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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