LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Despite working a minimum of ten hours a day, every day since August 1st, Hickory Barn Bar-B-Que owner Bill Davis still finds the time to have a little fun. He needs that down time because, in one week, the real work will start.
Davis is set to open his restaurant's doors to the public, Wednesday, October 29th, six months after an EF-3 tornado mangled his original location. He bought the old Catfish Inn location on Highway 72 in August.
The shelves and coolers are stocked and 18 employees have been hired ready for Davis to start cooking his award-winning bar-b-que.
While the location is different, many of the familiar Hickory Barn touches are the same.
"A lot of this stuff we couldn't replace and it was stuff that I had collected many years before I even thought about opening a restaurant," said Davis.
License plates sprinkle the walls among autographed photographs from musicians like Hank Williams Jr. and Montgomery Gentry. Christmas lights are strewn throughout, some accented by red solo cups.
"That's part of our redneck tackiness that we do," said Davis.
The April 28th storms that forced Davis to rebuild are also reflected throughout his quirky restaurant.
The bar across from the main entrance is made of wood salvaged from the Log Cabin Grocery. The store used to sit on the corner of Highway 72 and Log Cabin Road in west Limestone County. Massive trees crushed it in the April 28th storms.
Davis also used the roof from his old building's front porch to replace the roof on the pit house located behind the restaurant.
The tornado forced Davis to rebuild, but he says it also afforded him opportunities to expand from a six picnic table eatery to a restaurant that seats more than 100.
"Here we get to start out completely different with some of the old technology and old knowledge that we learn from the old building how to handle different things."
A strenuous six-month journey, but for this pitmaster, now, is truly his time to shine.
"It's a second chance and hopefully we got it right this time," said Davis.
Hickory Barn Bar-B-Que is scheduled to open at 10:30 am on October 29.
The restaurant will also host a Halloween party from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm on October 31. Athens band Trippin' Dixie will perform.