Barnhills opens bringing 70 jobs to Atmore

Published 1:58 am Monday, January 3, 2005

By by Chris HENLEY
Quietly opening its doors Wednesday, Atmore's new Barnhills has proven to be a hit with the lunch crowd.
"Things have been going great," said President Brian Owens. "We've been very busy every day. We really don't want to run people off in the first week so we like to open quietly and do a big grand opening a month down the road."
Taking over the old Golden Corral building, Owens said they did a complete remodel before opening.
"It was really more like a reconstruction," he said. "There wasn't much damage from the hurricane; it was just an old building that needed work. We had to put in new pipes, new electrical and we expanded the dining room. We probably went $50,000 over budget."
Seating 162 people, Owens said this was the smallest Barnhills in the company.
"We hired about 70 people," he said. "We have more two-person tables than other Barnhill's which allows us to utilize space better."
As for the menu, there's nothing small about it. They have the same variety as all the other Barnhill's Restaurants.
"One thing we're known for is our seasoned vegetables," he said. "We don't use canned veggies. They all come in fresh frozen. Mr. Barnhill is a stickler on his food. In fact he likes to occasionally visit a restaurant and teach the cooks how to fry chicken."
Though they have their base items like fried chicken and fish, they swap out four or five items every day for variety. Special items for the menu include steak and shrimp on Fridays and Saturday. Sunday features a turkey and dressing dinner.
"That's something Mr. Barnhill's been doing," Owens said. "Some folks eat here seven days a week."
New in the works for this weekend will be Barnhill's first breakfast buffet served from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m.
"We wanted to get running a bit before starting the breakfast shift," he said. "We're also going to be adding an omelet station soon."
The local restaurant is being managed by Donna Hunter of Atmore who comes in with more than 20-years of restaurant experience.
"Mr. Barnhill wants to come into communities where we're wanted," he said. "Everyone here's been pleasant and very complimentary of the food. I think they're as happy to have us as we are to be here."

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