Progress 2023: Red Zone Sports Grill serving up a tasty menu & friendly service

Published 5:05 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

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Red Zone Sports Grill in Thorsby has provided an establishment for sport watchers to enjoy their games, and grab a tasty bite to eat while they are at it.

A lifetime full of service is the best way to describe former Marine and Red Zone Sports Grill owner Jaime Storey. Storey’s interest in the restaurant scene began at an early age getting his first job at Johnny Ray’s BBQ. Storey heard the call to serve his nation and joined the Marines shortly after. When he returned to Alabama in 2006 he went back into the restaurant business. Storey grew up in Pelham, but calls Chilton County home now.

“I have always been interested in the restaurant business … Ever since (I returned in 2006) I have just tried to feed folks,” Storey said. “… I like Chilton County, it is nice.”

Storey and longtime friend and business partner Todd Bowen wanted to create a bar and grill style restaurant in Chilton County and founded Red Zone 12 years ago. The two tried to come up with a name, and “Red Zone” was the one.

“The Red Zone name just stuck,” Storey said. “There were several other names, but Red Zone was the one that stuck.”

Red Zone was originally called “Red Zone Bar & Grill” and located in Jemison. Since then Storey has changed the name to Red Zone Sports Grill

to be more family-oriented, and moved the restaurant to Thorsby early in 2022. Storey said Thorsby is unique because of how central everything is to downtown with Thorsby High School right by and different eateries, including Red Zone now.

“I like the area, and I like the people in this area,” Storey said. “Nothing against Jemison at all … Thorsby is a great city, and I think we have something to offer to them,”

Red Zone Sports Grill has a menu that includes classic Americana food such as chicken wings, burgers and nachos as well as appetizers like onion rings and chips and salsa. There is also a kid’s menu and takeout service available as well.

“I have eaten there several times, and they have very good food,” Thorsby Mayor Robert Hight said. “It has made a huge impact … And it really has done well for the city of Thorsby.”

Red Zone extends its hours during sport seasons such as high school football on Thursday and Friday nights in the fall to give hungry attendees a place to eat after the games.

“It is just good for the citizens to have a place to eat at night because most of them are closed after dark here,” Hight said. “It has been a great benefit for us.”

The inside of Red Zone is outfitted with several televisions for sports games and has jerseys and photos from local high school and youth sports teams. Thorsby High School is well represented on the walls at the restaurant.

While Red Zone is now a well-established business, the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues have hindered Storey in the past. He said the restaurant business can be tough nowadays with trucks not having all the ingredients when ordered, higher prices now and trying to balance keeping menu prices down while also trying to turn a profit.

“A lot of people do not see that,” Storey said. “It is starting to get better, but availability on some items is still tough to get, and hopefully people will continue to work with us on that.”

Red Zone was able to keep going through the pandemic with a lot of customers ordering to-go food. Storey said his employees are the biggest reason Red Zone kept going, and is the biggest factor in making a restaurant successful.

“Having employees who are dependable is important, and you try to take care of them so they will take care of your business,” Storey said. “They are more of the face of the business than myself, and that is the key to making people want to come back.”

Red Zone has called Thorsby home for less than a year, but Storey said he has been happy with the transition and getting experience the people around the city.

“Thorsby is a very tight-knit community, and everyone knows one another,” Storey said. “It has been intriguing getting to know the folks around here, and they have been really nice and supportive. It has been a good experience.”

Red Zone is located at 87 Montgomery Ave. in Thorsby, and is open from 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Red Zone is closed on Sundays.