Whether it’s our speciality white BBQ sauce or a big bowl of grits, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Alabamians love to eat. Few questions are more important than, “Where do you want to go eat tonight?” While there are plenty of delicious options, not many restaurants can say they’ve been serving Alabamians for 107 years. In that category, The Bright Star in Bessemer, Alabama, stands alone.
Yahoo Food researched restaurant associations, historical societies, tourism boards and business licensing departments in order to determine that The Bright Star is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the Yellowhammer State.
“Though usually the definition of ‘Greek Cuisine’ is something served up by a cook at the Sig Ep House in Tuscaloosa, the oldest restaurant in Alabama is this Bessemer Greek joint that’s been owned by the Koikos family since 1925,” writes Yahoo’s Matt Meltzer.
Tom Bonduris opened The Bright Star in 1907, and the restaurant outgrew three locations before moving to its current location in 1914. In 1925, Bonduris sold Bright Star to Bill and Pete Koikos, two immigrants from Greece. Since then, the restaurant has been owned by the Koikas family, with Bill’s sons Jim and Nick operating the business since 1966. In 1996, The Bright Star was recognized as an Alabama landmark in the United States Congregational Record. According to the restaurant’s website, the restaurant is staffed by 90 people who have an average length of service of more than seven years.
After thriving for this long, it’s clear The Bright Star will be shining for decades to come, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rush down there to try its “specialty Greek-style snapper and steak, signature seafood gumbo, luncheon specials, and famous pies,” created by Chef Ross Daidone.