Golden Rule Bar-B-Q

2506 Crestwood Blvd
Irondale, AL 35210
(205) 956-2678

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:

October 3, 2006


Amy Evans

Golden Rule Bar-B-Q - Michael Matsos - Alabama - Southern Trail BBQ
I used to go to the Golden Rule, like a bunch of guys get together just to get some good barbecue. And I loved their barbecue sandwich the way [the owner, Jabo Stone] did it and everything and the sauce. And he knew I used to come out there, and then he kept after me about taking over the business. And I told him I was a steak operator. I didn’t know anything about barbecue back then. But I learned quickly, watching him.

Explore Media