One of the oldest barbecue joints in Birmingham still in operation, the Golden Rule opened its doors in Irondale in 1891. Operated by the Williams family, the place was a popular stop for barbecue and beer on what was then the Atlanta Highway. In the 1930s electrician Jabo Stone married Ellene Williams and into the family business. For the next forty years, the Stones operated the Golden Rule. The Stones had no children to carry on their legacy, so in 1969 Jabo Stone approached Michael Matsos about taking over the business. Michael had been in the restaurant business for a few decades already, opening the legendary La Paree Restaurant and then his namesake Michael’s Sirloin Room in downtown Birmingham. Though he didn’t know much about barbecue, Michael saw a good business opportunity in the Golden Rule and took it over in 1969. In the intervening years the Golden Rule has expanded, not only its menu, but its presence throughout Alabama and the South.
Michael Matsos passed away in January 2012.