Iconic Georgia BBQ restaurant known for ‘Pig Hill of Fame’ to close

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. — An icon is closing in North Georgia that has been a stop for political candidates for more than three decades.

Oscar and Edna Poole first opened Poole’s BBQ out of a trailer in East Ellijay in 1989. The retired pastor turned restaurateur was well known for his connections in the Republican Party and the yellow suit and top hat that he wore to campaign events.

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Edna, his wife of 70 years, recalls how that suit came to pass.

“He saw Col. Sanders with that white suit, and he said, ‘I’m going to have me a yellow suit’. I laughed. I thought, ‘I can’t believe he’s going to wear a solid yellow suit’, but he did,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. She would later have one made to match.

Before Col. Poole, as he was known, passed away in 2020, his son Darvin took over the business in 2008. The restaurant has served politicians and celebrities alike over the years.

“Dad has a lot of pictures on the wall, and we’ve wanted to redo them. But we didn’t know what to leave up and what to take down. So many things are just iconic of Dad and what he believed in and the people he met and saw. So, we just left it,” he says.


It was his father who started the Pig Hill of Fame.

“That’s the number reason people stop because people see all the pigs on the hill. It’s very visible to the four-lane highway and it’s been a blessing,” says Poole.

A lot of politicians who have visited the restaurant over the years have their names on that hill. Many were invited to campaign at the restaurant by longtime Gilmer County GOP supporter Joe McCutchen who was a close friend of the elder Poole.

“In ‘92, Pat Buchanan came here, and he nearly beat Bush. He got 30 percent. And brought the world press here,” says McCutchen.

Poole’s is closing its doors after 33 years so Darvin and his wife can retire to spend more time with their three grandchildren who live three hours away.

Edna, who’s been happy to have her son continue to run the place that she and her husband built, is understanding.

“We worked hard to start it. And I’m a little sad, but I know my son has got to retire,” she says.

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The family would love someone else to buy it and keep the name and the same great BBQ, but Darvin understands if that doesn’t happen.

“We just want to thank all of our customers. It’s been a lot of fun meeting people. And some of my best friends that I have now, I met through the BBQ. So, that’s been an extra blessing on top of everything else,” he says.

The restaurant will be open this weekend and then will close its doors for good at 4pm Saturday, Nov. 26th.

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