Tornado takes family down new path

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ray and Patricia Calhoun found themselves jobless after the April 27 tornado destroyed the place they worked in Tuscaloosa. The couple now owns Edgar's Southwestern Grill in Clanton.

The tornadoes that tore through Tuscaloosa in April left a tattered community in their wake, taking lives, destroying buildings and leaving thousands without homes or jobs.

Ray and Patricia Calhoun, of Centreville, were among the jobless until they bought Edgar’s Southwestern Grill in Clanton.

How did a couple living in Centreville and commuting to Tuscaloosa for work choose to buy a business in Clanton?

They seemed to know the right people in the right place at the right time.

The Calhouns’ son, Jeff, is pastor at Lomax Assembly of God, which is where the couple has attended church for the past 11 years.

Their other son lives in Tuscaloosa, and they consider their home in Centreville a halfway point between their two children.

“We were working for a commercial mill work shop in Tuscaloosa that was destroyed by the tornado,” Patricia said. “We would have stayed there because we were happy there, but we are excited about this new adventure.”

The Calhouns still live in Centreville, but Clanton will see a lot more of them at Edgar’s during the week.

“It’s very difficult to work in Tuscaloosa, live in Centreville and go to church in Clanton,” Patricia said. “We feel like this is a really good move.”

The Calhouns officially became the new owners of Edgar’s on Sept. 1.

“Edgar (former owner) had attended (our church) several times, and just built a good relationship with my son,” Patricia said. “He wanted to sell it to someone who would keep it open and do good with it. We’re glad to be here and hope to be an asset to the community.”

Patricia and her husband had never worked in the restaurant industry prior to this.

“It’s a learning experience,” she said. “We’ve been in construction or mill work all of our lives. That’s all we’ve ever known. Everybody has been so receptive and positive about us opening up this business. It’s been so good.”

The couple has already made changes to the restaurant, and they hope to expand soon.

“I would like to have a party room area, so we can have private parties here, too,” Patricia said. “We just want to be a place where they can come and enjoy a nice meal and a friendly atmosphere.”

The Calhouns have revamped the restaurant’s interior with fresh paint and two large TVs, which the couple bought specifically for showing college football games on Saturdays.

Edgar’s will also stay open until 11:30 p.m. on Friday nights during football season, Patricia said.

“Last night, we got to-go menus printed up,” Patricia said. “We’re having a drawing each week for a free meal. Our customers sign up when they come in.”

Steaks will be added to the dinner menu by Oct. 1, and chocolate burritos are in the works for the dessert menu.

Patricia said she and her husband are thankful for the community’s support so far.

“We love meeting the people of Clanton,” Patricia said. “We knew some people, but it’s nice to meet the others.”

Edgar’s is open seven days a week. Hours are 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; and 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Sunday.

Edgar’s is located at 613 Second Ave. N. in Clanton.

For more information or to make reservations, call (205) 280-0456.