LOCAL LEGEND: Crowe’s documentary to debut at film festival

Published 4:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2018

Crowe’s Chicken is a community favorite in Pike County, and now more Alabamians will have a chance to hear about the restaurants in Troy and Brundidge.

James Radford, a Troy native now living in Decatur, Georgia, is a professional attorney and amateur filmmaker on the side. And as a lover of the restaurant’s famous fried chicken and secret sauce, he knew he had to make a short documentary film about the eatery and its acclaim among local residents.

“I have a lot of nostalgia for Troy and for small towns in general; I’m really interested in things unique to a small town,” Radford said. “You can only find it in that one place. Crowe’s is a perfect example of something that’s only in Pike County … It helps to paint a picture of what’s unique about a place like Troy.”

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So Radford began calling all of the people he could think of with a connection to Crowe’s and sat down with them to collect their thoughts on the restaurant.

“I didn’t know if anyone would even be willing to sit down and talk with me,” Radford said. “But we were able to get in touch with (founder) Sherill Crowe, (Troy owner) Robert Jones – basically everyone who we asked was able to sit down with us, so we were able to get really a comprehensive documentary about Crowe’s.”

The film is 11 minutes long and will debut at the 2018 Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham Saturday, Aug. 25.

The film will be exhibited at 3:30 p.m. at the Recital Hall of the Alabama School of the Fine Arts as part of the festivals “Alabama Documentary Shorts” series.

The documentary features voices of the founder and owners, but also of residents that have fallen in love with the restaurant’s chicken and “secret sauce.”

Jim Smith, a Troy naitve that is now the executive chef for the governor of Alabama, breaks down the technical aspect of the chicken and sauce while Mayor Jason Reeves reflects picking up meals from the restaurant while on his first date with his now-wife.

Gary Chinburg, Alfa agent, brings up the lunch break temptations that arose from working so close to the restaurant when it was next door to his U.S. Highway 231 office and many other residents share their thoughts on the restaurant.

Founder Sherril Crowe goes into more detail about how the logo for the business was created and the initial confusion about whether the poultry served at the restaurant might be crow instead of chicken.

Reeves said the restaurant has even gained notoriety from people passing through.

“As someone who grew up here, it has always certainly been a part of the community,” Reeves said. “One thing I believe has really taken hold over time is for people that travel through here, it’s a stop. People come home to Troy after a long time and post a picture of themselves eating at Crowe’s. Robert and Patsy have done a great job of continuing that legacy.”

The Sidewalk Film Festival is a nationally recognized festival that debuted in 1999.

Filmmakers from across the country and around the world have come to Birmingham to screen their work at Sidewalk, which attracts enthusiastic crowds eager to devour new independent cinema. The Festival continues to thrive with increased submissions, ticket sales, and press coverage. The 20th annual Sidewalk Film Festival will take place August 20-26, 2018.