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Owner of Durham’s oldest BBQ joint passes away

December 29, 2018
Tommy Bullock and Reba McEntire

The owner of Durham’s oldest barbecue joint died this week.

Lowell Thomas “Tommy” Bullock, 79, owned and operated Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue restaurant and catering business. He passed away on Monday at Hock Family Pavilion in Durham, according to an obituary posted on Clements Funeral and Cremation Services’ website.

Bullock’s father, William Glenn Bullock, started cooking pork on the weekends and offering barbecue to friends and neighbors in the 1940s, according to Bullock’s website. Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue opened its doors in 1952. Tommy and his mother, Lillian, helped run and build the business.

Tommy Bullock took over as owner and operator of Bullock’s in 1965. Bullock’s moved to its current location at 3330 Quebec Drive in Durham in 1970.

Through the years, Bullock fed many celebrities, including members of the New York Yankees and country star Reba McEntire. At the restaurant, he posted photos taken with famous customers.

In 2016, Bullock’s was damaged during an accidental fire. The restaurant quickly reopened to much fanfare from regular customers who described the restaurant as “home.”

Services were scheduled to be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church with burial to follow at Maplewood Cemetery.

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