Helena favorite Dondi & Shell’s Food Oasis to close on Friday, Dec. 29

Published 12:18 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

HELENA – Local Helena favorite Dondi & Shell’s Food Oasis will soon close its doors for the final time on Friday, Dec. 29, following the Christmas holiday and right before the start of the new year.

In a statement released on social media on Thursday, Dec. 21, owners Dion Williams and Shelley McDaniel announced that they would be closing the restaurant following the Christmas holiday and thanked the community for the large amount of support they have received throughout the course of the restaurant’s run.

“Shell and I have decided to close the restaurant in Helena,” Williams said. “We are not giving up on our brand, stay tuned.”

The two owners, which have made their business a local staple in just a few years of operation, shared that they will be teaming up with Heards BBQ and Soul Food in Clanton for an upcoming collaboration. Although details on their upcoming project were limited, their statements indicate that although their current Helena location will cease operation, they are not leaving an industry where they have made significant headway.

“This will help us move forward in getting a new facility,” Williams said. “Our last day in Helena will be Dec. 29, but we will continue to give away free smiles always.”

Followers of the business on social media reacted in large numbers within minutes of the announcement. With only days left in operation, local response has been one of bittersweet support for the couples’ next steps coupled with a sadness of seeing a local favorite end a successful run.

Dondi & Shell’s Food Oasis is the most recent winner of the Helena Market Days BBQ Cookoff and swept four of the six categories at the competition in July.

“We love you all,” Williams said. “The real blessing is the Food Oasis family created by your visits. Merry Christmas and this isn’t goodbye. We’ll see you later.  As always, smiles are free.”

Although the business is closing on Friday, Dec. 29, Dondi & Shell’s Food Oasis is still in full operation and has shared their Christmas Eve menu, which for many may serve as the final time to enjoy the business’ product in its current location.