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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Bryant’s (2002)

Essay by Joe York

Bryant'sJust inside the front door, the silly hillbilly hog has got one hand in his overalls and the other on the hay seed he’s sucking. The sign he’s stuck to says he’s on special.

At the tables they’re eating barbecue and breakfast. And while there are different menus for each, it is not entirely clear if they occupy separate spaces.

A waitress walks by with a pot of coffee and a pork sandwich. On the back of her shirt, silhouetted, is another waitress. Above the outstretched arm of the figure with the heart attack hips, written in titanic type, is the word “GRAVY.” Down by her feet is the phrase “Sop It Up. It’s Good.”

The waitress walks to a booth on the far wall. Stapled above the booth is another shirt with a similar sentiment. “Life’s too short for low fat food. Eat at Bryant’s.”

She empties her tray, walks back by, and then disappears behind the counter. I stand for a moment watching the men and women eating and drinking and talking.

An uneasy feeling comes over me, like I am the one being watched. I turn and come face to face with the plaster pig. He’s been there the whole time, smiling with his always about to giggle grin, like the picture of PFC Presley that’s leaning against his loins has got him tickled.


Date of interview:
2002-01-01 00:00

Joe York

Amy C. Evans

Other Project Interviews



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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