One of Bassmaster’s own, photographer Shane Durrance, has a tie to Eufaula, Ala. In 1993, Shane and his parents decided to take a leap of faith and jump into the restaurant business. Shane's dad Phil had been working at the Uniroyal Tire Plant in Opelika, Ala., for 22 years. Michelin came in and bought out the company and offered up early retirement packages. Phil took one, and he invested in a very different career: a barbecue restaurant. After lots of research, a location was chosen in Eufaula.
After a few years of helping operate the business, Shane gota little bored and decided to open a guide service on Lake Eufaula. Shane always had the dream of fishing the Bassmaster tournament trail. When he wasn’t required to be in the restaurant, Shane was guiding and working his way through a Federation bass club — the Eufaula Bass Club.
In 1998, the Durrance family decided that they needed more family time. They sold Phil’s BBQ to the best possible person, Dennis Durrance. Dennis is a first cousin to Shane, and he had been stationed overseas as a Marine for years. Dennis’ dream was to move back home and be closer to family.
Dennis and his wife, Ellen, bought Phil’s BBQ and took over the family business. They kept the secret family recipes and added a twist of their own to the menu. In 2013 Phil’s BBQ won the Alabama BBQ Sauce-Off contest with their Sweet Lucy Sauce.
The area from Phenix City, Ala., to Columbus, Ga., to Opelika, Ala., is known as the barbecue capital of the world, due to the fact that there are more barbecue restaurants per square mile than anywhere else in the country. That made winning the sauce contest a big deal.
Phil’s BBQ has been family owned since 1993. People ask all the time what their specialty is. Of course they always get the same answer, everything.