Bob Baumhower made the transition from Miami Dolphins nose tackle to restaurateur in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he had been an All-American college football player. In 1992, after a decade of success with the counter-service only Wings and Things, he opened a prototype full-service casual dining Baumhower’s Restaurant in Birmingham. Now sports-themed units throughout Alabama dish out a comprehensive southern American menu and more for lunch, dinner and catering; it includes seven True Grits dishes, various Diving Catches (Alabama fish and seafood), daily choices of Homeplate Specials and Fowl Plays (from wings to Jamaican jerk chicken to teriyaki tenders). Fresh local ingredients and in-house preparation are hallmarks. Baumhower, who has held positions from dishwasher to CEO, calls himself “Chief Fry Cook,” and remains hands-on in the business. Baumhower’s is among several brands operated by Aloha Hospitality.

LocationLoxley, Ala.
2012 Systemwide Sales$28,000,000*
% Change in Sales14.3%
2012 U.S. Units9
2012 Average Unit Volume$3,300,000*
% Change in AUV0.0%
Future 50 Year2013