Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brother, Sister, Barbecue - Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge

Natalie Ramsey, center, and the rest of the Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge crew chat between shifts, at the restaurant in Shelby, NC. (Photo by Denny Culbert)

Natalie Ramsey and Chase Webb, sister and brother, have inherited their mother’s smile, finish and start each other’s sentences, and together operate Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, one of North Carolina’s oldest barbecue houses. Guided by mom, Lodge owner
Debbie Bridges-Webb, Natalie oversees the front of the house, with its plush blue-vinyl booths; Chase sits up all night watching the pork shoulders roast-tender over hickory coals.


Tutored by smoked-pig pioneer Warner Stamey, Red Bridges originally started selling barbecue sandwiches out of a livestock yard in 1946 and opened his own joint three years later. In 1966, Red would pass away, making his wife, Lyttle, probably the first female barbecue entrepreneur in North Carolina. Tough but affectionate, Lyttle, Mama B to all, worked double-shifts at the Barbecue Lodge through her eightieth year.


By their early teens, Natalie and Chase were working under their grandmother’s watch.  Catching them slouching, she’d mobilize them with her rallying call: “You got time to lean, you got time to clean.” The young siblings have taken their grandmother’s motto to heart. They work for the memory of the grandfather they never knew, for the women who raised them, and for the thousands that visit the landmark Lodge each year.


- Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus


  Photos by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus
Natalie Ramsey, Debbie Bridges-Webb, and Chase Webb. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

A long time customer takes lunch at the counter of Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

Red Bridges Barbecue, Shelby, North Carolina
Debbie Bridges-Webb
Lyttle "Mama B" Bridges, ran Bridges Barbecue Lodge in to her eighties.

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge woodpile is neatly stacked behind the restaurant.

Brown chopped barbecue, baked beans and red slaw plate at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

Hush puppy basket at Red Bridges Barbecue.

Namon Carlton is a twenty year veteran chop block man at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, NC.
The old pit house at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

The sauce is served warm at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.
Employees ready for the holiday season share a laugh during lunch service, at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

Natalie Ramsey checks on the pit at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

Shelby, NC is the home of Sun Drop Citrus Soda. The bright yellow beverage is served by the can at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

John Henry Williams, born in 1930, has been working at Red Bridges Barbecue in one capacity or another since 1946.

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge
2000 East Dixon Blvd
Shelby, North Carolina 28150


(704) 482-8567


Hours of Operation:
11 am- 8pm Wednesday- Sunday
Closed Monday & Tuesday

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