Maggie and Na continued to serve their community until their deaths, in 1982 and 1983 respectively. The restaurant, however, remained a family affair. Na’s only son, Vernon “Gus” Bonner, inherited Maggie and Na’s priceless recipe and the restaurant they worked so hard to build, literally from the ground up. In 1984, Gus and his wife, Gertrude, reopened under the now well-known name, “Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken.” Though the name may have changed, the Bonner family continued to honor Na and Ms. Maggie’s legacy by following and even perfecting their beloved fried chicken.
You can’t keep good fried chicken a secret, and before long Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken had a following that stretched far beyond the quiet streets of Mason, Tennessee. Regional publications, including the Memphis Commercial Appeal, began featuring the restaurant in the late 1980s, and national publications, such as Saveur and GQ magazine, soon followed. In fact, in January 2001, GQ named Gus’s Fried Chicken one of the top ten meals in the United States worth flying for.