ST. CLAIR CO., Ala. (WBRC) - For over 30-years the Shaw’s sign along Highway 231 in St. Clair County has been a familiar sight for locals and travelers. It promised a warm welcome and a hot meal but a few months ago a fire threatened to take away the familiar barbecue destination.
Then, with the encouragement and help of friends and family, Skip Shaw decided his restaurant should make a comeback. So once again the ‘que is smoking at Whitney Junction.
Skip looks back on the history of the popular spot, “Here I am, over 30-plus years. It was me and my wife. She passed away in May of ’18. Long hours, long days but I’m still peddling. Restaurant work’s pretty hard. It’s not for everybody.”
The long day begins before sunrise which is just about the time the breakfast crowd comes to Shaw’s. Skip says, “If the lights are on, they come on in. They just have to take a number and get in line. We’ll get to them when we can. Lot of old country guys that retired come in and eat. We solve the world’s problems here.”
But the legacy of Shaw’s was threatened in the middle of the pandemic.
“June of 2020 we caught fire. It took me a couple of months to decide what I wanted to do but we got our heads together and started building. Everybody that was a customer of mine had a hand in getting us back to where we are today.”
Skip gets a little emotional when he speaks of the help he’s gotten from friends and family, “It’s pretty touching. Being out here in the rural area, they had to have a place to eat. I couldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for the customers so I would have felt like I let them down.”
“A couple of days ago my daughter said, ‘Dad, says you were right. I’m glad you didn’t want to build it back any bigger, I’m pretty satisfied with what we have now. We just need to maintain it.’ "
Skip admits, “It’s a tough row to hoe sometimes but we really enjoy doing it.”