Terrible news, readers. Bob Kantor, the beloved founder of Memphis Minnie's, died unexpectedly on Monday.
Manager Tom Campbell tells us that Bob suffered a heart attack while scuba diving with his wife in the Caribbean on Monday. Tom shared his thoughts on Bob's passing on Memphis Minnie's Facebook page today:
"He was many things a Son, Father, Husband, Boss, Slow Food Evangelist, sometimes Walrus impersonator, lover of Sake, Cowboy and most of all our mentor in Que. He was much loved and will be missed more than words can say."
Tom adds that the restaurant will remain open, noting that "we are all pushing forward together to keep Bob’s dream alive. Stop in and raise a glass of sake or a slice of his brisket in his honor when you’re in the Lower Haight."
Bob opened Memphis Minnie's in 1992 in a warehouse in the Mission, but established the permanent Lower Haight location 13 years ago. He named the barbecue restaurant after his mother Minnie, who hailed from Memphis, Tennessee. For more info on Bob, his background, and his love of barbecue, read our interview from last year.
On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to get to know Bob in recent years, and was always struck by his kindness and sense of humor. Bob was a great supporter of Haighteration from our early days, and truly loved the Lower Haight. As he told us about the neighborhood last year, "We live diversity, we breathe it and we eat it – and I am thrilled to be a part of it."
Bob is survived by his wife Gail Wilson, son Ben Kantor, and brother Charles Kantor.
Rest in peace, Bob. You will be missed.