A culinary American delight that’s been “fit for a king” was also fit for a spaceman.
The late Commander Dave Walker, an astronaut for NASA and Eustis native, enjoyed the sauce so much that he took it into space during a mission in December 1992. “Now King’s can certainly boast about barbecue that’s ‘out of this world!” wrote Donna Goodwin in a promotional article about King’s Taste Bar-B-Que. Thanks to the dream of two men --- and a rifle, an electric shaver and a radio --- the tantalizing smell and taste of King’s Taste Bar-B-Que have been luring folks to a quiet neighborhood in Eustis since the early 1950s.
Isaac Thomas, the founder of King’s hocked his rifle, shaver and radio so he would have enough money for his first two boxes of ribs, so the story goes.
Thomas, who died in 1982, was an educator who was well respected and fought for the rights of fellow African-American teachers.
Originally there was only one pit, but now there are three. The barbecue stand was closed for a short while after Thomas died in 1982 and was re-opened briefly before Wilts Alexander bought King’s in 1983. Alexander’s roots are in Lake County and it is his dream to make sure that the barbecue stand stays as it was for so many years. Alexander added a picnic pavilion and children’s playground.
“My vision is to build a commercial area that is anchored by King’s,” Alexander wrote in an email. “The city planners have a green way from the lake to Carver Park. King’s and the park behind King’s is one of the hubs in that plan.” Wilts always has a smile for you!” Come by the stand and see for yourself.