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Former Alcorn County Barbecue Joint Burns Down Wednesday

By Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today News Editor

A former Alcorn County barbecue restaurant on U.S. Highway 72 West near the Tippah County line burned to the ground Wednesday afternoon.

Wilbanks Bar-B-Q and Sandwich Shop was started by Joe and Gladys Wilbanks in 1978 and remained a fixture in Alcorn County until 2002. The Coca-Cola sign with the business’ name was still standing on a pole out front. The sign had faded over the years but “Wilbanks Bar-B-Q” was still visible.

Joe and Gladys Wilbanks have since passed away, but their daughter Angela still lived next door in the family home.

Angela teared up as she watched the last portions of the building burn. She was only 9 years old when her parents started the restaurant and is 49 now.

Angela recalled working at the popular local establishment, doing everything from cooking to waiting tables. She did her homework at the restaurant after school.

The community made a lot of memories at the barbecue joint, which served pit style barbecue and was open six days week. Angela said her dad was known as the “Ham Man” because of the country hams and bacon the restaurant sold.

The family stopped operating the restaurant shortly after one of her sisters was killed in a vehicle wreck in 2001.

The building was already a total loss when the fire was reported, and firefighters from the Union Center/Theo fire department responded. Angela said it was uncertain how the fire started and that the building was only used for storage. No one was hurt, she added.

Wilbanks Bar-B-Q and Sandwich Shop opened in 1978 and closed in 2002. (Photos by Josh Mitchell/Corinth Today)
People watch as the remnants of the longtime barbecue joint on U.S. 72 go up in smoke.

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