Founder of Melvin's BBQ dies

Image by Flickr user slworking2

The Times and Democrat writes that the founder and CEO of Melvin’s Legendary Barbecue, Melvin E. Bessinger, died on Monday, October 22, at the age of 89.

From the Bessinger BBQ family, Melvin Bessinger's stake had two restaurants, one in North Charleston and one on James Island.

Here's a brief and partial look back at Bessinger's history according to his restaurant's website:

Born in 1923, Melvin learned the Golden Secret Recipe in 1933 at age of 10 from his father, Big Joe.

Farmed throughout his childhood years on their 100-acre farm in Orangeburg, S.C. Started in the restaurant business in 1939 with his father at the Holly Hill Cafe.

Landed on Omaha beach D-Day 2 in 1944 and came home a war hero.

1946: opened the famous "Eat at Joe's" restaurant in Holly Hill, S.C.

1948: Melvin land on Main Street in Holly Hill, S.C. His younger brothers, (with the help of Melvin's mother) ran the restaurant while he attended and graduated from The Citadel in 1951 in Charleston, S.C.

1961: opened his first Piggie Park Drive-In, followed by another in Orangeburg and one in Beaufort, S.C.

1970: opened Bessinger's BBQ & Burgers and sold it in 1990. In 1982, he and his son David, opened "MELVIN'S LEGENDARY BBQ RESTAURANTS."

Today Melvin's stores are run by longtime managers who stay true to Melvin's vision and standard. Mehdi Rahimi has more than 25 years with Melvin's and Betty McKinley has more than 30 years. Michael Lynam: 8 years; Brenda Haworth: 7 years, and the Famous Pit-Master James Young since 1955!

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