Steak ‘n Shake opens its doors

Steak 'n Shake employees release their balloons into the air as Kaitlin Matherly, center, cuts the ribbon marking the grand opening of the restaurant on Aug. 23. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When Thompson Intermediate School student Kaitlin Matherly heard one of her favorite restaurants, Steak ‘n Shake, was coming to Alabaster, she couldn’t tell her mother fast enough.

“She came home that day and immediately wanted to be Facebook friends with Steak ‘n Shake,” said her mother, Kim. “She’s been the biggest advertiser for them. She’s been like Paul Revere running around yelling ‘Steak ‘n Shake is coming, Steak ‘n Shake is coming.’

“We recently went to the beach, and the Steak ‘n Shake in Prattville had to be our first stop,” Kim Matherly said.

So when Kaitlin, who recently had surgery to repair broken neck bones, heard she would be the one to cut the ribbon on the new store, she was beyond excited.

“We are acquaintances with (Alabaster Mayor) David and Jennifer Frings. I mentioned it to Mr. Frings because I just wanted Kaitlin to just be able to come to the grand opening ceremony,” Kim Matherly said. “But he checked and then told us Kaitlin had gotten permission to cut the ribbon.”

Kaitlin kept a portion of the red silk ribbon and enjoyed a strawberry shake after she marked the grand opening of the Alabaster Steak ‘n Shake in the southern end of the Colonial Promenade shopping center.

Dozens of customers, local and state officials attended the ceremony marking the opening of the first Steak ‘n Shake restaurant in the Birmingham metro area.

“I think when they chose your city, they do their research and determine you are the best place for them,” Frings said of the restaurant. “I think it really speaks to the hard work our city has done over the past 12 years to make Alabaster a respected city.”

For Calera residents Marie and Charles Murphy, the grand opening couldn’t get here fast enough.

“We got here at 8:30 this morning,” Marie Murphy said shortly before the store opened its doors at about 10 a.m. “We’ve gone to the one in Prattville a couple of times, so we were excited about this one.

“We had to keep up with the grand opening so we could plan our schedule around it,” Murphy said, noting she and her husband travel to “as many grand openings” in the area as they can. “We sat here this morning and watched most of the employees come in.”