When you combine our good-natured silliness with an eye for restaurant design, it’s inevitable that one day, we would subject you dear readers to a post about a business’s signs. That day has finally come. Somewhere, sometime, a particular pig made his way into some clip art file somewhere, and sign companies across the southeast have been suggesting to their clients that this happy porker advertise their barbecue restaurants.
Now, if you’re like me, you probably have seen this pig many times without batting an eye at him, or even remembering you’d seen him. But one day last fall, I was looking over my photographs from a tour of South Carolina, and my final picture from one establishment and my first picture of the next both sported this pig. “That’s funny,” I smiled from my overpriced motel room in Lake City, clicking back and forth. The next day, I saw the pig on the sign of a restaurant that wasn’t open for business yet. I didn’t think to stop and shoot a picture of the sign. I wish that I did, because this guy is freaking everywhere.
So there he is on restaurants # 1 and # 2, 521 in Fort Mill and Bill’s in Cheraw. The third is on Ella’s Buffet in Lake City. I found # 4 while looking for a place to eat on our road trip to meet Marie in Ohio last December. We settled on Hoskins Drugs in Clinton, Tennessee, but while researching our choices, I found a place called Heavenly Hog:
It was the next month that I realized that the pig has been with us for a lot longer than I thought. He’s been hanging out at Jomax Bar-B-Q in Metter, Georgia for many years:
Keith-a-Que in Ashburn, Georgia, used to have this pig, but sometime in the last couple of years, they retired him and commissioned a brand new pig, equally happy to be barbecuing himself. A slightly modified version of the original pig is still in their lot, directing guests where to park.
Pig # 7 was spotted in Alabama. Hickory House Barbeque in Robertsdale, near Mobile, closed earlier this year. Around that time, I did a little digging and found two more instances of the pig at businesses I have not visited. Paradise Country BBQ in Milledgeville, Georgia might have since changed their sign, but the pig was spotted here in 2010. And then there is the tiny Cosby BBQ Pit in the far eastern Tennessee town of Cosby, with Pig # 9 found on Yelp.
Thanks to John Pluta for permission to post that second sign. John runs a bank of blogs that document fast food and quick service restaurants in middle and south Georgia and neighboring states, and I hope they’re online forever. Many of us may not care what KFCs look like now, but any similar treasure horde of photos from the 1960s would be the most awesome thing ever. I hope that fifty years from now, we’ll all be able to look over his collection.
Pigs # 10 and # 11 were hiding out here on our own blog this whole time. When I circumnavigated Alabama in February 2012, I visited both George’s in Brewton and Miller’s in Talladega. Our friend the pig is helping advertise at both places.
In late June, I found Pig # 12 in Austell at Sweetwater Inn B-B-Q. This is one of the very rare barbecue joints in the Atlanta area that I will likely never visit; it is an 18-and-up smoking establishment with quite a reputation for having air quality that makes The Vortex seem like a fresh, clean, ocean breeze, only there’s no boat and you don’t actually go anywhere. Nevertheless, for readers whose throats don’t burn from the inhalation of second-hand coffin nails, the pig is happy to greet you.
Finally, for now, here’s Pig # 13, found in front of Sgt. White’s in Beaufort, South Carolina and submitted by a reader.
My question to you, dear readers, is a simple one: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PIG? Don’t keep him to yourself. Leave photographic evidence in a comment below. Operators are standing by.
Update # 1, 10/30/13: Here is Pig # 14, which I found just inside the town of Monticello, Georgia at Dave’s BBQ.
Like barbecue? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a barbecue road trip through the southeast!