Andrew Campbell’s dream was always to open a restaurant, and in October 2018, he and his mother, Sherry Campbell, joined forces to transform that goal into a reality.
Route 63 Stop, located where Sonic closed down in 2016 along state Route 63, is a family affair. The mother-son owners complement each other’s skill sets, and the rest of the staff are relatives or close friends.
“I just love it, having the family around,” said Sherry, who has never worked in a restaurant before this one and had recently come out of the insurance business.
Both native to Alexander City, Campbell and Sherry are familiar with the area and already knew a lot of people when they began getting the word out about their business. They still enjoy seeing new faces, though, and meeting new people.
Currently, the building is set up for outside ordering – either drive-thru or walk-up window. The car slots that Sonic was known for are still in place for customers to use, along with some al fresco tables.
“We just kind of fell into this place by accident,” said Campbell.
The plan was to add onto the building or incorporate a muscle car theme to match their neighbor, Wellborn Musclecar Museum. The interior renovations were so costly, though, that additional expansions had to be put on hold temporarily.
In a mere three months, renovations were complete; electricity was re-wired; plumbing was updated; floor was grouted; the ceiling was torn out and replaced; the roof was fixed; and all the parts for the walk-in freezer and cooler were replaced.
The only thing salvaged was the kitchen hood. Brand new equipment was installed and set up to only require two cooks comfortably, three during busier times.
By spring or early summer, Sherry said, they hope to add a deck outside.
“We want to try to bring the lake life to downtown; and eventually add some live music,” said Campbell.
The menu features a variety of items, including burgers, quesadillas, wings, chicken fingers and wraps; however, with homemade sauces, pimento cheese and chicken salad, the offerings are tweaked to set them apart from traditional similar fare.
The Burger of the South, offered in 4 ounces or 8 ounces, features bacon, pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes. The bacon cheeseburger quesadilla stands out from the rest, along with the homemade chili.
Head cook Greg Hawkins and Campbell created the menu in one day; cooked all the food the same day and had the family come in to taste it.
“The food exceeded my expectations. The recipes we came up with were sort of on accident, but it worked,” said Campbell. “Some things we just knew we wanted to offer, some we came up with and some just didn’t work.”
Customers also rave about the fried pickles, Campbell’s homemade batter and the marinated wings, he said.
Route 63 Stop offers lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a kids’ menu and also features desserts and hand-dipped milkshakes.
The name references Route 66 in Oklahoma, which Sherry and her husband explored last summer and absolutely loved. The 63 obviously references the road the restaurant borders.
“We just want people to come in and enjoy it; enjoy the food and hang out,” Sherry said.
Route 63 Stop is located at 174 Broad St., Alexander City, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit the Facebook page or call 256-409-8088.