Leo & Susie’s Famous Green Top Bar-B-Que | 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 annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Susie and Richard Headrick

In 1951 the new Highway 78 cut through Dora, Alabama. Businesses began dotting the roadside to catch travelers on their way into Birmingham. One of the first to open its doors was the Green Top. Popular for its barbecue but better known for its beer, the Green Top was an oasis in a desert of dry counties.

In 1973, coalminer Leo Headrick saw an opportunity to get out of the mines, make a good living, and work alongside his wife Susie. They, along with their sons Richard and Preston, bought The Green Top and put everything they had into the place. But it was Susie who taught the rest of her family about barbecue. And it was Susie who corralled their roadhouse clientele and helped the Green Top evolve into a family-oriented place. Eventually, they expanded their menu and the building, as well. Today, the Green Top sells far more barbecue than beer. Leo passed away in 1997, but Susie is still at the helm. Richard still makes the sauce and his son, Tony, is now the third generation to the work the pits at the Green Top.

Two interviews, from Susie Headrick and Richard Headrick, are featured for this establishment.

Date of interview:

Amy Evans


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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.


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