Heard’s BBQ opens 2nd location in Clanton

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Fans of Heard’s BBQ and Soul Food no longer have to drive all the way to Maplesville to get a helping of the restaurant’s cooking.

Heard’s set up shop in the cafeteria of Through the Grace of God Ministries in Clanton and opened for business on Oct. 15.

Heard’s will be at the location on Mondays and Tuesdays from 11 a.m. until the food they have brought for the day runs out.

Roman Heard, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife Shakira, said people in Clanton have been requesting that he bring his food to the city.

“I have a lot of people who come from Clanton to Maplesville,” he said. “It is just sort of word of mouth. People started telling their friends in Clanton about it. I didn’t seek this place, it just sort of fell in my lap. It was too good to pass up. So far, so good.”

Because of this demand, Heard was looking for a location in Clanton where he might start setting up his food truck. What he ended up with instead was space in a metal building in the city’s downtown area.

Heard said he had gotten to know Ralph Bingham, a minister at Through the Grace of God, because of the deliveries Bingham helped with through the ministry.

“When Mr. Ralph comes through Maplesville making deliveries, he would stop and get barbecue all the time,” Heard said. “Me and him sort of built a relationship. I’m a minister also, so we had a lot of common ground. He knew I had a food truck, and he saw my (social media) post that I was looking for a place in Clanton for my food truck, so he allowed me to use his place, and we help each other out. He (makes deliveries) mostly in the evenings. I wanted to help him with his ministry, so I’m going to be volunteering here on Thursdays and Fridays and helping him serve. It was something I wanted to be a part of.”

The menu at Heard’s Clanton location will change each day. However, the options will be familiar to those who have been to the restaurant in Maplesville before.

“We are trying to keep it light right now,” Heard said. “We use cell phones (for taking orders), so it’s not picking up as well inside the metal building. If you have 30 minutes on a lunch break, we want to get you in and out as quick as we can. The menu will change every day.”

The menu each day can be found on the Heard’s BBQ and Soul Food Facebook page.

“I have people messaging me saying they wished they could get to Maplesville and back in 30 minutes,” Heard said. “Now, everything they have been seeing over there for two years, they can get at their doorstep. I have customers that live in Maplesville but work (in Clanton) that eat with me on the weekends but can’t during the week. Now they can come see me more. As a matter of fact, my first three or four customers (Oct. 15) were from Maplesville. But Clanton did show me a lot of love. I appreciate that.”

While Heard’s BBQ will have been open for business in Maplesville for two years on Jan. 29, it only took two days for the Clanton location to have repeat customers.

Dustin Headley and his father Donnie, who work at Stokes Automotive, came to Heard’s for lunch both of the first two days it was open.

“They are great people, and they have great food,” said Dustin Headley. “I hope that he continues to come here. It gives us something else to eat (here in Clanton). I’ve driven all the way to Maplesville to get his ribs.”

Through the Grace of God Ministries is located at 75 Eighth St. S. The cafeteria is in the metal building that sits beside the main building. Both cash and cards are accepted at this new location.

The popularity of Heard’s food has grown tremendously in the short time the restaurant has been open.

The establishment has been a finalist in three separate statewide contests this year, including for ribs, catfish and burgers. Heard’s was the people’s choice (fan vote) winner in the ribs contest.

“Everything we have been blessed with in a short time, I don’t take for granted,” Heard said. “I know it’s a God thing. God really blesses me in what I’m doing. I seek His voice in all things. Before I agreed to this, even knowing how good a location it would be, I said, ‘Let me pray about it.’ I always try to show people the love of God. If you come here and you don’t have money to pay, fine. We will set up something to where you can bring it back next time.

“Doing it that way, God has shown me it’s not about feeding people literal food, it’s feeding them spiritually as well. We have a lot of people come in that are dealing with real-life issues, and they are looking for a release. I try to make it feel like home and give them another friend to talk to.”