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Rocky Mount Barbecue Restaurant Prepares to Reopen

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ROCKY MOUNT — Among the thousands of homes and businesses destroyed by Floyd was a Rocky Mount institution. The old building that housed "Bob Melton's Barbecue" is still a mess today, but the dream that built the restaurant is still very much alive.

The famous landmark is still covered in silt. Water from the Tar River rose above the ceiling. Nevertheless, the Rocky Mount staple is about to reopen.

It has been a long wait for Jackie Evans, the long-time employee who says she misses the customers even more than the paycheck.

"I've always been in this line of work, and it's just been miserable not being able to see my friends," Evans says.

That misery is about to end. The restaurant will open in a new location on Old Mill Road, a building that used to be an Oyster Bar and did not flood as a result of Hurricane Floyd.

Owner Tommy Smith says reopening is taking a little bit of renovation, but no major changes. If all goes well, he says, the restaurant will reopen around February 1.

The menu will stay the same, and Smith is hoping the barbecue faithful will return.

"It's been the thoughts and prayers that have gotten us through," Smith says. "The community has been behind us, and I'm blessed to have that. I really am."

A blessing that will survive, even though the building did not.

Bob Melton's will celebrate its 75th anniversary later this year.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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