burned out bldg
Sam’s Bar-B-Q, August 2012. Photo by Amy Evans.

This time last year, a group of SFA members and friends traveled to Humboldt, Tennessee, to help rebuild Sam’s Bar-B-Q after a devastating fire. (You can learn more about that effort here.)

Sam's new entrance
Sam’s Bar-B-Q, August 2013. Photo by Catherine Mayhew.

Last week, one of the volunteers, Catherine Mayhew of Nashville, visited Sam’s to check in on our friends and have some ‘cue. She wrote about this satisfying barbecue reunion on her blog, and she’s graciously allowed us to share some of her recent photos.

New dining room at Sam’s Bar-B-Q, August 2013. They kept the charred columns as a reminder of the fire. Photo by Catherine Mayhew.

To get a more complete picture of just how much work it took to get this place back up and running, check out my photos from last summer’s volunteer weekend to see what this room–this floor (there wasn’t one)–looked like before. There wasn’t a dining room at Sam’s before, either, but they created this one as part of the rebuild, complete with charred columns left as a reminder of the fire.

Sam's mural_before and after
LEFT: Sam’s Bar-B-Q mural after the fire. Photo by Amy Evans.
RIGHT: Sam’s Bar-B-Q mural repainted by Amy Evans (center) pictured with Seresa Ivory (left) and her daughter, Francesca Martin (right). Photo by Jill Cooley.

Not long after the work weekend last August, I traveled back to Humboldt to repaint the mural that had been part of Sam’s Bar-B-Q since it opened. The mural had faded long ago, but resurrecting this barbecue icon meant that we had to do our best to help breathe life back into everything, artwork included. And, as y’all surely know by now, I also happen to be a working artist, and I have a thing for handpainted signs. Needless to say, I was honored that the Sam’s family invited me to rehabilitate this incredible piece of barbecue history.

Many, many congrats to Seresa and John Ivory and Francesca Martin for getting Sam’s Bar-B-Q back on its feet in record time. And thanks for letting us have a hand in getting you there.

If y’all want an update on the great ‘cue and homemade pies that are flying out of this shiny new building, read Catherine’s blog post or, better yet, get yourself to Humboldt. You’ll be glad you did.

As the SFA’s lead oral historian, Amy Evans gathers the stories of Southern food. Each week she takes us behind the scenes of her work.