By Lee Weyhrich
When brothers Eric and Kevin Witherington decided to open Moe’s Original Bar B Que in 2007, they knew they wanted to open in Trussville. Unfortunately, they were never able to find that perfect spot, until now. Moe’s will be opening in the old Legends Smokehouse building at 163 Main Street sometime in late February or early March, Eric said.
The story of how these brothers got into Southern barbecue begins, oddly enough, in Colorado. The Witheringtons owned a restaurant in Lakeview called the Lakeview Oyster House, but knew they wanted to branch out. They had not, however, decided what kind of restaurant to open.
“Kevin went on vacation to Vail (Colorado) and ran into these guys from Alabama,” Eric said. “These guys from Alabama had started a Southern-style restaurant in Colorado. He came home all fired up. He told us we were doing barbecue. I told him he had lost his mind, there are already too many barbecue places in Birmingham; they’re covered up.”
Eventually Kevin was able to prove to his brother that the Moe’s Original franchise was different from most barbecue joints. According to Eric, Moe’s is more of a meat-and-three home-style restaurant.
“We serve only the freshest meat; it comes in all-fresh daily,” Eric said. “We soak our own peas when we make black-eyed-peas .We chop our own vegetables. We cook everything from scratch. The only thing we don’t make at Moe’s Bar B Que is the buns. We’re really passionate about our food. We really care about using the freshest ingredients.”
There are three other Moe’s locations in the Birmingham area: Vestavia, Patton Creek and Lakeview. The Witheringtons have been trying to find a spot in Trussville since the beginning. They kept searching until they found the right spot.
“We never could find that perfect spot, and we didn’t want to just settle,” Eric said. “When something is meant to be, it kind of works out. We didn’t want to force it and this one (location) just worked out. It is a great opportunity, a great market, and we’re excited to be there.”
Work is currently being done on the old Legends building to update it. The building is being cleaned up and repainted, and an outside dining area will be added. Other Moe’s locations have live music, and there are plans to try it at this new location, as well.
“We tried it at Vestavia for six months, but that’s not what that restaurant turned out to be,” Eric said. “It became more of a family restaurant in the long run. We want to try the live music thing here. We’re looking forward to see how the community responds.”
Getting involved in the local community is among Eric’s favorite parts of his job.
“We’re thrilled,” Eric said. “We can’t wait
. We do a lot of work with schools and the sports programs in the areas we’re in. The fun part of what we do is to work with them and the churches and the community. It is how we reach out to the public. It is fun to reach out to a new group of people and we’re excited about it.”