By Felicia Farnsworth
We were overwhelmed with good reviews about last month’s small business articles, so we decided to highlight one small business every week. This week we are highlighting Wiley’s Smuteye Grill.
Placed on a backcountry road, 14162 Co Rd 35, Banks, AL, is a BBQ joint filled with family, fellowship, and some of the best food you’ll find. Wiley and Debbie McWhorter opened the restaurant on July 1, 2011.
“It’s a family tradition” is their motto, and rightfully so, all but a few employees are family members.
When you visit Wiley’s Smuteye Grill, you can smell the smoke from the BBQ pit, and when you walk in, you are greeted with a friendly smile.
Wiley and his family treat you as guests at their dinner table when you eat at their establishment. “Right or wrong, the customer is always right, and we have to be nice. They’re our guests, and we want them to feel at home,” stated Wiley.
Wiley started cooking with his father in the 60s at Johnny’s Grocery on Hwy 239. He credits his father for his knowledge of bar-b-queing. In 2018 Wiley’s Smuteye Grill was a finalist in the Bama’s Best Pork Ribs Contest which the Alabama Pork Producers sponsored. Wiley’s was among the top four finalists. Wiley starts cooking on Thursdays for Friday and Saturday dinners.
“I start cooking the Boston Butts on Thursdays because it takes 12-14 hours in the pit before they fall off the bone,” commented Wiley.
The butts and ribs are smoked over a pit BBQ grill. Wiley doesn’t use any seasonings on his meat. He sprays a saltwater brine on them while they are in the pit. “I let the meat speak for itself,” stated Wiley.
While the ribs are a customer favorite along with the Happy Cappy and camp stew, the chopped pork is Wiley’s favorite item on the menu. Wiley’s patrons come from all over the U.S. as well as Canada.
Wiley’s used to be open for lunch and dinner on the weekends, and they hope to do so again in the future. When the pandemic started, COVID-19 hit the restaurant hard. “COVID-19 shut us down for almost a year. It really hurt us. It’s our small businesses that keep our families afloat. We rely on that income to support our family. We re-opened a few months ago.
We started small and were only open on Friday nights, with safety measures in place, we took call-in orders to our customers’ cars,” said Wiley. When the restaurant restrictions were lifted, and vaccines were given, Wiley’s opened their doors back up to the public. Things are starting to look up for the McWhorter family.
Wiley’s son is opening a restaurant in downtown Eufaula called Oak & Alley Smokehouse. Keeping in family tradition, BBQ will be served as well as steaks daily. Wiley’s Smuteye Grill caters for events big or small and hopes to continue to do so.
“We appreciate the business and love to see our customers come to eat. Thank you to our customers for keeping us in business for the last ten years. We hope to be able to provide a family atmosphere with good food and fellowship for years to come,” said Wiley.
Wiley’s Smuteye Grill is open every Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p. m.
You can see a copy of their menu on their Facebook page or give them a call to hear their specials at 334-474-3623.