Food for thought: Papaw welcomes the whole family

By PERRY SMITH / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – With 18 years at his current location, Papaw’s owner Wayne Raia has seen a generation of customers enjoy his food.

He is now starting to see those same customers come back with their children – and the Wilsonville native couldn’t be happier about it.

“We pride ourselves in being family orientated,” Raia said, “We have raised a lot of children here at these tables.”

Raia founded the business with his father to keep him busy when he moved back home from Nashville to retire.

At one point, Raia expanded to four locations but said he wanted to focus his efforts on one restaurant, so he now operates the diner-style location in Columbiana, where he can be seen every morning at his corner table near the kitchen.


A small restaurant with a large menu is a good way to describe Papaw’s. The menu is filled with choices probably seen before in your mamaw’s kitchen.

Raia said he put mamaw next to papaw on the front of his menu because he knows that his restaurant can’t compete with mamaw’s cooking, but it tries.

It also includes requests from customers such as chicken and dumplings on Wednesdays, and chicken and dressing or chicken livers on Thursday.

“We cater to our customer’s needs,” Raia said, and the menu follows through on the promise with something close to just about every Southern home cooked meal you could ask for.


With friendliness that comes from a generation of experience servicing the community, the staff at Papaw’s is quick to smile and laugh with its regular customers. Raia said a few of his staff members have been there for more than 15 years.

Raia, also known around his restaurant as “Papaw,” said if he had a slogan it would be, “We’re fast food, no, good food, yes,” because his customers know that is what they should expect because the food is cooked to order.


Probably the most defining part of the Papaw’s experience is the comfort of the restaurant. Repeat customers soon find out that everyone is treated equally at Papaw’s, whether you are sitting down to eat as a judge, city official or a blue collar worker.


21270 Highway 25

Columbiana, AL 35051


Hours: Mon. – Sat.: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sun.: close