Restaurant Revisited: The Writing on the Wall at Bama Q

by in Shows, May 28th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleBefore Robert Irvine got to work on the failing Big Jim’s Bama Q in Hammondville, Ala., he talked with Big Jim himself, who, while no longer the owner of the restaurant, was able to tell Robert stories of a once-successful venture at the barbecue-focused eatery, ultimately proving that the business could be profitable. The new owner of Big Jim’s, Daniel Millican, had failed to make the business his own, leaving nearly all of the original leader’s menu, decor and practices in place. With time, Daniel had become disconnected from the restaurant after spending much of his time away at his other business, a sawmill, and Robert questioned whether Daniel wanted to be involved going forward. It took Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team two days and $10,000 to inspire Daniel, overhaul the mismatched design, establish new processes for tuning out authentic barbecue and, in perhaps the most-dramatic update, change the name of the business to simply Bama Q. Read on below to hear from Daniel and his sister-in-law, Carolyn, the former assistant manager of the restaurant, in an exclusive interview and find out how his business is faring today.

Bama Q is earning almost $1,000 more per week than before its Impossible transformation, and Carolyn notes: “Everyone loves the inside of the restaurant. A lot of people are responding to the floors, the tables, the chicken wire. … It feels much more open and welcoming.”

While Robert noticed that food might have a tendency to get cold in the old space, Daniel confirms that since the renovation, “I’ve not heard any complaints about food coming out cold anymore. The food is coming out very quickly.”

Daniel says he’s now invested in Bama Q, explaining, “After Robert left, it felt like a good revival. I’ve got passion in it; I’m determined to make it work.” Carolyn agrees and notices the difference. “Daniel is dealing with things better as a boss,” she says. “He realizes he has to take a stand about the business.” She adds, “The time he’s spent in the restaurant is a better quality.”

As for her role at the restaurant, Carolyn says, “I’m not back in there working — still figuring out if I’ll jump in with both feet.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Cave Inn BBQ (May 21)
Bumbinos Italian Ristorante (April 30)
Bryant’s Seafood World (April 23)
Urban Roots (April 9)
gratifi kitchen + bar (April 2)
Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria (March 26)
Pasión Latin Fusion (March 19)
Tootie’s Texas BBQ (March 12)
Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant (March 5)
Estrada’s Restaurant (February 5)
Hillbillies Restaurant (January 29)
Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill (January 15)
Heather’s Country Kitchen (January 1)
Goombazz Big City Eatzz (December 18)
LBI Pancake House (December 8)
Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company (December 8)
Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant (December 4)
Seven (November 27)
Georgia Boy Cafe (November 20)
Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub (November 13)
The Windsor 75 (November 6)
Ducky’s Family Restaurant (October 30)
Mama Campisi’s Restaurant (October 23)
Aponte’s Pizzeria (August 25)
Benner Street (July 28)
Hurley’s American Grille (July 21)
Kalico Kitchen (July 14)
Angelo’s (June 23)
Pier West Restaurant (June 16)
Pinehurst Country Lodge (June 9)


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Comments (57)

  1. Bedoneit says:

    I enjoyed the pork sandwich very much before the renovation and stopped by to see what the improvement had done. I literally threw the sandwich out the car window after one bite. The brioche bun was old and dry. The pork was good meat and stacked high, but it was as dry as sawdust, had no pickle, miniscue sauce , no mayo- nothing. Could not take a second bite.
    Kudos to the design team for making a nice look from nothing, but the "new" recipes suck. Extremely disappointing. Go back to the old sandwich before you have to lock the door!
    Best of luck to the owners. Good people!

  2. Rick says:

    I can hardly believe all the poor reviews. Took the family there and everyone loved the food. I had the pulled pork and loved it. The sauce was great. Everyone agreed that the Mac-n-cheese was excellent. Next time I'm in the area we will be back for more.

  3. linda from Mentone says:

    I got take out a week or so ago. Waited 45 minutes. Watched as tables stayed dirty, as people waited to pay and waited to be seated. There was no one to clean off tables and run cash register except waitresses, who seemed distracted. Restaurant was not full. Got food home and 2 of 4 orders were wrong. My
    Barbeque skimpy. I will go back when someone else runs it. They need more employees, more training for employees,and need to work on food or the great work Robert did will be for nothing. Restaurant looks great and is in a great location. I hope they work out their problems but I don't plan on returning.

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