Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Rama Jama's to be sold

An iconic restaurant that has served UA students, faculty and Tuscaloosa residents for 20 years is now for sale.

Rama Jama’s, which is owned by Gary Lewis, has fed customers six days a week all year long for the past two decades. Now he thinks it’s time for
a break.

“I’m working on 20 years of business,” Lewis said. “I’ve worked 14 hour days. I never take a vacation. I never take a day off. I’m open six days a week and I work seven days a week. I just felt that at this time it was time to cut back a little bit.”

At first it was thought that Rama Jama’s was closing down, which is not the case. Lewis said due to a leak on social media before the Charleston Southern game, people were receiving the wrong information. He had put Rama Jama’s on the market prior to football season, but he didn’t want it to get out to the public.

“The first thing out was that we were closing which is absolutely not the truth,” Lewis said. “We’re not closing.”

Lewis said that he even had former students from across the country contact him to offer money so that he doesn’t close, but “that’s not the point.”

“It’s not the money,” he said. “Business is great. Business is fine. If it sells it sells, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I’m not ready to retire by any stretch of the imagination. I’m 64 years old, so I’ve still got some more working days.”

Other than just wanting to take a break from working so hard, Lewis said that he hasn’t been to a single football game during the entire 20 years that Rama Jama’s has been in business.

“I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have worked every football game for the last 20 years and I have not been across the street in 20 years,” he said. “So it’s kind of on my bucket list to go to a football game if things work out here.”

Lewis said he has groups that are interested in buying Rama Jama’s and that he would like for it to remain as is if possible.

“A couple of groups that we talked to that is where they would like to continue on with it,” he said. “Keep it Rama Jama’s and keep the tradition going for maybe 20 more years.”

Some customers aren’t too happy with the idea of Lewis selling it though.

“I hate to see him sell it,” said Fred Glover, a long-time customer. “I’ll tell you the truth, we really enjoy him as much as we do the food.”

Yvonne Hurst, a cook that has worked for Rama Jama’s for nine years, said she’s worried about her job when asked about the potential sell.

“Well, I don’t feel good about it, cause maybe the next one that gets it, you know I won’t have a job,” Hurst said.

Hurst did seem optimistic about Lewis having the chance to finally go to a football game though. “Maybe he’ll go next year.”

Lewis said having such loyal customers and people that care about him made it that much harder to put Rama Jama’s on the market.

“It almost put me to the point of ‘do I really want to sell it,’” he said. “You hate to sell it because so many people want you to stay on but it’s just one of those things. Now might be the time.”

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