BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Mike Wilson, founder of Saw’s BBQ restaurant that quickly found popularity in Birmingham and spawned a group of similar restaurants across the city, has died. He was 46 years old.
The news on Wilson’s death was confirmed Monday by Lindsey Noto, former catering director at Saw’s. The cause of death has not been disclosed.
“The Saw’s BBQ family is devastated and will miss Mike terribly,” Noto said in a statement to CBS 42.
Prior to founding Saw’s in Homewood’s Edgewood community in 2009, Wilson had spent 10 years working as a test kitchen chef at Cooking Light in Birmingham. The restaurant quickly took off and he expanded the Saw’s brand by opening Saw’s Soul Kitchen with chef and co-owner Brandon Cain in Avondale, as well as Saw’s Juke Joint in Crestline, and another Saw’s location in Southside.
Saw’s BBQ released a statement on Wilson’s death on its Facebook page.
The original Saw’s was named by Men’s Journal as having some of the best barbecue in America and was praised by celebrities like actor Tony Hale.
A native of North Carolina, Wilson graduated from the University of Alabama in 1996 with a degree in restaurant and hospitality management. He attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales University in Vail, Colorado and was also sous chef at Dean & Deluca in Charlotte, North Carolina.