Barbecue is a territorial dish. Every region, every state, every city thinks that they have the best restaurant with the best recipes. We have never been much for arguing about barbecue because, at the end of the day, most of it is delicious. But, all who have ever eaten at Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q will attest to the deliciousness of their pulled pork and hot slaw – which absolutely cannot be replicated, though many have tried.
Bunyan’s has been a local staple since 1972, when it was founded by John Bunyan Cole. Its tiny outpost on West College Street is a frequent stop for my family. They keep a “wall of fame” posting photos of some of their favorite regular customers – and you can find my granddaughter Stella’s photo hanging there. Like all locals, she was weaned on Bunyan’s slaw.
We are saddened to hear that Mr. Cole passed away recently. While he was known as a successful entrepreneur, he was also a strong advocate for other local businesses. He served on the Board of Trustees at a local bank, was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and helped establish a local organization that developed and encouraged minority businesses. Mr. Cole also served as a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of North Alabama. He established the John and Rosie Cole endowed scholarship, serving minority students at the university.
Still, he was a barbecue expert at heart. His family says that one of his proudest accomplishments was a third-place award in the 2005 and 2006 Fiery Food Challenge at the Fort Worth Hot Sauce Convention.
Thank you, Mr. Cole, for many years of community service and delicious barbecue. We hope to pass on a love of Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q to all future generations of our family.