MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The smell of barbecue is about to return to downtown Montgomery months after a well-known eatery closed its doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Four months was enough,” said Dreamland Bar-B-Que managing partner Bob Parker. “We didn’t want people to forget about us and move on.”
Parker said the restaurant opted to close down temporarily back on Sept. 24, because of the limitations in place at the time and due to the lack of downtown traffic.
The doors will swing open again for the first time Tuesday. For now, the restaurant will welcome customers in only during the weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Safety precautions such as mask wearing until at your table will be required.
Parker said the pandemic wiped out all the reasons the business had been successful downtown for more than a decade. That included traffic from reliable customers and tourists visiting the area for conventions, baseball games, or even military events. They disappeared as the pandemic raged on.
Parker also said with a new round of PPP loans, “now was the time to take advantage of that and get our folks back to work.”
As the meat pit heats up, so are expectations for business and an expansion.
With many of the customers coming through the doors being tourists, Parker said Dreamland wanted to make sure local residents who weren’t making trips downtown also had an option.
“We’re gonna try to take what we’ve done to be successful downtown and go out east with it,” Parker explained.
The business had been working on plans to open a second location as far back as April, just as the pandemic was starting to spread around the state.
In December, they secured the old Shrimp Basket facility on Vaughn and Taylor. They hope to have it open with the same menu, and even the same smiling employee faces, by April.