As the owner and operator of Melvin’s BBQ, and a native of Charleston, SC, I wish to shed light on a recent article (regarding the Mendes family restaurants) published in the Post and Courier on the 28th of November. The first paragraph of the article references Melvin’s BBQ and Bessinger’s in “the feud that divided the legendary BBQ clan.”
As a member of this legendary BBQ family and a local business owner, I would like to clarify that there is no dispute between myself and my Uncle Thomas (owner of Bessinger’s).
Like every family, we have a varied history. We have disagreements and unique opinions, but we love one another.
Melvin’s BBQ and Bessinger’s are separate business entities. What separates the two is an entrepreneurial spirit, not a raucous family feud. My Dad wanted to create something of his own, something that he could leave behind for his children and grandchildren. Melvin would not want his children to revoke that same privilege for the sake of legacy.
In 1961, my Dad Melvin, and his brother Thomas opened Bessinger’s on Savannah Highway in West Ashley. The brothers ran this business together until 1990. I started working at Bessinger’s in 1969 and eventually worked my way to becoming manager in 1982.
Since 2004, I have been the proud owner and operator of Melvin’s BBQ (Established by my Dad, Melvin in 1978). As a small business owner, I have my own innovations and ideas. I strive to honor my Dad’s memory with his legendary recipes, including the Golden Secret® mustard based BBQ sauce. I own and operate the two remaining Melvin’s BBQ restaurants in Charleston and in Mount Pleasant. My Uncle Thomas runs Bessinger’s on Savannah Highway. The rivalry between myself and my cousin Michael (son of Thomas) is a respectful one, as it should be. We are individual business owners with competitive spirits.
From our fire pit at Melvin’s BBQ, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Smoking New Year!