Red’s Little Schoolhouse, Chicken Shack advance in ‘Bama’s best fried chicken’ contest

Published 10:37 am Friday, July 13, 2018

The heat is on. The grease is hot; the chicken’s in the pan and the competition has thinned.

The first two match-ups in “Bama’s Best Fried Chicken” contest have been determined and two local restaurants are still in the running for the statewide title.

On Tuesday, the Chicken Shack in Luverne beat out Ruby’s in Abbeville, 2,800 votes to 1,300.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

On Wednesday, Red’s Little Schoolhouse in Grady topped Charlotte’s in Dothan, 1,000 votes to 463.

So Red’s Little Schoolhouse and The Chicken Shack will advance to the second round of “Bama’s Best Fried Chicken” contest.

The Chicken Shack will enter the semifinal round on Tuesday and Red’s will be back for the semifinal round on Wednesday. The final round will be on July 19.

Debbie Deese and her dad, “Red’ Deese opened Red’s in 1984 and she gives God all the glory for the success of the restaurant that’s “out in the middle of nowhere.”

“It’s unbelievable that this little ol’ place in Grady could even be noticed,” Deese said. “I was out picking squash early this morning and I was thinking how blessed we are to get recognized for country cooking when it’s so easy.”

But making a go of restaurant that’s so far off the beaten path has not always been easy.

“Back when gas went to $4 a gallon Red’s Little Schoolhouse Restaurant just about died,” Deese said. “It’s a long drive out here from just about anywhere. Some weeks I didn’t know if we could even make payroll, but my daddy’s name is on this place. That meant something.”

But at the very lowest of times, Deese said the phone would ring and it would be a church wanting to bring a Sunday school class or a senior group.

“I’d heard people say they wanted to give God the glory,” Deese said. “But I do give God the Glory. He’s saved us every step of the way. God’s people rescued us. The mighty hand of God was on this place.”

Deese doesn’t know how Red’s was nominated for the Bama’s Best Fried Chicken competition.

“My daughter showed it to me and she has asked people to vote for us but I kinda wouldn’t do that,” Deese said. “But we appreciate the honor and thank those who think enough of us to vote for Red’s.”

Brothers Mike and Drew Money, owners of The Chicken Shack, are just as appreciative of those who voted for their fried chicken. – so much so that they are taking turns standing over the hot stove in an effort to keep the fried chicken coming.

Maricia Brown, who manages the busy business, credits the longevity of The Chicken Shack and its reputation for the best chicken around for the strong vote it received in the first round of the competition.

“The Chicken Shack has been around for about 50 years and Luverne is excited about the contest. Local people are voting and people from around the area,” Brown said. “We’ve got posters up about the contest and travelers are voting, too.”

Brown said The Chicken Shack will have big city competition in the semifinal round, from Dothan and Montgomery

“We don’t know yet which one we’ll be up against, but it doesn’t matter; we’ll be ready,” Brown said. “People really like our chicken.  If it ain’t right; we make it right.”

Brown said most of The Chicken Shack’s business comes from word of mouth advertising.

“People are talking about the contest and our chicken, so if they all vote, we’ll have  a chance.’

If The Chicken Shack advances to the finals, Brown said she would like for Red’s Little School House to be its competition.

“We’re both local and it would be good to have two restaurants from around here in the finals,” she said. “It would be fun.”

To vote for the best fried chicken restaurant in Alabama, simply go to the Simply Southern TV Facebook page and cast your vote.