Why is the name Papa Bruce’s BBQ Sauce?

Papa Bruce and Sons

The sauce is named in honor of my father.  My father’s nickname was Papa Bruce.  My father is the other half of my fascination and inspiration for with creating and sharing food. My father worked at a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio with my grandmother and aunt in the ‘60’s.  He was in his early 20’s.  He started out as a busboy and later became a cook. My aunt said that he became “a skilled cook”!  

I vividly remember my father taking my brother and I to different food related events.  He would always make it a point for us to try all types of food, especially food from different cultures.  He wanted us to try it all.  If we ever looked skeptical at trying something, he would give us a certain look and we knew that it was in our best interest try it anyway. At that time, we never understood why it was so important to him for us try so many types of food.  Of course, at that time, we were just kids.  As is often the case, a father’s wisdom is not apparent until later in life.  As adults, it just clicked and we both understood and appreciated his efforts:  He never wanted us to perceive people based on the appearance of their food.  Through these various food events, my father showed us that people all around the world often show love through cooking.

Outside of the restaurant, my father would use his well-developed skills to cook for his family and friends.  Looking back, my father didn’t grill very often. Come to think of it, Papa Bruce made a lot of his best dishes in the oven. He made awesome oven-baked hamburgers, an amazing meatloaf, and a great baked catfish that I still make to this day.  He also made a special oyster dressing during the holidays.  Absolutely delicious. 

My Father passed away in 2017.   Amongst the many things that I carry forward are his love of family, food, and appreciation of people from all backgrounds.  We created a picture of my father for the bottle.  If he were here, I know that he would carry a bottle of Papa Bruce’s BBQ Sauce around with him just to show people his face on the bottle and turn it into an opportunity to cook for them.  In naming the sauce after Papa Bruce, I hope that you too will share your cooking with family and friends and let the love flow.

We miss you Papa Bruce!