Ron Blasingame, one of the founders of Little Rock's venerable Whole Hog Cafe, has died. A spokesperson for Whole Hog said that Blasingame had been hospitalized for about a week with a liver disorder when he took a turn for the worse and passed away last night.
We interviewed him for a story a few years back, and found him to be one of the genuinely nice guys of the Little Rock restaurant world. He started out, he said, smoking meat for friends in a smoker made from a galvanized trash can. From there, Ron, his brother Mike Blasingame and their friend Mike "Sarge" Davis -- founding members of the Southern Gentlemen barbecue team -- won barbecue competitions all over the south, including the Whole Hog division of the Memphis in May World Barbecue Championship. A trailer selling barbecue sandwiches in a gas station parking lot at the bottom of Cantrell Hill spawned their flagship store in the Riverdale strip mall. From that sprung a mini-empire, with 13 franchises in locales as far flung as Santa Fe,.
Go have some ribs at Whole Hog and raise a fork to Ron.
-- David Koon