FLORALA, Ala. — While other Laurel Hill School sixth-graders spend summer fishing, playing softball or going on family vacations, Bryce Wooten has a restaurant to run.
Bryce's Family Restaurant opened last month in a Florala log cabin that was once a home.
"And I'm the supervisor," Bryce, 11, said.
"He's our supervisor on taste," said his mother, Karen Wooten, an Okaloosa County School District educator.
Technically, Bryce's dad, Chris Wooten, and Chris' mother, Glenda Lanasse, run the establishment, with Chris as pit master and Miss Glenda supervising in the kitchen. Bryce pitches in with a variety of tasks, from spreading gravel in the parking lot to taste-testing the establishment's burgers and battered fries.
Bryce and his dad perfected the rub that goes on the restaurant's generously proportioned ribs, Boston butts and steaks. Bryce also helped create the menu.
Three generations at work
The family takes pride in their home cooking.
Chris Wooten and his son will attend Jack's Old South Cooking School — taught by celebrity barbecue chef Myron Mixon in Unadilla, Ga. — in October, and the pair expect to bring back ideas for their menu.
"We want to try new meat," Bryce said. "We want to try brisket. We're going to cook some other new stuff and if it's good, we'll serve it on the menu."
As she stirred butter and sour cream into her mashed potatoes, Lanasse said, "I like to taste everything, and if it doesn't taste good to me, it's not going to taste good to anybody else."
Karen Wooten said they named the restaurant after their son because, "basically, he's our world. He's our one child and we just wanted to do it for him."
The first idea was to use Bryce's initials, she said.
"It was going to be B.M.W., but we didn't think the car maker would like it," she said. "It's already been taken, so we had to come up with something else.
"Bryce said, 'Why don't you call it Bryce's Family Restaurant?'"
"There definitely aren't any other 11-year-olds at Laurel Hill School with their own restaurant," Bryce said.
Want to go?
Bryce's Family Restaurant is open 11 am. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 23763 Third Ave., Florala, Ala., just north of Laurel Hill.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.