Former pubcaster is winging it with new barbecue franchise

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Bob Friedman, a Nightly Business Report correspondent back in the 1980s, left pubcasting for a life in … barbecue. And it turns out he’s still enamored of it. As Friedman tells the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, N.C., “I still have pig fat in my blood.”

While reporting for NBR, a conversation on foreign trade with then-U.S. Rep. Don Sundquist of Memphis led to a discussion of barbecue and an idea for a restaurant, Red Hot & Blue. It eventually grew to 35 outlets when Friedman and his partners sold it three years ago. But the sale to a private equity firm wasn’t lucrative enough to retire, he says. So Friedman and his wife moved to Raleigh and bought a video production company “about five minutes before the recession hit.”

So now it’s back to barbecue: Friedman has opened an East Coast Wings & Grill franchise in Cary, N.C. — 75 flavors of wings!

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