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Does anyone remember the old Rollins BBQ restaurant on Oleander Drive near College Road?

Merton Vance

This response came from Ina Rollins Sims:

“I graduated from New Hanover High School in 1944. The first Ralph Rollins who owned Rollins BBQ was my father. It was a ‘mom and pop’ thing with my mother, Mildred Rollins. When he retired, my brother, Ralph Rollins, Jr., and his wife, Macie Garmon Rollins, took over. Only my sister-in-law, Macie Rollins is still living. She recently turned 90 and lives with her daughter in Florida. She had Rollins BBQ cooked by her grandson for her birthday party.

“You’re right about the BBQ, it was wonderful. That restaurant was listed in Gourmet Magazine for places to eat BBQ. The Brunswick stew, the corn cakes, the slaw and the signature hot sauce weren’t bad either.”

“Ralph Rollins was my grandpa,” writes Diana Barefoot. “He would smoke those whole pigs in the little building out back over a hickory fire all day until the meat was falling off the bones.”

“I would ride my horse over to the barbecue place, tie her up outside and go in to get treated with a sandwich and corncakes and an Orange Crush. Everyone loved the whole cucumbers in the small-neck bottles and wondered how he got them in there.”

Mark LeGwin remembers a trip to Rollins as a big treat.

“Seems that we would eat there on special occasions, ride the ponies in Winter Park, and sometimes play Putt-Putt,” he said.

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7 Responses to “ Does anyone remember the old Rollins BBQ restaurant on Oleander Drive near College Road?”

  1. On June 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm Forrest Brown wrote:

    Carrying this further, the Rollins family lived next door to the restaurant for many years.

    Right next door to the house was Kohens (Cohens) vegetable stand for many years.

    Then, Oleander Drive was a two way concrete highway with tar seams that sounded like a flat tire when you rode over it.

    My family lived on the next street over on Pine Grove Drive.

    This was a long long time ago.

  2. On June 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm mark paterson wrote:


  3. On June 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm Emily Ives Wise wrote:

    Yes, I remember Rollins Barbecue. I lived next door to it when i was growing up. The Rollins family lived on one side of the business and we lived on the other. I remember the barbecue being very delicious and we ate it often. I live in Georgia now and the barbecue here is just not as good as the North Carolina kind. Thanks for bringing back good memories. Emily

  4. On June 11, 2010 at 11:18 am Amy Hotz wrote:

    Macie Rollins and her family are good friends of my family, the Korney family formerly of Rogersville Road. I’m sure my mother knew about the restaurant, but I’m only 33 and this educated me. I’ll have to call them tonight and give them a hard time for not letting me know about all that good cooking!

  5. On June 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm swain hardee wrote:

    I recall Rolins hickory cooked pork barbcue. It was the best this side Smithfied, NC the home of hickory cooked barbcue seasoned and cooked with hot pepper vinegar.
    These pigs were corn feed by contracted from birth to a large shoat. very tender. I wander if Mr. Rolins came to Wilmington from Smithfield area. The flavor of Mr.Rolins and Smithfield were the same. The next Barbque cooked was Flipps on Oleander Dr. It was not near as good as
    Mr.Rolins. It could have been the corn feed pigs. The only place you can find good hickroy cooked barbque is Goldsboro.
    I am 87 years old from Smithfeild. I know good barbque
    when it comes around, Swain Hardee

  6. On December 10, 2010 at 6:06 pm Gene Page wrote:

    Remember, oh yea! My dad worked a short time for Mr. Rollins. We lived on Spirea Drive. Today, Smithfields reminds me of Rollins but is not as good. Rollins was on the corner occupied now by CVS. Across the street diagonally from Rollins was a Pure Oil gas station. The corner directly west of Rollins across the street was a pasture. Played baseball many times in that pasture. Needless to say there was no shortage of “bases”!

  7. On December 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm Garry McDaniel wrote:

    Ralph Rollins Sr. set the BBQ bar for the entire area…and nobody…but nobody…has EVER even come close.
    Ralph had the know how and patience to produce the BEST and most delicious melt in your mouth BBQ
    and ribs. (He cooked the whole pig all together.) on hickory that he burned down to coals. The flavor stayed with you for your lifetime. My family is and still are BBQ worshippers. My favorite is still Ralph’s ribs. Oh for that mouthwatering taste.
    “The good ole’ days really did exist”…and it was wonderful people like Ralph Rollins Sr. and his family that made them happen.
    Garry McDaniel

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