BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q will be featured on a national cooking series Wednesday night that will showcase how the restaurant makes its famous pork.
The series, “Man Fire Food,” airs on the Cooking Channel at 8 p.m. Host Roger Mooking visited the restaurant recently along with a crew that spent two days shooting the segment. It’s not the first time the restaurant has been featured on national television, but it’s always special. Owner Van Sykes said it makes him think about his parents, who started the restaurant more than 60 years ago.
“I just hope somewhere in Heaven that the Cooking Channel is playing, and they can see that everything that they taught me I’ve been able to forward on to another generation,” Sykes said.
He said he’s also thankful for his many dedicated employees including several who worked at the restaurant for more than 30 years.
His current employees, meanwhile, are still at work despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Sykes said he’s working his full staff right now, and he’s even added two employees.
“I just have to thank the customers and the employees who have come out every day and kept their jobs and met these challenges,” he said. “It’s just incredible to see. It really is.”
Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q is known for its old-fashioned cooking methods and the fire pit in the front of the restaurant. It’s part of the reason national shows have been drawn to the restaurant. But modern changes have helped it survive the pandemic. Sykes said they added curbside pickup and online ordering. And they have eight phone lines for customers calling in orders. He said business dropped off initially when the pandemic hit, but it’s been great since they implemented the changes. He said they’re doing about the same amount of business now as they did this time last year, and they’re doing a little better on holidays. It’s a credit to the way they’ve adapted.
“My first goal when it started was: we’re going to do the full menu, we’re going to be the same Bob Sykes,” he said. “Because I think people are kind of looking for normal right now. So we just wanted to be the normal thing that was going on in their life. And they responded to it. It’s just been absolutely great.”
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