Lee's Restaurant offers more than just good food
by Rachel Davis
Dec 12, 2012 | 1620 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Doug Ragsdale, owner of Lee’s Restaurant in Sumiton, is hosting a series of shows featuring celebrity impersonators, as well as other events at his restaurant. – Photo by: Rachel Davis.
Doug Ragsdale, owner of Lee’s Restaurant in Sumiton, is hosting a series of shows featuring celebrity impersonators, as well as other events at his restaurant. – Photo by: Rachel Davis.
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SUMITON — When Alma Lee Ragsdale started Lee’s Restaurant in 1995, she borrowed money for her equipment and took $2,000 of her own money and shopped local grocery stores to plan her restaurant menu.

“She would get the newspaper and buy what was on sale to plan her menu out,” her son, Doug Ragsdale, said. “In one year’s time, she had it all paid for.”

Alma Ragsdale is now retired and Doug, who became her partner in 2006, handles the day-to-day management and ownership of the restaurant.

Last year, when the April tornados displaced a local show that featured celebrity impersonators, Doug Ragsdale agreed to let them use one of the restaurant’s dining rooms for shows. He said it didn’t take long to realize there is a demand for the shows after their second concert attracted more than 200 people last June. The performances have become a regular thing at the restaurant, and Ragsdale said he plans to keep doing them because he’s gotten so much positive feedback from the community.

“There isn’t really anything like this on a consistent basis, and people like to have a place they can go locally,” he said.

This Friday, an impersonator show will feature Travis James debuting his John Anderson impersonation, and Josh Livingston will be performing oldies songs as well. On Dec. 22, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. the restaurant will host “Christmas with Elvis,” with Robert Glass as Elvis. The restaurant will also host a Valentine’s Day dinner and show featuring impersonators from the Memories Theatre in Tennessee and a steak dinner.

Even though Doug runs things now, he recently jumped at the opportunity to make another one of his mother’s dreams for the business come true. He began holding concerts for local church groups and gospel groups in one half of the restaurant. Four area churches have used the space for performances and the restaurant has hosted several gospel quartets, including the Kingsman Quartet.

“Mom’s dream was to be able to use her restaurant for ministry,” Doug Ragsdale said. “I’m a big southern gospel guy and when we got the Kingsmen in, it really excited me. It gives an outlet for people to have something to do and it helps me be involved in ministry.”

On Dec. 29, the restaurant will host the LeFevre Quartet, on Jan. 31, 2013, the Gold City Quartet and the Nelson Quartet on Feb. 28, 2013.

Lee’s offers a vegetable buffet with different offerings each day, as well as a full menu of burgers, sandwiches and other items. The restaurant is currently open Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., although after the first of the year the closing time will extend to 7 p.m. They are also open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday from 6:30 a.m. for a breakfast bar until 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The number to call daily to hear Lee’s menu and specials for the day is 648-9217 and the number to call about the events is 648-4461.