110719_LocalGriffin Bufkin

By: Cheri Leavy

Photo by: James Calemine

Griffin Bufkin


Family: Carol Ann (mom), Robby and Peter (brothers) Years in the Golden Isles: Since 1972 Occupation: Southern Soul BBQ Tell us the story of Southern Soul BBQ: In 2006, I was working as a bartender at Palm Coast Coffee & Pub and the kitchen in the back became available. Same kitchen I cooked in 15 years prior when it was Frannie’s. My buddy and business partner, Harrison Sapp, had been cooking BBQ on the art festival circuit for about a year and we had always talked about going into business together … so I called him up and he brought his cooker down and we set up shop renting out the kitchen and courtyard. Our first day in business was on GA/FLA weekend. We sold out of everything we cooked and did it the next weekend. Eventually, we outgrew the space so we jumped at the chance to take over the vacant old GISCO seafood building. We opened up the doors on GA/FLA weekend, again. We had a big fire in March of 2010. The old pine and concrete building was gone. A complete loss. We managed to get a food trailer and started cooking BBQ and selling out of the window while the rebuild was happening. The local community rallied around us and showered us with support and goodwill. We will never forget that. That was a humbling experience, one we continue to pay forward to this day with our charitable foundation Firebox. We reopened again later that fall on GA/FLA weekend. Tell us about your partners in the business: A few years ago we brought Davis Love on board as a partner. Davis is a huge BBQ guy. He is hands on with us helping out Harrison in the pit when he’s in town. I love to see the look on people’s faces when Davis comes walking up, sometimes covered in BBQ smoke. He always smiles and takes a pic with them. Bill Jones III also joined us as an investor and the two of those guys are actively scoping out future SSBBQ projects. Tell us about the ties between SSBBQ and PGA Golf: I love the RSM event. I think it’s probably Harrison’s favorite time of the year too. We do the vending at the tournament and concert. I think Frosty’s will be involved this year too. Favorite landmark in the Golden Isles: My favorite landmark is probably Gould’s Inlet. I try to get down there every day and chill after work. We get to live in an amazing place. I also love our local restaurant community. We are seriously blessed with some great dining options, from world-renowned local shrimp to an equally famous Willie’s Weenee Wagon pork chop sandwich. Also some killer taquerias in this town. We are really fortunate. A local you admire: Kitty and Harrison Sapp. I think Harrison should run for county commissioner. Tell him I said that. Describe a perfect Saturday for you in the Golden Isles: A day off. Ice coffee at Wake-Up Coffee, hit Live Oak Fitness with Charlie, do lunch somewhere on the island (Sea Salt folks are doing some great things), a little beach time at Gould’s, maybe a beer with George at Beachcomber then dinner out with friends and family. Indigo on the mainland is a consistent favorite and you can’t go wrong with CJ’s or Georgia Sea Grill.