The Strand: Dining, shopping experience not to be missed

The building went up in 1889 as a general mercantile store.
The building went up in 1889 as a general mercantile store.

FORT PAYNE, AL (WAFF) - From the outside, the building looks like most others along a small city street, but there is something different. Just like a sign says, inside there is warmth for the body and soul.

Heath Locklear manages the grill while his mom takes over the cash register.  His dad makes conversation with customers.

"We're a mom and pop place. We've been in business doing food for about seven years now. Started out as a little antique store in just this one room," said Locklear.

The building went up in 1889 as a general mercantile store. It housed several different businesses over time.

Frequent customer, Bill Wise, said there is a history there.

"I remember when it used to be a movie theatre. That's the reason it's called The Strand; it used to be The Strand Theatre," said Wise.

And now it's a unique combination of shopping, eating and meeting. You might even see some familiar faces place an order or two.  Members of the group, Alabama, frequently stop in.

"Jeff was in this morning, as a matter of fact. He'll come in and get food for his mom or something. I mean, they're just regular guys," Locklear gushed.

Maybe so, but regular guys don't draw a crowd like this famous foursome, nor do they have menu items bearing their name.

The "Boys from Fort Payne" are not the only guys from this area which are musically inclined.

Locklear reminisces about his own foray into the music business.

"I had two albums that we did back in the 80's and early 90's. I had one song called, 'I Once Had You' actually went in the Top 40 in Billboard, and so  I had my little run at fame there for a little while," he said.

He went from singing for his supper to making everyone's supper, lunch, and breakfast.

Another frequent customer, Larry Sanders said he loves it there.

"I grew up in Fort Payne. I've known the Locklears all my life, so I like to come down and visit. Think about the old days," he said.

And it's that feeling of home, of grandma's house with Bric-a-brac, comfort food, and family atmosphere that keeps them coming back. They start as customers and leave as friends.

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