Downtown Grill is back: ‘We hope the community will love it as much as we do’

Owners Sara and Justin Lee pose in front of Cullman’s Downtown Grill. (Lauren Estes for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s popular Downtown Grill is back, a little more than year since a fire shut the restaurant down.  

Owners Justin and Sara Lee experienced a complete loss of their business last fall when an electrical fire in the Grill’s kitchen claimed the staple restaurant in Cullman known for great wings in a family atmosphere.  

“The fire happened around 4 a.m. on Sept. 2 of 2021,” said Sara Lee. “Thankfully, no one was there, but it was a total loss for us and it’s taken a year to bring the restaurant back from the ground up. What you’ll see now is a completely different and larger space, and we hope the community will love it as much as we do.”  

The Tribune toured the Downtown Grill prior to its recent soft opening. 

The Lees purchased the space next door to create a bar area with additional seating. “We’re calling it the Side Bar,” Lee said. “You’ll have a larger dining area than in the previous space and additional seating in the new bar area where there is also a space for bands to come and play on the weekends. The bar and the dining area will be two separate locations, so the family atmosphere and area just to come and enjoy a meal will be the same.” 

A neat surprise was the Cullman history the Lees chose to incorporate in their newly constructed restaurant.   

“Everything that you’ll see in the restaurant that is wood, my husband Justin built. We really wanted to represent our family history here in Cullman, so we used doors from Cullman Cabinet, Justin’s family’s business, to build our entryway desk and bars,” Lee said. “Also, our family owned the Cullman Holiday Inn in the 1980s, and we restored some of their furniture as our table bases in the dining area. We love to celebrate our family history and wanted to highlight it here in the restaurant.” 

Although a terrible situation happened to enable what the Lees have built, Sara Lee said it helped to create a vision for expanding their restaurant and they are thankful.  

“No one wants to face such a trying time like that in order to bring goals to life, and although it was an expensive push, it was just that in the right direction,” she said. “We’re so thankful for the blood, sweat and tears that went into creating this new building.”  

Lee said the opening date isn’t official yet, but the goal is Oct. 3.  

“We are doing the soft openings this weekend, hosting different local groups,” she said. “The menu is mostly the same, but there will be some new items as well.”  
The Downtown Grill, located at 108 Fourth St. SW, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, Oct. 3, at 10:30 a.m.  

The new phone number is 256-747-5533.  

Hours of operation will be:  

Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. 

Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-midnight 

Sundays, closed 

For more information, visit