TURNAGE'S (BBQ) RESTAURANT

Turnages_Interior_1952.jpgDick Gable 3.jpgDick Gable 1.jpgDick Gable 2.jpgDick Gable.jpg

TURNAGE'S (BBQ) RESTAURANT

608
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

Josh Turnage's barbecue restaurant on Morrene Road was a touchstone restaurant for an entire generation of folks growning up in Durham in the 1940s-1960s.

Comments

  • Submitted by Rick Duke on Friday, March 9, 2012 - 3:42pm

    Our family at out there quite often. I don't remember much except an outdoor area where we ate lots of good food, served with a Coke. I think everyone's love affair with Carolina barbeque in the area probably has its roots here.

     

  • Submitted by JC Angier on Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:03pm

    We used to come to Durham from Richmond in the late-50s to visit.  My father grew up in Durham, living with his grandmother, Lida Duke Angier. We always went toTurnage's when we came to Durham.  It was owned then by a friend of my father's named Jim Warren.  Jim and his family lived in a little house right across the street from the restaurant (I believe the house is still there). He had a daughter about my age named Mary Ann and we used to romp around that place endlessly getting into as much mischief as 8-year-olds could. 

    As I recall, the building was large and open.  It wasn't logs, it was frame.  I believe they had picnic tables to sit on inside.  My most vivid memories were when we first used to go there, the barbecue was cooked over fire in long pits and we would spend what seemed like hours just walking up and down watching the meat cook and smelling the wonderful aromas.  Somewhere during the years we used to visit, they converted to a fancy gas cooking system.  I remember occasionally going in the kitchen and watching men chopping barbecue wildly with cleavers in both hands on massive chopping blocks and I always got a little scared because they looked at me like the next chop might come in my direction.  As I recall, Jim employed a number of people from one family.  I was always told---whether true or not---that they were part native American (Cherokee) which made it even more exciting to me as---like all young boys of that time period---cowboys,Indians, Davy Crockett, coon skin caps etc. were what we lived for. They were wonderfully warm-hearted people (when without cleavers) and always made us feel welcome. The food was amazing...hushpuppies to die for.

    I saw a write up about Jim and Turnage's in Our State a few years ago written by one of Jim's family members. I believe he retired to Florida, but some of his family may still be in the Durham area.  I moved to Durham in '94 and work at Duke.  I've always wondered what happened to Mary Ann Warren and would love to see and/or communicate with her and any of the Warren family if they happen to see this post.

    JCA

  • Submitted by Don Baker on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 2:49pm

    This was in todays Durham Herald Sun Paper in referance to Turnage's BBQ Resturant
     

    James Walter Warren

     

    Sunset Beach — Durham native and restaurateur James Walter Warren, 90, passed away Monday, April 9, 2012 with his family by his side. A memorial service will be held at St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church in Shallotte at a date to be announced.

    Jim was born June 15, 1921 in Durham to Edward Walter Warren and Frances Willard Louder. He attended Durham High School (1939), Fishburne Military School, and Eastman School of Business. He met Mary Ann Bass of New Bern, the love of his life. They married in 1944. Jim served during World War II in the Army Air Force.

    At an early age Jim learned the art of cooking south eastern style barbeque under the tutelage of Mr. Josh Turnage. Jim opened Turnage’s Barbeque Place in 1946 where he served up pit-cooked cue and Brunswick stew for nearly 25 years. He began working in the Real Estate business in the 1960’s and subsequently he and Mary Ann opened Jim Warren Real Estate. They retired and moved to Sunset Beach in 1993. His beloved Mary Ann passed away in 1995.

    Jim is remembered both as a gentleman and as a gentle-man. He was kind, accepting, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends. Jim is preceded in death by his oldest son, James Warren Jr.; and his sister, Susan Warren Yeager. He is survived by his daughter, Mary Ann Warren of Eugene, Ore.; and his son, William Warren of Wilmington.

    In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. James the Fisherman, Shallotte, NC or to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Wilmington, NC.

     

    Read more: The Herald-Sun - April 11 2012 

  • Submitted by melissa warren on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 8:11pm

    Hello, I am Jim Warren's daughter-in-law, and I wanted to thank you all for fondly remembering Turnage's restaurant and Jim and Mary Ann.  We lost Jim last week after a two-month illness and miss him so very much.

    I unfortunately wasn't around when Turnage's was opened and I only wish I would have been able to experience what you all did!  Though Jim didn't cook barbeque much in the past few decades he did still make his delicious Brunswick stew... and still stirred it with his dog wood stick ;-)

    Here are some he gave us a few years ago of Saturday Night Jazz at Turnages’ with Dick Gable and the Allstars – I believe that was the name of the band.  I believe these photographs were taken by someone named Mike Pierry for "The Duke Peer"  Not sure if it was a magazine, newsletter/paper, etc. 

    I’m sure Jim has more great photographs from the Turnage days and as soon as we get a chance to take a breath, I’ll have Bill, my husband and Jim’s son, post some. 

    Thank you all for keeping the memory of such a great Durham establishment alive.  I showed Jim this site back in January and he was very interested in it.

    Dick Gable 3.jpg

     

    Dick Gable 1.jpg

    Dick Gable 2.jpg

    Dick Gable.jpg

  • Submitted by gary on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 8:15pm

    Melissa - some folks sent me the obituary - so sorry for your family's loss. I am thrilled that you are able to share these pictures with us, and especially glad to hear that Jim got to see the site and appreciated it. I can't tell you how many people I've interviewed that have fond memories of Turnage's.

    Please do return and share any other photographs you find; I'd love to have more.

    Best wishes

    Gary

  • Submitted by Bruce Hatton on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 6:07pm

    I lived in Durham and was a student at George Watts School in the mid-fifties, and I remember being a classmate of Ann's as well as a member of the cotillion with her. I fondly remember frequent evening and weekend experiences at Turnage's, especially the Brunswick stew and the big stone fireplace doing its thing in the colder months. If I remember correctly, Jim and his family moved to the Forest Hills area from the house across from Turnage's, much to Ann's chagrin. I think I remember that she had a horse and didn't want to move to Forest Hills because the horse couldn't go.

    My father was a tobacco buyer supervisor for Reynolds Tobacco, and his office was quartered in the receiving and shipping operation on Foster St, which also had the perq of providing rooftop viewing of the Durham Bulls action at the ball park, by the way. Tobacco people were close in those days, and company lines and places in the tobacco industry pretty much disappeared at social times. We had many friends from all phases of the tobacco industry, and Turnage's was one of the most favored and most memorable of the gathering and mixing places for everyone in the Durham area, regardless of their occupations and social status.

    Many thanks to Jim Warren and family for creating a place so many regard as a treasure.

  • Submitted by Sandy Hackney on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 10:56am

    My family went to Turnages very often starting in the late forties. It was around $2/adult and children were free. Jimmy Warren was always at the door and was a wonderfully friendly man. I knew him at St. Phillip's Church, too. Out back were the big pits where they roasted several 1/2 pigs at a time. In the kitchen were indeed his staff with the big cleavers and I have great memories of the intense rhythm they made with a pair as they chopped up the BBQ. The tables out front were long picnic tables covered with oil cloth. The BBQ was the best ever! and the same for the Brunswick Stew, hushpuppies and ribs. It was all so fantastic for a young man and as I grew older it stayed that way. On my way home from NYC in 1963 I would stop there after 10 hours on the road and eat all I could before going on home. Sometime in the early 60s it changed to Vance and all the magic went away...Sigh.

  • Submitted by Lynn (Whitener)... on Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 7:44am

    Hi, I was looking for a recipe for Brunswick stew and I googled Turnages Barbecue, since as a kid we were there all the time and that is the Brunswick stew I remember the most, to see if there was a recipe and to my surprise I saw the picture of the band my father was part of with Dick Gabel and Bill Pape and Harrison register and Lindsay Ferris who I still see. My father passed way years ago, I am in New Jersey, it was so exciting to see this. I remember Jimmy Warren, just never knew they had bands there ever, I was born in 1952 the year of this picture. I don't even know if you will get this. But I stop in Durham every so often if there still is Turnages I will find it.

  • Submitted by Lynn (Whitener)... on Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 12:28pm

    Hi, I was looking for a recipe for Brunswick stew and I googled Turnages Barbecue, since as a kid we were there all the time and that is the Brunswick stew I remember the most, to see if there was a recipe and to my surprise I saw the picture of the band my father was part of with Dick Gabel and Bill Pape and Harrison Register and Lindsay Ferris whom I still see. My father passed way years ago, I am in New Jersey, it was so exciting to see this. I remember Jimmy Warren, just never knew they had bands there ever, I was born in 1952 the year of this picture. I don't even know if you will get this. But I stop in Durham every so often if there still is Turnages I will find it.

  • Submitted by Lynn (Whitener)... on Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 12:29pm

    Hi, I was looking for a recipe for Brunswick stew and I googled Turnages Barbecue, since as a kid we were there all the time and that is the Brunswick stew I remember the most, to see if there was a recipe and to my surprise I saw the picture of the band my father was part of with Dick Gabel and Bill Pape and Harrison Register and Lindsay Ferris whom I still see. My father passed way years ago, I am in New Jersey, it was so exciting to see this. I remember Jimmy Warren, just never knew they had bands there ever, I was born in 1952 the year of this picture. I don't even know if you will get this. But I stop in Durham every so often if there still is Turnages I will find it.

Add new comment

In tours

  • This building does not appear in any tours yet.

Last updated

  • Wed, 11/07/2012 - 9:09pm by gary

Location

United States
36° 0' 55.9404" N, 78° 57' 29.6892" W
US

Comments

608
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

Turnages_Interior_1952.jpg

Interior of Turnage's, 1952

I'm still looking for a really good exterior photo of Turnage's Restaurant, otherwise known as Turnage's barbecue - located at 608 Morreene Road in Durham. From people I've interviewed, it sounds like it may have resembled a large log cabin with a big porch.

"The food was excellent. Grandfather loved it. Good and greasy. They had good ribs (not much meat, but lots of stuff to chew on) -  'skins.'  I remember the old stone fireplace "

"My family would go there all of the time after the war. Huge, screened-in almost, like a log house, huge stone fireplace. They had a piano. I remember the pork skins, ribs, marinated onions, coleslaw, fantastic barbecue, Brunswick stew in huge cast iron pot. Neighbors ended up buying it from Mr. Turnage, and eventually he opened a restaurant. I can still picture one really tall thin older man stirring Brunswick stew out in cast iron pot out back.  Pretty sure they served beer. "

"Our family had 9 kids and Art Vann's family had 12 kids. We would all go on Friday nights when kids would eat free. They had a pit out back where the kids could see the pig cooking."

It was evidently popular with Duke students as well - the above picture is from the Duke Chanticleer, captioned "JAM SESSIONS, featuring Dixieland Jazz Combo and some fast jitterbugging, shook the rafters on Saturday afternoons of spring semester."

Dick Gable 3.jpg

(Courtesy Melissa Warren)

 

Dick Gable 1.jpg

(Courtesy Melissa Warren)

Dick Gable 2.jpg

(Courtesy Melissa Warren)

Dick Gable.jpg

(Courtesy Melissa Warren)

Turnages_amtobco_051961.jpg

American Tobacco employees at Turnage's, 05.19.61

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

turnages_2_122870.jpg

"Deb Party at Turnage's" - 12.28.70 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

turnages_int_122870.jpg

"Deb Party at Turnage's" - 12.28.70 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

turnages_4_122870.jpg

"Deb Party at Turnage's" - 12.28.70 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Maitland Nance, who had run Nance's cafeteria on Blackwell Street (and whose mother had run Mayola's Chili House on North Gregson,) bought the place at some point. The history gets fairly fuzzy from that point - perhaps the building burned, perhaps it was simply torn down and replaced with another restaurant building. Eventually, it became a series of seafood restaurants. 

In 2007, the spot became embroiled in a City of Durham Planning department mess, as D&L Parts tore down the old building and began building a wholesale parts business on the site, much to the chagrin of local (residential) neighbors, who were not aware that the UDO would allow said use on the site. Which, in fact, it didn't, despite the plan having been approved by the Planning Department. 

I'm not sure how the mess was sorted out, but eventually the site ended up as a veterinary clinic instead, which no one (publicly) seems to mind.

 

608MorreeneRoad_103011.jpg

10.30.11

Comments

Our family at out there quite often. I don't remember much except an outdoor area where we ate lots of good food, served with a Coke. I think everyone's love affair with Carolina barbeque in the area probably has its roots here.

 

We used to come to Durham from Richmond in the late-50s to visit.  My father grew up in Durham, living with his grandmother, Lida Duke Angier. We always went toTurnage's when we came to Durham.  It was owned then by a friend of my father's named Jim Warren.  Jim and his family lived in a little house right across the street from the restaurant (I believe the house is still there). He had a daughter about my age named Mary Ann and we used to romp around that place endlessly getting into as much mischief as 8-year-olds could. 

As I recall, the building was large and open.  It wasn't logs, it was frame.  I believe they had picnic tables to sit on inside.  My most vivid memories were when we first used to go there, the barbecue was cooked over fire in long pits and we would spend what seemed like hours just walking up and down watching the meat cook and smelling the wonderful aromas.  Somewhere during the years we used to visit, they converted to a fancy gas cooking system.  I remember occasionally going in the kitchen and watching men chopping barbecue wildly with cleavers in both hands on massive chopping blocks and I always got a little scared because they looked at me like the next chop might come in my direction.  As I recall, Jim employed a number of people from one family.  I was always told---whether true or not---that they were part native American (Cherokee) which made it even more exciting to me as---like all young boys of that time period---cowboys,Indians, Davy Crockett, coon skin caps etc. were what we lived for. They were wonderfully warm-hearted people (when without cleavers) and always made us feel welcome. The food was amazing...hushpuppies to die for.

I saw a write up about Jim and Turnage's in Our State a few years ago written by one of Jim's family members. I believe he retired to Florida, but some of his family may still be in the Durham area.  I moved to Durham in '94 and work at Duke.  I've always wondered what happened to Mary Ann Warren and would love to see and/or communicate with her and any of the Warren family if they happen to see this post.

JCA

This was in todays Durham Herald Sun Paper in referance to Turnage's BBQ Resturant
 

James Walter Warren

 

Sunset Beach — Durham native and restaurateur James Walter Warren, 90, passed away Monday, April 9, 2012 with his family by his side. A memorial service will be held at St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church in Shallotte at a date to be announced.

Jim was born June 15, 1921 in Durham to Edward Walter Warren and Frances Willard Louder. He attended Durham High School (1939), Fishburne Military School, and Eastman School of Business. He met Mary Ann Bass of New Bern, the love of his life. They married in 1944. Jim served during World War II in the Army Air Force.

At an early age Jim learned the art of cooking south eastern style barbeque under the tutelage of Mr. Josh Turnage. Jim opened Turnage’s Barbeque Place in 1946 where he served up pit-cooked cue and Brunswick stew for nearly 25 years. He began working in the Real Estate business in the 1960’s and subsequently he and Mary Ann opened Jim Warren Real Estate. They retired and moved to Sunset Beach in 1993. His beloved Mary Ann passed away in 1995.

Jim is remembered both as a gentleman and as a gentle-man. He was kind, accepting, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends. Jim is preceded in death by his oldest son, James Warren Jr.; and his sister, Susan Warren Yeager. He is survived by his daughter, Mary Ann Warren of Eugene, Ore.; and his son, William Warren of Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. James the Fisherman, Shallotte, NC or to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Wilmington, NC.

 

Read more: The Herald-Sun - April 11 2012 

Hello, I am Jim Warren's daughter-in-law, and I wanted to thank you all for fondly remembering Turnage's restaurant and Jim and Mary Ann.  We lost Jim last week after a two-month illness and miss him so very much.

I unfortunately wasn't around when Turnage's was opened and I only wish I would have been able to experience what you all did!  Though Jim didn't cook barbeque much in the past few decades he did still make his delicious Brunswick stew... and still stirred it with his dog wood stick ;-)

Here are some he gave us a few years ago of Saturday Night Jazz at Turnages’ with Dick Gable and the Allstars – I believe that was the name of the band.  I believe these photographs were taken by someone named Mike Pierry for "The Duke Peer"  Not sure if it was a magazine, newsletter/paper, etc. 

I’m sure Jim has more great photographs from the Turnage days and as soon as we get a chance to take a breath, I’ll have Bill, my husband and Jim’s son, post some. 

Thank you all for keeping the memory of such a great Durham establishment alive.  I showed Jim this site back in January and he was very interested in it.

Dick Gable 3.jpg

 

Dick Gable 1.jpg

Dick Gable 2.jpg

Dick Gable.jpg

Melissa - some folks sent me the obituary - so sorry for your family's loss. I am thrilled that you are able to share these pictures with us, and especially glad to hear that Jim got to see the site and appreciated it. I can't tell you how many people I've interviewed that have fond memories of Turnage's.

Please do return and share any other photographs you find; I'd love to have more.

Best wishes

Gary

I lived in Durham and was a student at George Watts School in the mid-fifties, and I remember being a classmate of Ann's as well as a member of the cotillion with her. I fondly remember frequent evening and weekend experiences at Turnage's, especially the Brunswick stew and the big stone fireplace doing its thing in the colder months. If I remember correctly, Jim and his family moved to the Forest Hills area from the house across from Turnage's, much to Ann's chagrin. I think I remember that she had a horse and didn't want to move to Forest Hills because the horse couldn't go.

My father was a tobacco buyer supervisor for Reynolds Tobacco, and his office was quartered in the receiving and shipping operation on Foster St, which also had the perq of providing rooftop viewing of the Durham Bulls action at the ball park, by the way. Tobacco people were close in those days, and company lines and places in the tobacco industry pretty much disappeared at social times. We had many friends from all phases of the tobacco industry, and Turnage's was one of the most favored and most memorable of the gathering and mixing places for everyone in the Durham area, regardless of their occupations and social status.

Many thanks to Jim Warren and family for creating a place so many regard as a treasure.

My family went to Turnages very often starting in the late forties. It was around $2/adult and children were free. Jimmy Warren was always at the door and was a wonderfully friendly man. I knew him at St. Phillip's Church, too. Out back were the big pits where they roasted several 1/2 pigs at a time. In the kitchen were indeed his staff with the big cleavers and I have great memories of the intense rhythm they made with a pair as they chopped up the BBQ. The tables out front were long picnic tables covered with oil cloth. The BBQ was the best ever! and the same for the Brunswick Stew, hushpuppies and ribs. It was all so fantastic for a young man and as I grew older it stayed that way. On my way home from NYC in 1963 I would stop there after 10 hours on the road and eat all I could before going on home. Sometime in the early 60s it changed to Vance and all the magic went away...Sigh.

Hi, I was looking for a recipe for Brunswick stew and I googled Turnages Barbecue, since as a kid we were there all the time and that is the Brunswick stew I remember the most, to see if there was a recipe and to my surprise I saw the picture of the band my father was part of with Dick Gabel and Bill Pape and Harrison register and Lindsay Ferris who I still see. My father passed way years ago, I am in New Jersey, it was so exciting to see this. I remember Jimmy Warren, just never knew they had bands there ever, I was born in 1952 the year of this picture. I don't even know if you will get this. But I stop in Durham every so often if there still is Turnages I will find it.

Hi, I was looking for a recipe for Brunswick stew and I googled Turnages Barbecue, since as a kid we were there all the time and that is the Brunswick stew I remember the most, to see if there was a recipe and to my surprise I saw the picture of the band my father was part of with Dick Gabel and Bill Pape and Harrison Register and Lindsay Ferris whom I still see. My father passed way years ago, I am in New Jersey, it was so exciting to see this. I remember Jimmy Warren, just never knew they had bands there ever, I was born in 1952 the year of this picture. I don't even know if you will get this. But I stop in Durham every so often if there still is Turnages I will find it.

Hi, I was looking for a recipe for Brunswick stew and I googled Turnages Barbecue, since as a kid we were there all the time and that is the Brunswick stew I remember the most, to see if there was a recipe and to my surprise I saw the picture of the band my father was part of with Dick Gabel and Bill Pape and Harrison Register and Lindsay Ferris whom I still see. My father passed way years ago, I am in New Jersey, it was so exciting to see this. I remember Jimmy Warren, just never knew they had bands there ever, I was born in 1952 the year of this picture. I don't even know if you will get this. But I stop in Durham every so often if there still is Turnages I will find it.

Add new comment