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Get your fill at Society Hill

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 10:28 AM CDT
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MACON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Despite its name, Society Hill is just a small crossroads community in Macon County. Whatever the origins of the name, there is one certainty - you’ll discover a spot which is a gathering place for travelers and locals alike.

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

According to Penny Walters, “This store has been here for many, many years. I’m not exactly sure when it first opened. The Sistrunks owned it since probably The 50′s. About seven years ago it become available to lease so Robert and I went to Mr. John and Joyce Sistruck and we leased it from them to put a little restaurant in here. A few months later Mr. John died so Miss Joyce said would we be interested in just buying the building outright? We said, ‘Certainly.’”

Robert Walters says since their efforts have always been met with widespread community support, “Everybody that lives here tries to trade with us because they want the store open, also. Then they don’t have to go all the way to town to get something to eat. Some people come in here just to sit down and talk.”

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

But if you only come for the company and the conversation, you’ll be missing some fine country cooking from a once reluctant but now enthusiastic chef Thad Barkett, “I didn’t want Penny to know I could cook because it’s hard. My wife put me on the spot. We needed a cook. She said, ‘Thad can cook.’ Miss Penny said. ‘You can? Let’s see.’ And threw me under the bus right then and I’ve been kitchen manager ever since.”

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

The kitchen has helped transform Walters’ Gas and Grill, says Penny, “I tell people, we used to be a gas station that sold food. Now we’re a restaurant that sells gas.”

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

Robert says his wife’s cooking is a big part of the reason, “It’s like your grand mamma used to cook, and I say that literally because she cooks like your grand mamma used to cook.”

Through food and friendships, Thad says Walters’ Gas and Grill makes everyone feel at home, “What are they feeling? Did they have a good experience here? If they don’t, Miss Penny closes, I have no job and I love them. They’re my family.”

Absolutely Alabama.
Absolutely Alabama.(Source: Fred Hunter/WBRC)

Robert agrees, “It’s become a part of us now. It’s not just the store. It’s family.”

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