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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. – The Pikeville Store & Grill has been around longer than any of us. Dwayne Wilkerson says it’s been around since 1907. His grandfather ran it in the 40s.  Dwayne and his wife bought it in 1990. That’s when Dwayne says, “We started our little journey.”

It had a reputation for good eats. “Cheeseburgers and moon pie banana pudding,” Connie Wilkerson said with a smile. And you had to have both when you went. “If you could hold both, you had to have both,” Connie said laughing.

Their lives changed on October 19th, 2016. Their 37-year-old son, who was going to take over when they retired, had stage four liver cancer. They locked the door and held onto hope. “We just felt like at that time that we needed to be with Jason,” Connie told me, “We were going to close until he got better.”

Jason died 10 weeks later. “Our lives came to a standstill,” Dewayne added. But time did not. They decided to sell. Connie told me, “And let someone else experience the friendship and the fun that we’ve had all these years.”

Scott and Lisa Berry bought the Pikeville Store & Grill. They reopened in September 2017. “We’ve been really blessed,” Scott told me. Things were great until covid hit in early 2020. “We were closed for almost two months a couple of years ago with all that but now, for the most part, our business is back,” Scott says.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a baby,” Mary Schmidt told me, “I grew up right down the road.” She now works there as a cashier and waitress. “It’s a little hole in the wall. A lot of people love the hole in the wall you don’t see much,” she said with a smile.

Either people are smelling those burgers on the grill or they’re finding about that little hole in the wall through word of mouth or social media because they come from all over. “People from Arizona, Illinois, New York,” Mary told me. “New Hampshire, Montana, Arizona,” Scott added.

Customers have come back but one thing is missing. “That’s right,” Scott told me, “We had Buck the famous yellow Pikeville dog that was, we think about 18 years old and had been out here at this restaurant since he was a puppy.”

Buck left a few months ago and hasn’t come home. “We think Buck has probably crossed the rainbow bridge and is not with us anymore,” Scott told me. There’s a memorial outside the front door where he used to lay. “He was the best-fed dog in Jackson County, without question,” Scott said, “And probably the most famous.” Everyone misses him.

Like Buck, folks know where to find good food. “We’ve got the thick-cut bologna, ham and cheese, hot dogs with the red slaw,” Michelle Allen told me, “We’ve got a variety of items, salads if you’re on a diet.” She cooks and manages the place. And she grills a lot of burgers every week. “Probably about four or 500 or so,” she said with a smile.

But save room for dessert. “That’s kinda what we’re known for,” she said, “the moon pie banana pudding. We sell quite a bit of it.” But don’t even bother asking for the recipe. “It’s a secret recipe that goes back to the original owners,” she said. I promised her I wouldn’t tell a soul. She smiled and said, “I’ve heard that.”

Like the Wilkersons, the Berrys are honoring the past while moving into the future. “This place is so important, we’ve always thought to the local community, it’s just much better off with the Pikeville Store & Grill being open than closed.” And those who visit couldn’t agree more. The Pikeville Store & Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For directions and to check out the menu, click on the link.