PELL CITY – All the employees' training was put to the test as the new “Grill and Chill” Dairy Queen opened at full throttle Tuesday.

“People started coming in early,” said William Burcham, who along with his sister, Natalie Coppock, are owners of the new DQ in Pell City. “We couldn’t turn them away anymore.”

So workers began taking orders and serving at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The new restaurant was slated to open at 11 a.m., a soft opening, they said.

It didn’t look very soft as customers filled the inside of the restaurant and cars lined up around the new building, waiting their turn at the drive-through window.

Burcham said he had mixed emotions.

“I’m a little nervous right now,” the Oxford native said Tuesday morning. “But we’re so excited to be here, and Pell City wants us here.”

The new DQ is in the South Park Shopping Center in front of the Publix grocery store.

The new restaurant opened just in time for the high school football season, and will remain open late on Friday and Saturday nights.

Burcham, who served in the Air Force during the Middle East conflict, operated a Dairy Queen “Treat Center” in Florida. The DQ Treat Center only offers desserts and ice cream products. The new “grill and chill” restaurant in Pell City has a full Dairy Queen menu.

“We will start serving breakfast tomorrow,” Burcham said. “It’s a good breakfast menu. We’re very excited about all our products.”

The new DQ will start serving breakfast at 6 a.m.

The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday and will remain open until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

He said the new restaurant employees about 80 full-time and part-time employees.

“We are a locally owned and operated,” Burcham said.

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