Green Top History
The Green Top was built in 1951 by Kenneth and Alton Cook on what was then "the new highway 78". It was a simple rectangle building made of concrete blocks.
The location was no a coincidence. The Green Top was located just across the Walker County line in Jefferson County. Why is that significant?
Well in 1951 if you were headed west toward Memphis on highway 78, those few concrete buildings were the last place you could buy beer until you got deep into Mississippi, because all the counties in Alabama west of Jefferson County were dry which means you could not buy your favorite beverages legally.
The Green Top took advantage of this location and started selling some of the best Bar-B-Que on the planet.
Edith Carey bought the Green Top in the late fifties and business continued to boom.
On September 22, 1973, Carey sold the establishment to Leo and Susie Headrick for $25,000 to be paid out over five years. Richard Headrick recalls that Edith thought the Headrick's would fail at managing the Green Top. "She told someone that she'd get to take a little vacation and then take the business back over," he says, but that didn't happen.
The Headricks not only survived that first year in business at the Green Top, but they excelled! Patrons loved, not only the Bar-B-Que, but the roadhouse atmosphere.
Leo and Susie Dancing
Leo and Susie would often break into an impromptu singing and dancing routines to the delight of the crowd. "They were actually really good," says Jilda Watson. "One of my favorite numbers they did was the Chattanooga Choo Choo."
The original Green Top building was a 20 x 30 foot structure with the restrooms on the outside, but the building has gone through a number of remodeling and expansions through the years. One early improvement doubled the space with room for modern facilities indoors. Later improvements expanded the kitchen, storage and pit areas of the Green Top.
"Some places blow a little wood smoke across the meat and call it day," says Richard Headrick. "But here at the Green Top, we slow cook our meat over real hickory coals so that the meat is tender."
The Headricks must be doing something right because famous people from all over the country have dropped by to enjoy Leo and Susie's Famous Bar-B-Que.
A few of the celebrities who have eaten at the Green Top are:
Bobby Allison (Race car driver)
Neal Bonnett (Race car driver)
Brett Butler (Actress)
Governor Jim Folsom - he sang You are my Sunshine while he was there
Bo Jackson (Football and baseball star)
Pat Dye (Auburn Football coach)
Bobby Wallace (Auburn Football coach)
Pat Sullivan (Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn)
Sonny Smith (Football)
Paul Ott Carruth (NFL star and country singer)
Marvelous Marvin Hagler (professional boxer - middleweight champion of the world 1980-1987)
Gene Cernan (the last astronaut on the moon).
Leo passed away several years ago, but Susie still check in frequently to make sure things are running smoothly. The Green Top is an icon, where the whole family can stop by and enjoy one-of-a-kind Bar-B-Que.