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Bogue’s Restaurant in Birmingham Closes After 84 Years

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Ella Irby with her famous sweet rolls before the closing of Bogues. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

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It’s a sad day in Birmingham. Bogue’s Restaurant, one of the oldest and most beloved restaurants in The Magic City, has closed.

Back in 2019, I visited Bogue’s at 4AM in order to interview Ella Irby, a longtime Bogue’s employee who was responsible for baking the restaurant’s famous sweet rolls each and every morning. Since then, I’ve visited Bogue’s a number of times for breakfast and lunch—although, not as many times as I’d have liked.

Opened in 1938 on Clairmont Avenue, Bogue’s Restaurant was one of Birmingham’s longest-lasting restaurants. Famous for its sweet rolls—a special recipe by original owner Mildred Bogue—Bogue’s has been named the Best Diner in Alabama by Business Insider and was featured on extracrispy.com‘s “51 Best Breakfast Destinations in America” list.

In 2010, the restaurant moved next door to the historic Fire Station 22 building while the original building was demolished. Despite the change, Bogue’s beloved, hearty breakfasts and lunches kept the customers coming.

Recently, several Bham Now team members noticed that Bogue’s appeared to be closed, but had no sign on the door. We attempted to reach out to the Bogue’s team for clarification—however, their website has been deleted, their Facebook page deactivated and their phone number disconnected.

Finally, I was able to get in touch with Ella Irby, who confirmed that Bogue’s Restaurant has closed permanently after 84 years.

“Bogue’s is actually gone, I can’t believe it. It closed a week ago Sunday. I was happy to work there for 45 years and I had five bosses over the years, starting under Andy Straynar,” said Irby.

With the closing of Bogue’s, Ella has decided to retire. She’s still getting used to not having to wake up at 3AM to start on the sweet rolls!

Although we’ll miss its one-of-a-kind atmosphere and friendly staff, the memory of Bogue’s Restaurant—and its famous sweet rolls—will live on.

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