Barbecue, flooding, and community

Up and running since 1938, a little rain hasn’t stopped them yet.The Russell family knows flooding, barbecue, and community. Located in an old service station in historic downtown Windsor, Bunn’s Barbecue serves up down-home, Eastern style barbecue—they are the real deal. The customers that file through, many times lined up out the door, are drawn by the simple perfection of their signature sandwich that features barbecue on a split cornbread bun topped with coleslaw.Legend has it a sandwich whose origins began with a customer driven request, “I was small at the time, so it’s my brother who tells the story,” said co-owner Randy Russell. “but in the afternoons, in the mid-1970’s Mrs. Nancy Rascoe would come in after tennis, and one day she just gave instructions on how she wanted the cornbread split, with some barbecue and coleslaw piled on there.” A sandwich creation that has stood the test of time and keeps customers coming back from near and far.Many of those customers are taking a detour and ignoring the directions their phones are barking at them because their stomachs feel the lure of Bunn’s, but the majority of them are Bertie County regulars—neighbors and friends. The same regulars whose hands help Bunn’s bail out the water each time a hurricane comes calling.In North Carolina hurricanes have a habit of paying a visit every few years, but to flood a business multiple times seems remarkably unfair. Between 1999 and 2011 tropical storms and hurricanes overflowed the Cashie River, flooding Bunn’s Barbecue six times. Owner Randy Russell doesn’t bellyache over it, choosing instead to remember, and mark the line of high water on the wall—and pray.Pray this year does not bring a hurricane to North Carolina, not to Northeastern North Carolina, not to Windsor. Pray a prayer of gratitude for neighbors and friends that show up with buckets and elbow grease to help their favorite old haunt continue to share their delicious Eastern N.C. barbecue. Because there is nothing like a small town to lift you up when the waters rise.