Congrats to the Red Bridges Barbecue family! Lyttle Bridges Cabaniss (aka “Mama B”), who was the wife of “Red” that took over the business after he passed in 1966 and served as the matriarch of the family until she passed in 2008, was posthumously inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame at this past weekend’s American Royal in Kansas City, MO.
Lyttle Bridges is considered to be the first woman barbecue entrepreneur in North Carolina and while her husband Red is the namesake of the restaurant, she was the guiding force behind it, reportedly working from 8am to 9pm nearly every day before handing over the restaurant to her daughter Debbie Bridges-Webb and then her grandkids Natalie Ramsey and Chase Webb at the age of 80. Those three all accepted the award on her behalf this past weekend, which surely must have been a blast.
Southern Living Magazine, their barbecue editor Robert Moss, Home Team BBQ, and Swig & Swine recently announced the Holy Smokes barbecue festival in Charleston this November. The pitmasters are still to be announced, but expect folks from South Carolina, California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas are expected to be in attendance. Here’s hoping it becomes a fixture for years to come.
Congrats to Lyttle Bridges Cabiness of Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby for her induction into the Barbecue Hall of Fame
Last week, an article that former Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis did for Charlotte Magazine appeared online. It digs into Chef Jim Noble and his complicated stature in Charlotte’s restaurant landscape. On one hand, he is a well-respected and successful chef and restaurateur whose philanthropic pursuits include his King’s Kitchen restaurant that employs people who are under normal circumstances considered unemployable due to poverty, homelessness, or addiction. He is also a reverend who leads bible study at that same restaurant. On the other hand, he has a religiously conservative view on gay rights and was one of only two restaurateurs who officially supported House Bill 2 (or HB2) passed by the NC Legislature in 2015 that required transgender people to use the bathroom that conformed with the gender on their birth certificates, essentially wiping out a nondiscrimination ordinance enacted shortly before by the Charlotte City Council.
From there, Purvis zooms out to explore some of the history of discrimination in the south in both the past and the present. I won’t recap it here, but it’s definitely worth a read.
It should be noted that while Noble declined to be interviewed for Purvis’s story there is no record of Noble’s restaurants discriminating against anyone in the LGBTQ+ community. But that doesn’t mean that potential patrons of his restaurants (which, in addition to Noble Smoke includes two Rooster’s Kitchen locations and Bossy Beulah’s) won’t take his views into account in deciding whether or not to spend money there, regardless of whether they are part of the LGBTQ+ community or not.
I haven’t made a decision either way, but it certainly has been and will continue to be on my mind going forward.
Check out this beautifully restored sign at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge
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