The first Golden Rule opened it’s doors in 1891, just a short distance from where the Irondale, Alabama location is today. The original building was a roadside stop for travelers making the journey to Atlanta. It served the public pork plates, beer, sold cigarettes, and with the invention of the automobile, occasionally did automobile repairs. It also served as a gathering spot for the locals in the area, and the Williams family kept the restaurant in the family for close to forty years. In the late 1930s, Jabo and Ellene Stone purchased the Golden Rule, and built a new building shortly after acquiring the restaurant. This building remained a Golden Rule until the 1950s, when setback guidelines forced Jabo to build another building.
Jabo decided to retire in 1969, so he asked Mr. Michael Matsos, owner of Michael’s Sirloin Room, if he was interested in buying the Golden Rule. At the time of the transaction, seventy nine year old Golden Rule served Pork Plates, Pork Sandwiches, French Fries, a Salad with a spoonful of mayonnaise as dressing, Bottle Coke, Water or Beer.
The Irondale restaurant has been in its current location since the early 70s. After long success with the single store in Irondale, the Matsos family decided to franchise the Golden Rule. From that point on there was no stopping the booming growth of Golden Rule. The company now has stores throughout the Southeast. The concept has evolved from a roadside pit stop to a full scale restaurant. Golden Rule is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the state of Alabama, and the sixteenth oldest in the country.