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Big John’s Alabama Barbeque Biography

In 1968 the late Rev. John A. “Big John” Stephens opened Big John's Alabama Barbeque in East Tampa, Florida on 40th Street North.

“Big John”, came to Tampa from Eufaula, Alabama. He with his family in tow came to the area with goals of being an entrepreneur but most importantly a man of God. He obtained and exceeded that goal and “Big John’s” is still in existence today, 42 years later.

Big John ran the business for some 25 years until his demise in 1994. His passing and his legacy was surmountable to many in the Bay Area. His wife and children continue his legacy by providing good food, great customer service and southern hospitality.

He was recognized and awarded for his contributions to the community by the Tampa Tribune and other media outlets.

His son Fred Stephens, continues the tradition and keeps the business and barbeque going. Big John’s Barbeque is known for its open pit style barbequing and has continued this technique for over 40 years.

The wife of Rev. Stephens, Mrs. Sallie Stephens, along with her children, recently celebrated their Grand Re-Opening in January 2010! Big John’s has been recognized throughout the community, the state and the world, for there superb service and great food.

They were nominated by Steve Harvey (actor, radio personality, and author) during his Hoodie Awards Show in the catagory of “Best Barbeque Restaurant” in 2007. Big Johns is also known for its signature sauce, open pit barbeque grill and made to order service.


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