Leo & Susie’s Famous Green Top Bar-B-Que

7530 Highway 78
Dora, AL 35062
(205) 648-9838

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:

September 29, 2006


Amy Evans

Leo and Susie's Famous Green Top Bar-B-Que - Alabama - Southern BBQ Trail
When we first got it, it had one little pit out there. And it’s covered up now by the cabinet where the coffee pot and all that [is]. But we’ve got three huge pits now. And it just started growing. When we had been here just a little while it started growing.

We didn’t have what you would call a pitmaster back in them days…Whoever was walking by the pit, if you saw the fire getting up close to the meat, you took and you put a little water on it and went on about your business…And Mother, she taught me what I needed to know about when a shoulder was done.