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A spirit that is not afraid

Family owned barbecue restaurant opens in Auburn

<p>Sharon and Dewrell Dowdell share a smile in front of the fresh food that they just cooked inside of Opelika's All I Do is BBQ's kitchen on May 26, 2022.</p>

Sharon and Dewrell Dowdell share a smile in front of the fresh food that they just cooked inside of Opelika's All I Do is BBQ's kitchen on May 26, 2022.

Ribs simmering, fryer crackling and the smell of smoky pork hits you before you even have a chance to open the door. But that is the least exciting thing about this barbecue restaurant. 

Kenzie and Kimverly Rogers opened All I do is Barbecue earlier this year, but this family-owned restaurant has been in the works for years. Both of them grew up loving to cook at a young age. But Kenzie wanted to take it a step further.

About two and a half years ago, Kenzie started experimenting with his own sauces and different types of meat that tasted well together. His favorite moments revolve around grilling for family, friends or even social events.  

Friends and family began teasing Kenzie and saying “all you do is barbecue." Kinsey immediately grabbed inspiration from the catchy phrase and used it to name his restaurant All I Do Is BBQ. 

The three most important things that come with opening and owning a restaurant are simple: a location, a menu and most importantly — a team. 

Kenzie had already perfected his sauces for the meats, which include a sauce named heat, which is a medium heat, tangy BBQ sauce, and a honey sauce called "Hello Honey."

The name of the sauce was inspired by the nail salon he goes to and every time he walks through the door, the ladies greet him with the phrase, "Hello honey" which made him feel safe and welcomed.  

Kimverly Rogers reaches across the counter to share a bag of food with a customer on May 26, 2022.

The Rogers found their location by scoping out the Auburn and Opelika area and found a donut shop that was closing near Glenn Avenue. They saw their opportunity and grabbed it by the horns. With their location, their starter menu and their family, they were ready to open the doors to the public. 

Kenzie and Kimverly’s daughter, Lathan, redecorated the entire location, converting it from a donut shop to a classic, family-oriented BBQ restaurant. She reframed and redecorated the four walls for an open environment for everyone to enjoy, as a family. 

Executing the menu may not have been their biggest challenge, but it motivates them each day to open their door. The menu is customer-based daily, meaning that what the customers ask for, they receive. Customers come in asking for different types of food every day that was not on the starter menu, but the Rogers family does not turn down a challenge.

Kimverly said adjusting to the customer's needs was not only her job but her desire.

“I'm not going to say it was hard," Kimverly said. "When you have a passion for something, you want to make sure you get it done. You know what you’re doing, you know what you need, you know how to do it, but are we able to breathe and wind down to get it done?” 

A couple of weeks ago Kimverly and her mother were alone for three days running the entire restaurant, from open to close with no breaks. Kimverly had a line of customers out of the door and started to feel overwhelmed. She went to the back because she needed to take a moment and breathe. 

Her mom followed her to the back, and Kimverly said “Mama, I am scared that I am not going to be able to give our customers the attention they deserve,” Her mother responded. “Pull it together, we can do this."

They went back up to the front of the restaurant where hungry customers were anxiously waiting. Kimverly informed the customers who may have been on their lunch break that food items would be about a 30–45-minute wait. 

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“If you want to come back, promise me you’ll come back. If you want to wait, we will take care of you,” Kimverly said. Every customer continued to wait in line during their lunch break, without hesitation.

The Rogers don’t take any of the credit though. 

“We give it all to God, praying every day," Kimverly said. "We want our kids to take over the restaurant someday, because if I'm not strong, I got two, three, four people back there that are, we fuel each other up, and we are praying the kids will take over when needed. God will fill our cup if we do what we are meant to do." 

It was the customers that made their family comfortable. If it wasn’t for the support of the people that walk through their doors every day, inspiring them to learn, try new things and connect with the community, they wouldn’t have made it where they were today. 

Jolie Bishop | Culture Editor

Jolie Bishop, culture editor for The Auburn Plainsman is a senior in marketing with a minor in journalism. She has been with The Plainsman since summer of 2022. 

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