PINSON, Ala. (WIAT) — After a battle with pneumonia, Martin Paul LaRussa, the owner of Paul’s Hotdogs & Grill that was a longtime staple of both the Trussville and Pinson communities, died Thursday night.
LaRussa started showing symptoms of pneumonia last week and had been put on a ventilator on Saturday. Paul’s Hotdogs & Grill announced LaRussa’s passing early Friday morning on Facebook.
“It is with a very heavy heart to announce that owner Martin Paul LaRussa has passed and is now resting in the arms of Jesus,” the restaurant wrote on their Facebook page. “Thank you all for the outpouring love and prayers, please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we navigate through this very difficult time. Thank you and God bless.”
The son of Italian parents, LaRussa opened his first Paul’s Hotdogs & Grill location in Trussville in January 1993, naming it after his father and son, along with naming it after himself as Paul was his middle name.
“His father had a dream of opening a hot dog stand,” granddaughter Laurel LaRussa Ard said. “He never had the chance to do that, so that gave him inspiration to do that.”
The first few years were a struggle for the business, but the community started to back LaRussa and the restaurant became a popular attraction in Trussville. As many restaurants struggled to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul’s Hotdogs & Grill survived, even after moving from Trussville to the Clay Marketplace in Pinson.
“That was his pride and joy,” Ard said. “That’s what he looked forward to every day.”
From his welcoming smile to the good eats he provided for his customers, Martin will be missed.
“He was just a good, loving, God-fearing man and was just the best dad and grandfather,” Ard said. “He was all about family and making sure everyone was taken care of.”
Support Paul’s legacy by visiting his Pinson location at 5180 Old Springville Road.