Allen & Son and Stubbs & Son BBQ – A Southern Family Tradition

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Story by: John Wells

Photos by: Martha Manning

One of the really wonderful things about good food is that it can be imbued with a sense of history, of community, and of family. For Jimmy Stubbs and his wife Lori Golden, this has certainly been the case over the years as they’ve owned and operated a Chatham staple, Allen & Sons BBQ in Pittsboro, as well as Stubbs & Son BBQ in Sanford.

Jimmy Stubbs is a longtime Chatham native, born in Pittsboro. Growing up in Bynum, it was Jimmy’s mother who, at an early age, instilled within him a love for and knowledge of cooking. “She cooks and bakes better than any other southern woman I know, says Lori. Its always been important to her to gather the family around the supper table, especially on Sunday afternoons to eat real southern cooking which Ive learned is real comfort food.”

The restaurant in Pittsboro has a long history itself, having been in business since the early 1960s, opened originally by Henry Hearne. It took on its current iteration under the Allen family later, and with his local and culinary pedigree long established, Jimmy took over Allen & Sons BBQ in the early 1990s.

Lori, meanwhile, grew up in Flint, Michigan, where she lived until 2001, when she moved to Chatham County to work for ABC Channel 11. As she puts it, “I planted myself in northern Chatham County from the get go and have been thankful ever since.” Shortly thereafter, Lori made the choice to switch to real estate, working with East Bridge Realty. “I wanted to slow down and enjoy a less frantic pace of life and be able to enjoy watching my son grow up Some of my best memories are watching my son playing baseball on the ball fields in Pittsboro.” It was at a baseball game, in fact, that Lori and Jimmy met in 2008. Her son, Chase, and Jimmys son, Ethan, played baseball together at Northwood High, and just a few years later, in 2012, Lori and Jimmy were married at Holden Beach. Jimmy even catered the reception himself, which may say something about how fantastic his food is (something to consider: both Allen & Sons and Stubbs & Son offer catering services).

BBQ continues to be a family affair, in fact. While Chase Golden intends to pursue a business degree at UNC Wilmington, Ethan Stubbs works with his dad on weekends while attending UNC Charlotte. Ethan has been working with his Dad since he was very young, Lori points out, and is planning to go into the restaurant business when he finishes his degree. Ethans work with his dad prompted the family to open Stubbs & Son BBQ in Sanford in September of last year, which features the same menu as Pittsboro’s Allen & Sons. The Sanford location is take-out/drive-thru, and Lori paints a lovely picture of pleasant days there: “When the weather is nice, lots of folks like to get their food and sit out on the picnic tables under the shade of the oak trees, which seems a very nice way to spend a North Carolina afternoon now that spring is here.”

In all, Jimmy and Lori, through their restaurants, exemplify those aforementioned finest qualities, having incorporated into their businesses a sense of familial identity, preserving and honoring, there, the history and character of North Carolina through their BBQ. And thats no small thing, considering how many wonderful memories can be made around a supper table full of good food, surrounded by friends and family. The Stubbs & Sons BBQ website promises, North Carolina BBQ with a no fuss attitude so you will be guaranteed an authentic southern culinary experience! An authentic southern culinary experience almost always means more than just great food. And as for that, there are few things as simple, and few things as good.

The Pittsboro location features a take-out window in the front and has a full service dining room as well a place to grab some BBQ even on rainy days. Information about both restaurants, including the menu, can be found on their website at; Allen & Sons may also be reached at 542-2294, while Stubbs & Son may be reached at 776-8887.

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