RSVP Montgomery

Teamwork makes the dream work


Kim Traff
I’ll never forget being downtown in the Alley over ten years ago when Bob Parker tapped me on the shoulder and said, “come check out the future home of Dreamland Bar-B-Que.” Having known Bob for 30 plus years, I had never seen him more excited about anything as he walked me through the empty space describing what he had set out to do. Bob’s mom, Betsy, describes him as her “dreamer” and we are fired up to celebrate 10 years of success that resulted from Bob’s vision of possibilities.

Bob is straight up a people person. He never meets a stranger, loves people of all races, ages and backgrounds, and knows what it means to be a loyal friend. He started working at Dreamland’s Tuscaloosa location in 1995, and within six months went from server to manager to general manager. He gets it. I say this not to boast about Bob, because he would never want this story to be about him, but his success is in huge part a result of hardworking employees he calls his “A Team.” You don’t get that level of commitment and loyalty from your employees unless you give it first.

We know it all started with John “Big Daddy” Bishop’s ribs and secret sauce in 1958, but seeing the success of what he created passed down and making an impact on so many employees and customers… is, well (to slightly misquote their motto), “ain’t nothing like it nowhere.”

Jeanette, daughter of Dreamland’s founder (“Big Daddy”) lived in a loft above Montgomery’s original location for the first five years, which ignited even more passion in the customers and employees. Together, the employees have over 220 years of combined experience and they are DREAMLAND! Bob is quick to credit Jerry Kyser and other great partners, the devoted team and the fantastic customers, for the success of the restaurant. While Dreamland has always been one of our favorite places to eat, the RSVP team went by to get to know a little more about the people responsible for the success of the restaurant. It was fun to see a packed house with people of all types enjoying great food and great service in a laid-back atmosphere that makes unwinding from a long day easy.

Edwina Brown, Dreamland ambassador whose smile lights up the entire room, has been directing catering for 11 years and is the ace of spades with her “go-getter” attitude and friendly face.

General Manager Carlos Hernandez has been an employee for ten years. He treats everyone with the same level of respect and has an honest, personable approach in everything he does.

Amanda Murray’s energy and hard work took her from employee to manager in two years. A lover of poetry, her creative, free spirit keeps things calm and steady when things get hectic.

Pam Nelson, aka “Miss Pam,” is a force on the floor. Her presence always has a positive effect on the entire restaurant. Twenty five percent of Dreamland’s revenue runs through Miss Pam and after five years in Birmingham and the last ten here in Montgomery, Dreamland wouldn’t be the same without her. Even though she probably knows your name, she is going to call you “baby!”

Mark Nale retired after years of dedicated service in the U.S. Air Force and a civilian contractor. He came to Dreamland as a post-career job and the team jokes that they thought he wouldn’t make it a day. Ten years later, Mark is head server and his passion for Dreamland is undeniable.

Dreamland is now located in what has been Montgomery’s only brew pub for 22 years, where Jamie Ray was brewing beer long before Dreamland made it their permanent address. Still at it, Jamie has been nicknamed “The Godfather” of Alabama craft beer and brings a unique and valuable element to Dreamland through the beer scene.

We don’t always see what happens behind the scenes, but the kitchen crew is where most of the magic takes place. Their love for what they do, each other, and the long-standing family recipes make them invaluable. Dreamland’s Montgomery location has 35 servers and employees. While we couldn’t capture them all in action, each one of them has played a vital part in the success of Montgomery’s popular Dreamland.

Cheers to ten years of deliciousness and many more to come.

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