VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — Small business owners often have a big impact on their communities. But much less frequently, do they receive national acclaim for their impact. The co-owner of beloved Vestavia Hills barbecue restaurant Miss Myra’s was one of those rare few.
Family members are remembering the life of Rennae Wheat, the daughter of restaurant founder Myra Harper. Wheat, known for her sass and baking chops, made the barbecue joint’s famous banana pudding. She died Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer. She was 58 years old.
CBS 42 Reporter Conan Gasque spoke to her mother and husband, who have received many well-wishes from the community since her death.
Wheat’s husband, Buck Wheat, a co-owner of the restaurant, says she was known as the “Banana Pudding Queen.” Wheat made the pudding and all the pies at the restaurant. She was even recognized from Food Network host Andrew Zimmern, who recognized her banana pudding the best he’s ever had. There’s no question that Wheat and her banana pudding, were a special part of this community.
Buck Wheat said, “We’ve got a name because of that pudding. If you want banana pudding, you have to go to Miss Myra’s and get their banana pudding. And there ain’t nothing better feeling than hearing people say that.”
The pudding was a family recipe, but Rennae Wheat add a special touch, a “pinch of love.” The only other person who can compare is her daughter, who will now take over the pudding and pies.
Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q has been a staple in Vestavia Hills since 1984. It’s had an impact on people’s taste buds—and hearts. Wheat handled the bakery items, but she touched people’s lives with her generosity, often giving extra food to those in need.
Earlier this month, Southern Living ranked Miss Myra’s as one of the top 50 best barbecue restaurants in Alabama.
Myra Harper said, “It’s wonderful to know how much everybody loved her. Of course, I knew that before. But it’s good to hear it.”
Buck Wheat added, “It’s wonderful. I couldn’t thank everybody enough for all the calls and the people that’s come by. It just shows you what kind of a person she was. “
The restaurant will close early Thursday and remain closed through Friday as the family takes time to remember her life.