• 72°

Wink’s Barbecue calls it quits after 47 years under one family, 65 as an institution

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — For personal and health reasons, the Martin family has decided to close the doors of Wink’s Barbecue after nearly five decades of service.

Byron Martin said the restaurant originally closed as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns and planned to come back when they were allowed to reopen normally, but those plans began to change a few weeks ago.

Martin had previously been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the disease had already reduced his ability to work. When he took some time off from the restaurant, his symptoms improved significantly. His brother has suffered from back pain for years and saw his health issues improve as well.

Martin said his diagnosis held him back from working as hard as he used to, but his family knew he was still putting everything he had into the business.

“They knew my heart and they knew when I was there I was giving all I could give,” Martin said.

Martin said the recent two-week vacation was the longest he has ever taken. His family has devoted their lives to the restaurant. Their mother also had a recent health scare and spent a few weeks hospitalized as a result.

“If we are going to get out of this thing at some point, this would be it,” Martin said. “It’s very bittersweet.”

The restaurant originally opened in 1955 under different ownership and in another location on East Innes Street. In 2001, it moved to its final location.

Dwight and Iris Martin bought the restaurant in 1973. The restaurateurs went on to open Wink’s West on West Innes Street for a time in the 1970s. That location is now Hendrix Barbecue.

Wink’s made the announcement it was closing on its Facebook page on June 16. The post said the family could not adequately express their gratitude for being able to serve Salisbury.

The restaurant and business is for sale, but this may not totally be the end of the road for Wink’s. Byron Martin said he has purchased catering equipment over the years. He has smokers on trailers, deep fryers and charbroilers. He has tossed around the idea of doing some occasional catering with the help of his family, but he is in no hurry. There are other locations around the Southeast called Wink’s Barbecue, but he said they would work with the new owners on the name if the Martins do catering work.

Comments

Education

RSS teachers adapting classrooms to the pandemic

Education

Shoutouts

Coronavirus

County launches paramedic program for those recovering COVID-19

Education

Cooper directs $95.6 million for students affected by COVID-19

Education

RCCC named school on the rise

Local

Conversations get started on planning for diversity mural, street painting

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools welcomes new teachers

Education

Study highlights need to improve food environments around NC’s HBCUs

Coronavirus

County reports new COVID-19 death outside of nursing home

Crime

Man robbed at gunpoint at South Main Street gas station

Business

Embracing the outdoors: downtown restaurants, coffee shops work to expand outdoor seating

Local

Spencer man killed after being knocked into ditch by vehicle on Old Concord Road

Local

Activists talk tear gas ban, renaming police officers, Confederate streets during mock council meeting

Local

Woman found dead in converted swimming pool

Crime

Pair face felony charges for utility trailer theft

News

NC lawmakers want Cooper to seek Trump’s extended benefits

Education

Catawba alumnus Jonathan Barbee throws hat in school board race

Crime

Blotter: August 12

Education

RSS to pay out $240,000 share of CARES Act funds to private schools

Local

Commissioners approve new bonuses to help recruit environmental health specialists

Coronavirus

30 people now positive at Autumn Care nursing home

Local

Greensboro man receives third-degree burns, fire trucks damaged during interstate collision

News

Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Business

Local produce packing company announces recall of citrus, potatoes