LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The namesake of Gump’s BBQ and the inventor behind the eatery’s signature sauce has died.
Craig “Gump” Garmyn died Monday at the age of 58.
Tributes to the man have been flooding the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The neon “open” sign is still blinking as the stove stop sizzles at Gump’s BBQ – just as it has for nearly 10 years. The eatery is a tiny storefront located at 1105 River St. in Lansing. But enthusiastic supporters of the eatery say the absence of “Gump” at the smoker will matter.
“I don’t know where Gump got his experience from,” says owner Scott Simmons. “I never talked to him about it. He read up on it, or he was born with — it was amazing wherever you went, people knew him.”
Garmyn had undisclosed health concerns.
Simmons may own Gump’s BBG, but he says Garmyn ran it – smoking the meats, teaching employees and creating his “Gump Sauce” signature sauce.
Aurelio Velasquez worked with Gump at the restaurant for two years before the pandemic. He said the eatery was driven by Garmyn’s passion to provide service to people and the community. He was committed to filling the bellies of everyone – from construction workers to college athletic teams.
Velasquez recalls a moment where Gump stepped out of the eatery and “took a picture and there were like 8 state police cars parked in front, getting food.”
He says his friend and mentor was driven by passion and embedded lessons in Velasquez’s life, “Dedication to the barbecue and quality of the food that came out,” he said were key lessons.
Nearby restaurant owner Leroy Cardwell, the owner of LeRoy’s Classic Bar and Grill, said he too learned from Garmyn.
“You want to make sure everything is in order, or so forth,” he said. “So I think that’s what I learned from him. He likes to take care of his customer like I did.”
Funeral arrangements are set for Tuesday. Simmons says Garmyn recently trained employees and shared his notes on his sauce blends. So, Gump’s beloved flavors will remain.