All in the Family
In the 1930s, Red Bridges learned how to slow cook pork barbecue from the legendary Warner Stamey (see Stamey's, above). In 1946, he opened his own place -- Bridges Barbecue Lodge. But for more than thirty years this joint has been run by women -- a tradition they fully intend to continue. Red's wife, Lyttle Bridges, passed it to her daughter Debbie. And her daughter Natalie is already behind the counter, preparing to take over.
"People always say they can tell it's women running the place because the woodpile out back is so neat," says Debbie.
Bridges serves tender pork barbecue minced, chopped, or sliced with a vinegar-tomato sauce and red, ketchup-based slaw. There have been very few changes to the restaurant over the years. "The one new thing we're doing right now is going back to catering," says Debbie, whose father once catered for local mills, sometimes three shifts a day.
With unusual hours (they're only open Wednesday through Sunday) and a strict "When the meat is gone, we close the doors" policy, having it catered may be the best way to make sure you get a taste of this 'cue.
Bridges Barbecue Lodge, 2000 E. Dixon Blvd., Shelby, 704-482-8567