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franklin county times

Family-owned Pilgrim's Place Barbeque offers variety

By Staff
Kim West
Franklin County Times
Russellville resident Frankie Wilson doesn't rely on a menu when he orders from Pilgrim's Place Barbeque.
"It's very, very good, and I eat here every day. I always get the ribs – that's what I always buy – and sometimes I buy the barbecue for my wife," Wilson said. "The people here always treat you good and always greet you when you walk through the door."
Pilgrim's is known for its barbecue and holiday meals, but owners Melinda and Rickey Smith offer a variety of food at the restaurant and through their catering service.
"We're known for our chicken salad," said Smith, who graduated from the University of North Alabama with a degree in fashion merchandising and marketing and worked in Birmingham as a Parisian's buyer and the marketing director for Brookwood Hospital prior to taking over the restaurant.
"Rickey gets here at 4:30 a.m. because we cook all our meats fresh for lunch and for dinner. We have smoked half-chicken and chicken breast, pork and ribs, and we sell smoked turkey and ham by the pound. We also sell hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders and a variety of vegetables."
When Smith's parents, Fred and Sue Pilgrim, owned the restaurant, they started a special tradition of naming a menu item after each of their five grandchildren, including a godson and the Smith's sons, Jackson ("Jackson Dog") and Reed ("Reed Burger").
The Smiths made some changes when they bought the restaurant, but everything is still cooked from scratch and most of Sue Pilgrim's recipes are used daily, including the fresh-baked pies, brownies and cakes.
"We added the daily specials and a few other things, but we probably use most of her receipes," said Smith, who is a self-described sweet-a-holic and handles the daily baking. "This is a barbecue restaurant, but the catering part adds variety to it. We're licensed caterers, and we've catered places as far away as Memphis and Tuscaloosa. We can cater small events like board meetings for 15 to 20 people up to company picnics with 600 people."
Hours of operation for Pilgrim's Place are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information about catering, call 332-1007.