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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.

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Dan Brown

The corner of Bellevue and McLemore served Leonard Heuberger’s barbecue for six decades. Elvis loved to eat here, back when carhops wheeled around a parking lot that could fit hundreds of cars, and where Mr. Brown and Ms. White—the monikers for dark and white meat—held court.

Dan Brown began working for Mr. Heuberger back in 1962, starting out as an onion slicer and working his way up to “sandwich man.” He never did expect to own the famous restaurant thirty-one years later.

At Leonard’s barbecue is not a process, but a sandwich: pork shoulder, pulled or chopped, served on a bun with sauce and slaw. Here barbecue is also a bite of history.

We first visited Leonard’s Pit Barbecue in 2002 as part of our initial foray into documenting Memphis ‘cue, a project that included photographs, original essays and a smattering of oral history interviews. Visit the original Leonard’s Pit Barbecue page.

Date of interview:
2008-07-15 00:00

Rien T. Fertel

Rien T. Fertel

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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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