server, was her usual wonderful, friendly and helpful self. All four of us ordered the hamburger steak with gravy and onions. My husband Mike chose fried green tomatoes and baked beans for his sides; I ordered French fries and coleslaw.
My brother Mike selected fries and fried green tomatoes. Sandi chose turnip greens and fried green tomatoes. Oh, my three times. It was great eating delicious food in my hometown.
Besides our tasty dishes, Big B Bar-B-Que offers diners a great selection of appetizers. Some of them include: fried pickles, chili cheese waffle fries, boom boom shrimp, Cajun pork skins and pimento cheese with crackers.
The restaurant also serves salads, Bar-B-Que plates and sandwiches, ribeyes, roast beef, pork chop plates, catfish, seafood, chicken, sandwiches and Big “B” burgers. As a teenager, I especially loved the cheeseburgers from Big B; they were ALWAYS fresh and juicy.
If you ever travel near Alex City, stop by Big B Bar-B-Que. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did.
Big B Bar-B-Que is open Sunday through Thursday from 11a.m. to 8 p.m.; on Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Big B Bar-B-Que makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear every other week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org