Moulton's "The Hot Spot" owners Marvin and Elayne Jackson held a special dedication celebration on Halloween after the restaurant was listed on Alabama’s Historic Register.
“Marvin and I would like to thank everyone for participating and supporting us,” Elayne Jackson said. “We are so grateful to be a part of the Lawrence County History and Preservation Society, which does so much to help protect and preserve the community’s history.”
The Hot Spot, a restaurant located on Byler Road near downtown Moulton, reopened in June 2019 and was officially listed on the Alabama Register in June, according to Jackson.
"This is a great honor, not only for Marvin and I personally, but for the City of Moulton and Lawrence County as well," she said. "Historic properties bring tourism and much-needed revenue to our area."
Jackson, who brings a taste of her old hometown Chicago to customers here in Moulton, said she loves getting creative in the kitchen; though she also incorporates many of her old family recipes into the menu. Serving up Chicago Style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and even some Cajun red beans and rice, she said it isn't just the great fresh food that draws visitors.
"Our place is different and unique," she said. Customers who come for a hot meal also receive a tour of the building's original historic features. "My husband and I went through the archives and did our own research with the help of (Archivist Wendy Hazle). She walked us through the process."
The Jackson's research shows The Hot Spot was built circa 1945 by Amos Taylor, who also opened the building as a restaurant. Jackson said she and her husband are the fourth owners who owned the restaurant, which also once served as a service station, and an adjacent building that now houses a barbershop.
The oldest record of the property, according to the Jacksons’ research, shows a deed of the lot where the restaurant sits to T.J. and Sarah Coffey in 1929. The Coffeys eventually sold the plot to A.S. Byars before it was purchased by Taylor on March 14, 1944.
"We've heard some really great stories from visitors who remember the restaurant when Mr. Taylor owned it," she said. "We love hearing customers say, I remember this or I remember this."
LCHPS President Dana Charles said the community will benefit greatly from having a historic property also serve as an operating business.
“We’re always glad to see a historic property that’s been preserved and restored. It’s even better when there’s a business opened in that property because it contributes to the economy of the city and the county,” Charles said. “Studies have been conducted all over the United States that show the success of combining historic preservation and economic development. We’re glad to have Elayne and Marvin and their business doing just that, which adds value to all the properties in that area.”
Charles presented a $300 check to The Hot Spot on behalf of the History and Preservation Society to reimburse the Jackson’s for a portion of the Alabama Historic marker expense. He said LCHPS is able to provide $300 to a historic site twice a year for a plaque noting the site’s place on the Alabama Historic Register.
LCHPS Board member Ann Britnell said turnout at The Hot Spot’s Halloween dedication was successful, and saw attendance from District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey, Moulton Mayor Roger Weatherwax, Moulton Council members Cassandra Lee and Brent White, Lawrence County District Attorney Errek Jett, Courtland Mayor-elect Linda Peebles, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Director Craig Johnston, as well as several LCHPS members, and friends and family of the Jacksons. She said Archivist Wendy Hazle was also present to give a dedication speech.
The Jacksons had to close the restaurant temporarily, like many others, during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Jackson said she and her husband took the time to renovate for additional seating before reopening around August. With more outdoor seating, she said customers can feel safe coming to the restaurant to enjoy a meal, "cooked hot on the spot."
The Hot Spot, located at 2701 Byler Road, is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit The Hot Spot on Facebook.