AYDEN, N.C. (WNCT) — Latham “Bum” Dennis, the creator, owner and operator of Bum’s Restaurant in Ayden, has died.

He founded the Ayden restaurant in 1963 and helped turn the eatery into a BBQ establishment in North Carolina. His method of fixing BBQ, cooking the pig over a wood fire, put his business on the map. The good food, which included breakfast, lunch and dinner, had people coming back again and again.

Legend has it that his mother couldn’t come up with a good name for Latham when he was born. Our State Magazine wrote that people said after weeks went by that, “He needs a name. A man without a name will grow up to be a bum.”

A legend was born.

Dennis’ philosophy was getting up early every day to cut the wood for the BBQ and help serve breakfast. He even grew his own collards and potatoes that were served. Though he and his wife, Shirley, retired, they still came to the restaurant nearly every day.

The business recognized his death in a post on the Bum’s Restaurant on Facebook page.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss our dear Bum Dennis. There are no words to sum up what an amazing man he is, and how deeply his family, friends and community will feel the loss. We will share when arrangements are made. Please stop by if you’d like to share a laugh, a memory and a cup of coffee. ❤️ We ask that you don’t call the restaurant to offer condolences to keep our phone open for business.”

Bum’s Restaurant is now run by Latham’s son, Larry. Click the above video to see a “People & Places” segment that WNCT’s Ken Watlington did on Bum and the restaurant back in 2019.