From waitresses to restaurant owners
Sisters attracts customers from across Alabama
When sisters Pat Rogers and Geraldine Golden decided to leave their jobs and open Sisters Restaurant in Troy, they both had a lot of apprehension. Geraldine was working as a waitress at a local restaurant and Pat was in the insurance business, although she had worked as a waitress before.
The former owners of the property that is now Sisters Restaurant approached Pat and Geraldine about buying the property and opening a restaurant. “They said they would work with us any way they could and encouraged us to give it a try. I was all for it but Geraldine was holding out. I finally convinced her to let’s give it a try, so we rented the building for the first year then bought it,” Pat says.
“To get started, we borrowed $10,000 from Jeff Kervin at Troy Bank and Trust. He had faith in us, and has stuck with us. The business did well from the start.
“My mother, Juanita Golden, had taught Geraldine and me to cook when we were girls. We just didn’t know how to cook for so many, but we learned fast. I did most of the cooking to begin with and Geraldine helped out when needed. We wanted to serve food just like our customers ate at their mother’s and grandmother’s house.”
Sisters Restaurant opened serving country cooking, and the ladies intend to continue that style. Its specialties are corn, peas, butterbeans, squash, turnips, collards, and they still use their mother’s recipe for chicken and dressing.
Customers drive from Dothan, Montgomery, Luverne and all around to eat lunch with them, which they consider quite a compliment. “We haven’t forgot what made us successful, and that is our customers,” Pat says.
The restaurant also has become known for its desserts, such as its homemade banana pudding. It is on the “One Hundred Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” list and has been featured in Southern Living magazine. Another favorite is the bread pudding, made from a secret recipe.
“We always buy quality products in order to maintain our delicious country style of cooking. The first day we opened we had rice on the menu. It was an off brand and stuck to the pan and didn’t taste good. I told the customers that day that if they would stick with me I’d promise never to serve anything like that again. From then on we have only used Uncle Ben’s rice,” Pat says with a chuckle.
Both Pat and Geraldine laugh when they discuss Geraldine’s reluctance to go into business for themselves. “Pat came back all excited when she went and looked at the building the first time,” Geraldine says. “She was ready to get started, but I wanted no part of it. She finally got me to go look at it, but I told her I didn’t want any part of it. I found all kind of excuses not to do it but she talked me into it. I would go home and cry after work for a month or two. But our customers really supported us, and I relaxed and then began to enjoy the work and all the customers we saw every day. It was just fear at first, but I got over it.”
Sisters Restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary in March. They have completed several additions to accommodate the growing number of customers and the kitchen has been completely remodeled.
Sisters Restaurant offers a country buffet on Thursday night, with the main attraction the white meat or fatback and tomato gravy. They also serve a seafood buffet on Friday night. Sisters is open for lunch every day but Saturday.
One customer asked if he could look in the kitchen. When asked why, he said, “With food this good, I just thought my grandmother might be back there doing the cooking.” It’s hard to top a compliment like that.
Ben Norman is a writer from Highland Home, Ala.
13153 U.S. Highway 231 in Troy, about two miles south of Walmart
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday
all-you-can-eat buffet starts at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday;
all-you-can-eat buffet from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday