DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Alan and Marie McCollum started a small cafe across the road a long time ago in the mid 60's. Their daughter, Janice McCollum Couch is in charge today.
"My dad was a lineman for the city of Decatur... and his thing was he wanted to be able to send his kids to college," said Couch. "So he sold the station wagon for the business."
Even as a child Janice helped out.
"I can remember they made me wash dishes. I would stand on coke crates. The old timey where all the bottles were?...yea. I would stand on those and wash dishes." she remembers. "As it grew... as the business grew, They just needed a bigger place and the gentleman that owned this land offered to build a restaurant and mom and dad rented it and then they finally bought it."
Her parents both passed away and Janice, along with her brother, Creig, took over. She says even with a lot more competition they've been able to keep their heads above water.
"...business wise it's not as good as it used to be but it's still good. You have so many different restaurants. And we are not in the city. We are in the county, so we don't sell liquor."
She adds there are a lot of "50-year regulars".
"We have a lot of people that have been coming here since they were born."
Janice says the secret to success it is to keep it simple. Her customers seem to agree.
Jim Forthman has been a customer since the beginning in 1964.
"Catfish, service and uh hamburger steak, too," Forthman says. "That's what I used to have for lunch."
His buddy, John Boyd agrees.
"Well it's supposed to be the best catfish in North Alabama. I know a lot of people that travel from Tennessee and everywhere else down to eat here."
But the crowds have slowed because of rumors of closing. Janice says it's just not true.
"No ma'am. We did tried to sell it, but we did not get what we wanted. It was never closed and it won't be closed unless drastic things happen."
"And we're still here and it's the same people. Our cooks have been here for anywhere from 15 to 30 years. We have kids that started out as dishwashers that are cooks now and they're 43 you know."
She says while her children have good jobs there are workers she not mind seeing take over. A continuing tradition in Bobby's Bama.