Department of Revenue shuts down Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro

March 15, 2019
Fifty years ago, on July 24, 1961, Wilber's Barbecue opened in Goldsboro. The restaurant's famous pulled pork has brought in many politicians over the years. Gov. Bev Perdue was expected to attend Tuesday's 50th anniversary celebration.

A popular Goldsboro barbecue joint is shut down.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue confirmed Friday that it “took action on the business located at 4172 U.S. Hwy 70 East in Goldsboro.” That is the address of Wilber’s Barbecue, which has been open since 1962.

A sign outside of Wilber’s Barbecue stated that “Pursuant to NC G.S. 105-242(a)(2) the personal property here within has been seized for nonpayment of taxes.”

“Due to the N.C. taxpayer secrecy law, we are unable to provide details beyond what is on the posted sign,” Department of Revenue Director of Public Affairs Schorr Johnson said.

Under state law, the department can seize a business for nonpayment of taxes as a last resort after all other voluntary and forced tax collection measures have failed.

Wilber Shirley and Carl Lyerly purchased Hill’s Barbecue from Fred Hill in 1962. They renamed it Hwy. 70 Barbecue. Within a year, Lyerly sold his share in the business to Wilber, who changed the name to Wilber’s Barbecue.

The restaurant, which was a 2015 WRAL.com Voter’s Choice Award finalist for best Eastern N.C. barbecue, also served many dignitaries including Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Governors Jim Hunt and Terry Sanford and Sen. Jesse Helms.

Wilber’s closing is the latest in a string of barbecue restaurants closing in the area. Allen and Son Barbecue quietly closed its doors in December in Chapel Hill after decades in business.

In May, Bill Ellis Barbecue suddenly closed its doors after almost 56 years in business.