Saturday, January 28, 2012

Defend Barbecue: Clyde Cooper's in Raleigh

Left: Clyde Cooper's on E. Davie Street in Raleigh, North Carolina. Right: "Pit Master King" James Bolton** stands in the doorway of the dining room at Cooper's. (Photos by Denny Culbert)

Preservation. It’s on the menu at Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue in downtown Raleigh. Preservation, along with chopped, sliced, and coarse ‘cue; ribs, fried chicken, and Brunswick stew; and more varieties of fried pork skins than there are toes on a pig's foot.

Clyde Cooper opened his place on New Years‘ Day 1938 and ran it for a half-century. The building that houses the joint dates back to 1884. But developers aim to erect a multistory apartment building on its Davie Street foundation. Downtown Raleigh is being re-imagined, rebuilt, and repopulated. Gentrification comes at many a price, and Clyde Cooper’s might any day utter its last squeal.

Present owners Debbie and Randy Holt have taken up the fight to preserve culinary and architectural history. They'd rather buy the crumbling brick structure than relocate. Preservation, Debbie says, “Ain't all about the money. It’s about saving it for people and generations to come.” Defend Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue. Eat it to save it.

- Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus 

Randy and Debbie Holt outside Clyde Cooper's in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

(All photos by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

**To hear our interview with pit master James Bolton check out our previous post James Bolton, "Pit Master King."

Clyde Cooper's Barbeque
109 East Davie Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

(919) 832-7614

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday 10 am - 6 pm


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  2. That looks yummy! I would like to visit there and taste your foods! Thanks!

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  4. It is really wonderful and tasty! Thanks! Mike

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  6. Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue is more than just a restaurant. It is a part of Raleigh's rich culinary and architectural history. With its humble beginnings in 1938, it has served as a gathering place for generations of Raleigh residents and visitors alike. The building that houses Clyde Cooper's Barbecue is a historic landmark that dates back to 1884. It has stood the test of time and has become an integral part of the city's cultural identity.

    However, the threat of gentrification looms over the beloved restaurant. The developers' plan to replace the brick structure with a modern apartment building would erase a significant part of Raleigh's heritage. The potential loss of Clyde Cooper's Barbecue would not only be a blow to the culinary scene but also a loss to the city's history and cultural identity.

    Debbie and Randy Holt, the present owners of the restaurant, are taking a stand to preserve the building and its legacy. They understand that preserving the restaurant is not just about the money. It is about ensuring that future generations can experience and appreciate Raleigh's rich cultural heritage. By eating at Clyde Cooper's Barbecue, patrons can support this cause and contribute to preserving the city's history.

    In conclusion, Clyde Cooper's Barbecue is a cultural institution that must be preserved. It represents the heart and soul of Raleigh and serves as a reminder of the city's unique heritage. The present owners' efforts to preserve the building and its legacy should be commended and supported. So, the next time you're in Raleigh, make sure to visit Clyde Cooper's Barbecue and support the cause of preserving Raleigh's cultural identity.

  7. Gentrification comes at many a price, and Clyde Cooper’s might any day utter its last squeal.

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