1. Papa’s Soul Food (The Memory)
2. Bill & Tim’s 201 E. 13th Avenue. 541-654-0578.
3. Hole in the Wall 3200 W. 11th Avenue. 541-683-7378.
Gone but not forgotten is how the old saying goes, but when it comes to Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and BBQ, the sentiment is alive and well. Death came twice to the beloved restaurant: First when Papa himself, Theodore “Ted” Lee, passed away in 2009 and again when the location closed its doors in 2017. Barbecue was still served by Lee’s wife, Deb, after his passing, but after 15 years of amazing ribs, chicken and collards, she decided it was time. I frequented the house many times in its 15 years and loved it, as did many locals. Seeing that it was voted Best Barbecue for this year’s Best Of, I was only surprised for a moment. I see this win as a memorial to an establishment of the community, a home for soul food where there was none, and an honor to Papa’s memory. There may be other barbecue, but there will never be another Papa’s. — Amber Cecil