By Bridgette A. Lacy
A. Martel Scott Jr. knows his customers by name. On Thursday and Friday, a steady stream of men in business attire and retirees in casual wear make their way to Scott’s Famous Barbecue for their weekly craving of chopped pork barbecue, hushpuppies, fried chicken and coleslaw.
For almost 100 years, the Scott family has served chopped pork around these parts. It started when Scott’s grandfather, the Rev. Adam Scott, became famous locally for catering to Goldsboro’s “upper crust” at the Algonquin Club parties in 1917.
Scott, who did odds jobs ranging from being a janitor to being a branch runner for banks, decided to focus on the catering. He was so popular that white men would knock on the black preacher’s backdoor to get his chopped cue served with his homemade vinegar-based sauce.
His son, A. Martel Scott Sr., joined him in the business in the 1930s. At one point, the father and son operated two different businesses serving the same fare, three blocks apart. By 1951, A. Martel Scott Sr. moved the business from his home to the current restaurant.
Scott’s has a national reputation and has been mentioned twice in the New York Times. Noted food critic Craig Claiborne described it as “a sunny, no-nonsense spot…The chopped barbecue sandwiches were excellent. The spare ribs were commendable.”
Danny Hood, a Goldsboro realtor, is a regular who has been eating at Scott’s since he was a child. “My father and Martel’s daddy were friends. They used to barter. My father was a tenant farmer. He would trade 50 pounds of cabbage for seven or eight plates of barbecue.”
Hood loves the chopped pork and barbecue chicken. “His chicken is really moist. It just falls off the bone,” he says.
In June 2001, the restaurant closed for a year. Scott, 72, wanted to retire but customers kept calling until he agreed to open the restaurant on a limited schedule only on Thursday and Friday lunch hours. Now, the restaurant is closed permanently.
These days most of the family business includes selling the family’s famous fat-free sauce. “Daddy never believed in putting sweet stuff on meat,” says A. Martel Scott Jr. His son, A. Martel Scott III runs the sauce operation. The sauce has been bottled and sold at various grocery stores since 1945.
The Scott’s brand is currently sold at Harris Teeter and Food Lion as well as the Scott BBQ company website. www.scottsbarbecuesauce.com
Scott’s sells about 750,000 bottles a year. That’s not bad for a sauce made from ingredients that came to Rev. Scott in a dream.
Goldsboro is the heart of Eastern North Carolina’s barbecue country with many of the region’s favorite restaurants within an easy drive.
3096 Arrington Bridge Road
South of Goldsboro is Grady’s which has been in business for close to 30 years. The barbecue is wood cooked, comes hand-chopped, complemented by spicy sauce, with hushpuppies and slaw.
103 N Center St.
Located near downtown Goldsboro, Central Lunch is an old-time, friendly café frequented by locals. It opens early for hearty country breakfasts, and serves an extensive lunch menu of sandwiches, salads, and daily specials, including “The best hamburger steak in town.”