Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge
Natalie Ramsey and Chase Webb, sister and brother, operate Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, one of North Carolina’s oldest barbecue houses. Guided by their mother, Lodge-owner Debbie Bridges-Webb, Natalie oversees the front of the house, with its plush blue-vinyl booths; Chase sits up all night watching the pork shoulders roast-tender over hickory coals.
Tutored by smoked-pig pioneer Warner Stamey, Red Bridges originally started selling barbecue sandwiches out of a livestock yard in 1946 and opened his own joint three years later. In 1966, Red passed away, making his wife, Lyttle, probably the first female barbecue entrepreneur in North Carolina. Tough but affectionate, Lyttle, Mama B to all, worked double-shifts at the Barbecue Lodge through her eightieth year.
By their early teens, Natalie and Chase were working under their grandmother’s watch. Catching them slouching, she’d mobilize them with her rallying call: “You got time to lean, you got time to clean.” The young siblings have taken their grandmother’s motto to heart. They work for the memory of the grandfather they never knew, for the women who raised them, and for the thousands that visit the landmark Lodge each year.
Date of interview:
November 19, 0201
Rien T. Fertel