Golden Rule Bar-B-Q | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Southern BBQ Trail

< Back to Oral History project: Alabama BBQ


Michael Matsos

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.

Date of interview:
2006-10-03 00:00

Amy Evans


Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.