A West Columbia-based barbecue chain that once made headlines for the founder’s unabashed segregationist and white supremacist views is back in the spotlight.
The New Yorker posted “America’s most political food” on its website, focusing on the controversial background of Maurice Bessinger and Maurice’s Piggie Park. The story will be printed in the April 24 issue.
The writer Lauren Collins delves into Bessinger’s family background and how his barbecue sauce empire crumbled.
Collins also met with one of the chain’s new owners, Bessinger’s son Lloyd, and discussed why the restaurant chain decided to stop dabbling in politics. That included removing Confederate flags from restaurants.
“Dad liked politics,” Lloyd Bessinger said in the story. “That’s not something we’re interested in doing. We want to serve great barbecue.
The State reporter John Monk, who investigated allegations of pro-slavery tracts offered at the entrance of the restaurant’s flagship in 2000, is also mentioned in Collins’ report.
The story also has several mentions of South Carolina political heavyweights, including former solicitor Donnie Myers, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and his “you lie” outburst, the late S.C. Rep. Joe Neal shortly before he death, and S.C. Rep. Justin Bamberg.