Ain’t Nothin’ Like ’Em NowhereSep 04, 2023
In Alabama, Dreamland Bar-B-Que is a legacy. Since 1958 when John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened his restaurant in Tuscaloosa, his hickory-fired ribs have become legendary. Many a fan has taken the pilgrimage to the original location to sample them and soak up the vinegar-based sauce with white bread. Bobby Underwood was one of those fans who befriended Big Daddy and convinced him to let someone else carry on his legacy so those ribs could be enjoyed for generations to come. Many conversations ensued as the family stepped out of the business. The end result was that Bobby gained ownership and opened up nine more locations across the state and two in Atlanta.
Bobby’s daughter, Betsy McAtee, came on board more than 20 years ago when her dad asked her to come work with him. “We are very aware that we are serving a legacy to every guest that dines in our restaurants,” she explains. “Mr. Bishop trusted my dad to carry on the tradition and then Dad entrusted it to me when he passed away.”
Over the years the company has grown from mainly serving ribs and white bread to expanding the menu to include Southern side dishes, desserts, salads and wraps to accommodate customer preferences. Besides their restaurants, the company has an USDA manufacturing facility where they produce their sauces and spices and ship across the country and the world.
In 2021, Betsy and her realtor began the process of looking for a space where she could house the manufacturing facility, a shipping department and an office into one location. “My realtor introduced me to Sam Renta at Alliance Capital,” she says. “I had never done an SBA loan before, so Sam held my hand through the process and kept me apprised of everything going on.”
Throughout the long buildout process, Sam and his team were instrumental in navigating Betsy through the construction pieces of the loan. “Since my company, BUM Foods, is female-owned, not only did I get a favorable interest rate, but it also gave me a longer amortization time where that rate is fixed than in conventional banking,” Betsy explains. “I learned so much from Sam during the process.”
Now that the company has moved in and is cooking and producing product each day, Betsy and her employees are thrilled when they see each one labeled with their address of Birmingham Street. “There’s no way I could have pursued an SBA loan solo,” she says. “I’m so grateful to Sam that we now have this amazing space to carry on the traditions of Dreamland.”
To place your own orders for this Alabama legend, visit their website at
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