Redneck BBQ Lab is no longer moving into Old North State Food Hall
Posted June 25, 2020 3:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2020 9:38 a.m. EDT
Benson, N.C. — The Redneck BBQ Lab will not be one of the tenants at an upcoming Johnston County food hall.
"Unfortunately, we were not able to come to mutually agreeable terms with Redneck BBQ Lab and are currently in conversations with several other potential BBQ vendors," said Larry Lane, who operates the upcoming Old North State Food Hall.
In December, Redneck BBQ Lab was announced as one of the first tenants in the upcoming food hall.
Redneck BBQ Lab owners posted on the restaurant's Facebook page in June that the food hall had requested they change their name to one that included "BBQ + lab + THEIR food hall name."
Owner Jerry Stephenson said they were asked at the last minute to change their name because the term "redneck" might be offensive.
"That was just one of the things that I didn't feel need to be touched," Stephenson said. "If this place was called 'Old South Barbecue' or 'Confederate Road Barbecue' I could see where that singular point could be something."
Stephenson told WRAL News that the name came from many years ago when he used to use old trash cans to smoke meat.
"People would look at us and go, 'Look at those bunch of rednecks cooking barbecue in a trash can,'" Stephenson said. "I laughed so hard about it, I ended up trademarking the name 'Redneck Convection Oven.'"
Stephenson said complaints about the name of his restaurant are rare.
"The vision for the Old North State Food Hall, the nation’s first roadside food hall, is to offer North Carolina’s best food, as well as our legendary hospitality, to all of our guests. Inclusivity and making our guests feel welcome and comfortable are our top priorities," Lane said. "We wish Jerry nothing but the best. We are very excited about our current tenant lineup and we have more vendor announcements coming soon."
Redneck BBQ Lab, which has a location at 12101 NC Highway 210 in Benson, has won the WRAL.com Voters' Choice Award for best barbecue for the past three years.