Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Yeah, Its been almost two weeks. I've had the time to post but I just didnt make the time to. Things went pretty well in the two weeks leading up to and the week of Christmas - far better than I expected! Last week we really didnt make all that much money but we didnt lose any either. Back in Oct. & Nov. Bo, Jackie, and anyone else who knew anything about the restaurant industry told me to get ready, to brace myself for how little money would come in the door. We saw a real dip in dine-in customers but a big pick up in take home meals and small (20-40) catering jobs. Had it not been for the latter we would have been hurting! The picture of the "guys" above was taken this past weekend leading up to Christmas. Just gander at the yuletide joy on Bo's face.......isnt it just infectious? They needed a few days off so we were not open yesterday, which gave us all 3 days off. I'm looking forward to getting back to work today though. late yesterday afternoon (about 5:30) Marteen and I went over to the Joint to fire up the pit and put todays meat on and as I was firing that pit up I started to get excited about this week. Although going back over there at 3:00 this morning to add coals/wood is not fun!
Christmas for us was great - watching my little boy Wyatt open his gifts was the highlight of it all! He was more excited about the wrapping paper than the presents. Every year we cook breakfast on our family wood stove that has been in our family for over 80 years. That dang thing can still do it too! I inluded pics of that too.
Yesterday the Tennessean did an article on us. You can read it at:

This week should be pretty good. This Saturday night the music starts back up after taking a week off. I've had A LOT of folks tell me they were coming so if you come get ther early! I hope you all had a merry Christmas and I hope you all continue your joy with a happy Kwanzaa!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

There should be a new law......

I must say that the people and customers are still great! So far 99.9% of everyone that comes in is super nice. I'm really falling in love with the town and people of Nolensville! I love interacting with everyone. That being said I think we should have a law in this country that everyone is required to spend at least one year in the military and one year working as a server in a restaurant. Folks, you want to talk about helping our society. In 50 years you could literally map the social alchemy! The newfound respect and patience we would all have for one another would be unreal! Hell, we could be talking about world peace here! Most people are so nice and appreciative but there are some idiots out there. Very few have come in but there is one person that's killing me! I've got one woman, probably in her mid to late 30's with thighs like Mike Singletary, that tells me every time she's in (which is about once a week) that her "crock-pot bbq is still better than mine and everyone else around for that matter". After that she proceeds to tell me that pretty soon she’s going to open up shop, but for me not to worry because she's going to open in Nashville.........-oh, thanks hun, I appreciate that! Now, it’s not the statement that is annoying, everyone thinks they have a better this or that, and I actually really appreciate that. Heck if none of us thought that there would be no restaurants around would there? Its the telling me the same thing once a week that is equivalent to a twisting fork in my eyeball.........."yeah lady, I heard you the first time". And let me tell you this, you think she's afraid to tell me this while she is simultaneously filling her head cave full of vanilla Moon-Pie?????? -NONE….NO FEAR! Anyway I smile, tell her I'll need to try it sometime, please come back (by the way, did you notice above how often she comes in?), all that stuff. Its times like this where I wish I truly didn’t care…I could just respond in the manner I saw fit. Here’s what it would look like:

Singletary: “Well like I told ya last week, my bbq is STILL better than yours, and all them other places too! There’s comin’ a time…..I’m telling you….when I’m gonna open up my own place. Course’ you aint gonna have to worry cause I’m lookin’ to open up in Nashville!

Me: “Wow, your right. You really should open up a crock-pot bbq place! Look, right over there across the street. That's a 1st Tennessee bank. When you get done cramming that Moon Pie down your fat head hole why don't you waddle you’re big ass over there so they can help you open up shop? Ya’ know I’ve got a better idea. Find a little town in France with street lamps. Maybe you could drain your back fat and sell it for lamp oil and then you could just pay for it outright? What do ya’ think?

The "Calvary" has arrived!

Marteen, my old foreman for Harpeth Landscape Management, has come on board the Martin's Bar-B-Que Pirate ship. Marteen should now enable Bo and I to start working some normal hours. At the end of every night me and the ol' "Dread-neck" are staring a mountain of a clean up job right in the face and have been spending at least 2-3 hours per night after our close of 8:00 cleaning the kitchen up for the next day. This is in part due because there is not anyone keeping the place clean or the dishes clean while we're open and when we close we're backed up with a lot to do.
The past couple of weeks have been the usual emotional roller-coaster. Thanksgiving week was a big surprise. Cash flow far exceeded expectations. Last week was very average. It probably would have been a little better but Saturday night Ravenwood & Smyrna played for the 5A state football championship (most of our customers are in the Ravenwood district and Smyrna is "just across the tracks" so to speak). Days that used to be slow are now picking up and the days that used to be gangbusters are average. The cold, the holiday season, football.........heck I dont know. We're still doing really well, far better than I thought we would be doing this time of year. I'll just keep praying and keep trusting.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A break!

Man......its been 11 days since I last posted, sorry about that. We've had a heck of a run during that time, and as usual very emotionally taxing. Last Thursday we did half of our regular business and I had a doomsday attitude in regards to thinking about what our sales were going to look like on Saturday. It had been the third straight day of soaking rain and I guess folks just said the hell with it and stayed in. Well Friday & Saturday rolled around and were both record days for us and we ended up having our best week yet. Then yesterday and Tuesday were almost double what we've been doing, so if we can just have a good Friday night and Saturday then I'll at least break even for this week, which is all I'm concerned with for this holiday week anyway. This past saturday nights music was off the map! We had a standing room only crowd and they loved them (it was Ward, Dan & Jill playing). I look for this Saturday night to be even larger because folks are wanting to bring their families in, especially those from "up nawth". Ill be in a deer stand the next two days on our farm in Mississippi. Bo is off too, Jackie and crew are taking over for Friday night. Hopefully Bo and I come back recharged!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Last week

Well last week was almost a mirror image of the previous week in regards to sales. We actually did just a little more (about $500.00). The accoustic music is starting to pick up. We had several families hang out and listent to the majority of the sets. It should only continue to pick up, this week I have an ad going out in the local paper. Still waiting on Marteen to get here to give us all some relief. It will probably be about 2 more weeks. We'll be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after. Well be open that Saturday night and will hopefully put on a big show that night with the music. Sales will be virtually dead that week, but Bo needs a little time and so do I. Lord willing I'll be sitting in a deer stand for a day or two on our farm in north Mississippi........also known as "God's country". -Hey, don't giggle till you been there. Anyway, I dont really know what to expect over the next several weeks around the holidays. I am assuming that sales will be dead during thanksgiving and x-mas. What I'm hoping for is that sales during the weeks in between will be normal. This is going to be a tough time and if we can just get through it and get in to 2007 without getting beat up too bad I think things will work. I'm really looking forward to March.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

baby news

Martha and I found out yesterday that we are (Lord willing) expecting a little girl this coming March. We had the ultrasound yesterday and everything checked out great, she is very healthy thusfar. We have settled on "Daisy" as the first name but we are still undecided on the middle name. Keep us and her in your prayers. Bo and I got a lot of prep work done yesterday. I dont know what to make of today in regards to the crowd. It was a "frog-choker" last night.......rained steady all night and looks to do that today which may mean a slow day. Although today is election day (are you as glad as I am that whoever wins whatever this crap is over??) and folks will be out all day going to and fro the polls so we could get slammed. We'll see......

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The week

Well this week was, I guess, in a sense a microcosm of the restaurant industry. Tuesday (Halloween) was naturally slow, Wedensday was curiously very slow, but then Thursday-Saturday were strong and put us in position to finish up the week well. We still finished a little under last weeks total revenues (about $600.00 under) but heck, I'll take it considering what the first of the week was like. I am preparing myself for this kind of uncertainty in regards to daily cash flow because of the time of year we are in. The spikes up and down because of holidays, rain & cold, etc. are going to be very, very tough for me to adjust to but I have no choice. Bo & Jackie have all but told me that Thanksgiving and Christmas will be so slow that we might as well rent some movies to watch while we're there. If we can just get through the winter months with average cash flows I think that once (Lord willing) the spring rolls around I think we'll be o.k.. Marteen should be here in a couple of weeks and that will help out a lot! We're working very, very hard and Marteen coming in to do prep and all the cleaning will be like getting manna from heaven. Bo is working his little rasta ass off and I am desperatly trying to make his and my life a little easier......Marteen should provide that. Last night was our first structured night of music. We did zero advertising for it and for a little while it went the way I wanted it to go, meaning that once patrons heard the music, they ended up staying to listen to it well after they were finished eating. The problem was that there were some kids in the audience and Ward ran out of songs to play that were appropriate for their ears. No, Ward does not have any trashy songs, but his songs are emotionally deep and he didn't want some little kid asking daddy some tricky questions in the car on the way home. So they will probably play some covers until the audience is completely adult. I have included a group picture of the artists. I will have to say that they are all VERY, VERY talented and if you can, you need to come hear them play. There are a lot of "singer/songwriters" out there who think they are pretty good and we all know that a lot of them suck. These guys are freakin' good! So please come hear them and buy food & drink from me so I can feed all these children I keep impregnating my wife with! Every Saturday night @7:30.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


And I thought Halloween night was slow, last night was a morgue! I dont think we had 20 people come in!!! You sit around trying to figure out why.......the fog/rain, church, tired/hungover from Halloween. Last Wed. was church night and we still did well for the what is considered maybe the slowest day of the week in the restaurant industry. I think the fog/rain was a factor but I also think a lot of folks went to Halloween parties Tuesday night, got bomb-shelled and spent yesterday recovering. At the end of the day, who knows? I know we had a couple of shoulders leftover last night that will now have to go in some brunswick stew or pork carnitas. I'm eager to see how the next few nights do in regards to beer sales. Tonight is W. Virginia/Louisville (#3 vs. #5) and Saturday night is our songwriters night. Beer has been a slow seller believe it or not. The beer that has been selling are the old school beers we have like Pabst, Stroh's & Old Style. I recon folks like the nostalgia of it. How bout the Preds 8 game win streak? Hell, how bout the Titans 2 game win streak?!?!?!?! Yeah baby!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Prep day

This past week went much smoother. The combination of a couple of things: 1) the herds of people died down a bit....because of the rain, a lot of them tried it last week and a lot of people are just driving on because the parking lot is full (I am very limited on parking). 2) we have become far more efficient in the kitchen. Last week we were not prepared for the people coming, this week we were. Getting orders out has sped up a lot. It was much easier this week. I've got a guy who used to work for me landscaping coming to work'll be a couple - three weeks but when he gets here it will make life for Bo and I much easier. We've gotten a great response to the food but this week we had our first few asshole customers. Those of you that know me know that my greatest challenge in this venture will be holding my temper and my mouth. I've done well so far. One guy from Michigan asked me why I dont have coupons and that he didnt eat at places that didnt have coupons. Before I could get a word out he told me that because they were already there they would go ahead and eat but that I should have some coupons the next time he came back. Hopefully by then I'll have a book of coupons printed out for this guy, so I can take that book of coupons and beat his eyes out of his head with them. I had another woman, with a "yankee" accent, tell me the fries were too greasy. I didnt even know how to respond to her.....really......I didnt know what to say. Its a freakin' BBQ joint for cryin out loud!!! I should have told her how sorry I was and that next time she should try the garden greens with tofu and blackberry vinaigrette. At any rate, I've got to get to the joint and start prepping sauce, chili, etc. for the week with Bo.

Monday, October 23, 2006

1st Week

Well we had a great first week. It was brutal, but great. Ive got some kinks to work out but over time that will happen. I've got to hire a couple of more people in there full time. Right now besides Bo and I are some part time help of Willie, Ball, Drew and a few others. Drew has actually been working just shy of full time, which has been a blessing! Where Bo and I are getting crushed is the almost 4 hour per night clean up at the end of each day. If I can get Marteen's ass (my old foreman from my landscape company) back up here from Jalisco, MX then I'll have the problem solved. If Bo and I could get enough help in there to allow us to go home at 8:30-9:00 then it will make all the difference in the world. We're dropping a few things from the menu but not much. The stuffed potatoes havent sold worth a crap....which surprises me. The catfish po-boys and crawfish etouffee have been on fire, so have the brisket taco's. Bo came up with a new item thats been selling hard......"redneck tacos". Instead of a tortilla we use a cornbread pattie piled high with pulled pork and slaw with hot sauce. Some have "subbed" brisket. Ward Boone, John Phillips, and "Sweetleaf" came out this saturday night to pick a little. They are starting an in the round every saturday night starting in two weeks. I think that will go over well. I'm tired and have to go to bed. Sorry for not posting much this week, as soon as "Hickey-boy" gets my wireless hooked up at the joint I'll get back to posting 4-5 times per week. Of course it would help Russ if I would get the hardware for him to hook it up with though wouldnt it? Come by and eat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Sorry I havent posted but I was whipped! I'm still whipped! We far exceeded expectations and ran out of food both nights. We've been beat up pretty bad. I've got to hire a couple more guys to help Bo and I out. By the way......I can NOT say enough about Wiley "Bo" Collier, he has been unreal! We've just opened up so its going to be a few weeks before things cool off and I can see what the real daily ticket count is going to be. Right now folks are just too curious to not stop in and check it out. We've done between over 150 tickets two days in a row. For my little 12 table joint thats good. Y'all keep up with me, this is going to be a ride!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The BIG day!

Well after months of work and worry, the big day is here. Bo and I are sitting here at my computer right now getting ready for the day. We're headed to Cracker Barrell for breakfast and then on to the joint. Once we get there we'll make us a couple of Bloody Mary's, take the meat off and open the doors. I'll have pics tonight so stay tuned. I have prayed a lot about this but still have not prayed enough (can you ever?), so y'all keep us in your prayers and come out to eat some Q!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nasty bastards part II

Plumber fixed the problem we were having with the "doo-doo" ice cubes. Here is a picture of how backed up the drainage lines were (the ones that El Texano did not properly install in the first place). They never cleaned anything! The pictures say it be operating things the way they did was inexcusable. they were and I imagine still are some nasty bastards!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Getting worried

Well we're opening in less than 5 days. I'm going over my Quickbooks accounting software just looking at where I am and I'm not in a good spot. I'm running way over budget, like 20%-25% over budget. There have been a lot of things that have cost a lot of money that were unforeseen in the beginning. For example, I've basically had to outfit the entire kitchen with new (used) equipment. When I signed the lease the existing equipment that was there was included in the lease. It was the same equipment that the previous restaurant was using. Come to find out they weren’t using much of it because it didn’t work. I don’t know what they were doing and/or how they got away with it. They had no real refrigeration to speak of, the oven did not work (the burners and the griddle did though), and I could go on and on. Yesterday the plumber fixed yet even more of the plumbing problems. Get this; they had the sewage back fill backing into the ice machine! That’s right, which means that if the drain gets backed up, part of the sewage backed into the ice machine where it made little doo-doo ice cubes that they were using for customer usage. When it’s all said and done I will have spent around $20,000 just fixing or replacing equipment that I did not foresee doing. To make matters even worse the majority of all this has taken place within the past couple weeks or so. We got into the kitchen to start practicing and prepping and literally 75% of the equipment started breaking down on us, such as the oven on the Wolf stove. What does all this mean, it means that I may not have enough funds to survive longer than a couple of months. I will either have to sell some personal things to add equity to the business, or the first month or two will need to do about double the cash flow I anticipated it doing. I've said all along that if I can just get to March we should be o.k. As of right now I don’t know if we can get to Christmas. All I can do is pray to the good Lord above that a lot of people come eat there right out of the gates, because if they don’t I'll be done before I even get a chance to get started. Keep us in your prayers!

Monday, October 09, 2006


The party exceeded expectations.......and the icing on the cake was the 51 points the Vols put up on Georgia! I could sit here and write and write but I wont for time sake. I was a little unprepared in regards to my hot pans for the meat I took off the pit for the food line. I just ran out of room to put hot food coming off the pit into a hot pan for serving. We did engineer some foil pans, etc. to get by but I have been worried that someone might have gotten some food that had cooled down a little and might pass judgement on me. I guess I just had too much going at one time and just didnt put the thought into my serving line. I tasted everything coming off the pit and it was great. The bands were awsome and jammed together until about 12:30. If you didnt come then you missed a dang good time. I'm guessing we had close to 200 people throughout the night. I have to mention that this could NOT have gone off without the help of some buddies......Ball, Lamb, Agee, John McCall......I owe you boys! I may try to post some pictures later on.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The day before....

Well the big party is tomorrow night and there is still so much to get done but I feel pretty good about where we are. We still have half of a counter top to lay in the morning and clean up. Today we got some more electrical work finished, coke machine installed, cash register and credit/debit machine running, more decorations hung, sauces made, slaw made......we got a lot done. I just got home about 10 minutes ago because I was waiting until 11:00 to put the briskets on. I shouldnt have to be back over there until about 6:00 tomorrow morning to add coals and wood to the coal basket. I put the shoulders on tonight at 7:00. We've got 4 whole shoulders, 6 briskets, and tomorrow morning I'll put on 30 slabs of spare ribs. I've got 22 cases of beer, 10 cases of 7 ounce cokes, slaw, potato salad, beans (cooked underneath the shoulders of all that "lard-goodness" drips in em') & last but not least moon-pies (nilla' & chocolate). I'll post pictures on Sunday afternoon Lord willing.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

B. Jones, you can breathe easy brother........

Because the party saturday night at the joint will have the UT-Georgia game on the new 32" LCD flat screen we hung tonight. Besides, did you really think a Vol fan like myself would'nt have that game on?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Now a southern icon!

Some things you just have to shut up and not even offer a comment on......because no comment is needed. In 1995 when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak I was sitting at the bar at the "End Zone" in Green Hills. Chris Berman from ESPN was calling the game and I'll never forget how great it was that for like 20 minutes he didnt say a word on air........he just sat there and let us the viewer enjoy the moment for ourselves. Well, thats what I'm going to do here. As you sit there and look at Daisy Duke, the modern day southern man's icon, I am going to quit typing so you can enjoy the moment! (This picture hangs over the ordering window at the joint.......this says it all!)

Two more weeks

I am starting to feel my nerves a little bit. We've got two weeks till we open the doors and I feel so unprepared to do it. The counter top still needs to be installed and its looking like thats yet another thing I'm going to have to teach my self by doing it myself. Still need to get the new (used) fridge in there, figure out whats going on with the oven (thermostat, knobs, and generally old as %*@#). Need to get my sauces made and the food ordered. It seems like I could sit here and go on and on about whats not done yet that should've been done by now. There is just so dang much! Also, I know I never got around to posting that picture of the "southern icon" I talked about in my previous post, I will try to do that this afternoon. Be sayin' some prayers for us!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


The build out/construction is pretty much done. Today Bo and I are hanging the speaker wire and the speakers. We also are mounting the reciever and my old G4 Macintosh. The doors have been painted and are drying and we should be able to hang those bastards later today. Tonight the bands are coming out to practice for next saturday night and drink beer.........I am looking forward to drinking beer tonight. I've got a picture of one of the most prolific southern icons in modern history hanging over the order window..........check back later on when I post it to see who it is. This one picture almost tells the whole story in regards to the atmosphere of this joint!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And the opening date is........

Monday, October 16th. Things are really starting to come together for the joint. I'm opening so much later than I wanted to but there really was not anything I could do about it. On Saturday night October 7th we're having a private party. 3 bands playing a mostly acoustic "in the round", 30 slabs of ribs, 3 shoulders, 3 briskets, sides and beer. If you are reading this right now consider yourself cordially invited to that party. If you are reading this right now and are a friend of mine I fully expect to see you there, specifically if you live within 150 miles of here! We need the love so make plans and get your tail there. Everything is free except the T-shirts....which I need for you to buy! Bo and I have got a few more things to take care of this week and then we'll be able to get in the kitchen. We've got to head down to Mississippi for a couple of days to spend with my grandmothers for their dessert recipes but we probably wont do that till next week. This past week the refigeration guys fixed the walk-in cooler, Sign out front was installed, Tracy came out and did some electrical work for me (new fans, lights, etc.) and Ellis and his crew chunked up a dang good looking privacy fence in about 4 hours. This week we've got to get the counter tops laid, plumbing done, trim done, speaker wire/speakers hung, menus done......a bunch of other stuff that I dont fell like listing. I'll keep you posted.......just keep reading

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Before/After landscaping

Pics dont do it justice but here are the before/after pics in regards to the landscaping. The previous shrubs were out of control and literally taking the front of the building over. I didnt do anything real expensive, just cheap and tough. I'll stick some mums in the whisky barrels and pansies in the window boxes hanging off the deck railing. Lord willing Legendary fence builder Ellis Bryan is coming out this weekend to build the fence around the shed on the side of the building where the cooker, etc. is going to be. I think its only a matter of time before some T.V. producer puts together a landscape version of "Orange County Choppers" featuring ol' Bill Bryan and his boys over there off Granny White in Green Hills. The show would be a hit! Anyway, the sign was installed today and we got the majority of the sod laid but ran out of daylight so I'll get a pic of that tomorrow. The other full color version of the T-shirts are supposed to be delivered tomorrow at Bosco's by Nick. Thats it for tonight, I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yeah its been a week I know......

I'm sorry I havent posted in a while. I've been working like a dog trying to get the construction finished and Wyatt has been real sick (had a 103* fever and blowin' mud out of his can). We've put so much Desitin (cooling salve) on his rear end I'm thinking about buying stock in the company. The little guy is a lot better now. Martha has been through the ringer......she's one heck of a mother (and wife)! Later today I'm going to post about the progress with some pictures. This post is in regards to the kitchen. That filthy "sum-bitch" is filthy no more, cleaners came and did a great job. The original bid was $500.00 to clean it but that guy had no real idea what he was getting into. It ended up being a $1200.00 shot in the mouth but it was worth it! Let me tell you......this one picture DOES NOT DO JUSTICE as to how much cleaner it is! I'll post on the construction & landscaping later this evening.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not quite approved, but not exactly denied either!

Well the board wanted to approve me but I started to get the feeling they couldnt.....let me explain. The has grown so fast that the "new" codes manual does not specify for the board the difference between a variance for property and a variance for use. They could not approve my request under the variance for property because that would set a precedent and future headaches for them down the road, because that would open it up for everyone to ask and receive what I was requesting (which was to extend the roof to the property line, where there is already an existing privacy fence). I figured since there is already an existing structure there and I'm only requesting the extension of the tin roof 4 additional feet. Well then the city lawyer told the board that they could give me permission to seek a variance of use, which basically gives me special permission because I'm trying to better the community (I'm bettering the community by keeping the flys and birds out from around the pit.....make it more sanitary). They basically hinted to me that they would like to approve it but couldnt until the "verbage" differintiating between property and use was in the manual. If they denied me I could not submit an application for the same request again for 365 days. If I withdrew my request I could re-request it any I quickly withdrew the request and told them I would re-submit it in a month or two. So I'll just have the finest fence builder on the planet, Ellis Bryan or Bryan Fences fame, come build me a privacy fence.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Filthy Bastards.

I'm not going to say much because the pictures say it all. What you are looking at is whats in between/under the griddle and fryer. This was how the previous tenants, El Texano, were operating their kitchen. It makes me sick that I ever ate there. The cleaners were coming this afternoon to clean the kitchen so Bo and I unhooked the gas connections to the griddle and the fryer so we could move them both off the wall so the cleaners could clean everything good. When we moved them out and saw that filth, we were both speechless. I'm still basically speechless. The paint on the floor of the kitchen is grey! Do y'all see any grey? If you operate a kitchen like this and serve people food from it, you need your dadgum ass kicked in.......and you need it done bad and you need it done now! I'm talkin' about a "Jesus going through the Temple" style whipping! Now that you've seen pics of the "before" shots, I cant wait to post pics of the "after" shots to show the difference. I told Randy (the owner of the cleaning company) that I wanted to be able to see myself on the stainless steel on everything and be able to eat off the floor. The hood/vent cleaner & inspector is coming tomorrow. I can tell you one thing, you may love or you may hate the BBQ I serve......but you wont be able to deny that my place will be clean! I can promise you that! I'll post later on about the results of the variance meeting tonight.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Updated build-out progress

Well this process is coming along but its still frustrating because I wanted to be so much farther along on the inside build-out than I am right now. There is just so many things to get done in addition to the construction........trying to get it all done by myself with the help of Bo is taking a lot slower than I thought. Thats the reason I have not announced an opening date yet because I want to have the confidence of knowing that we can open when I say it will be open. I have postponed the opening day 5 different times since I signed the lease in July. At any rate......I feel like I'll be able to announce the date later this week and hopefully it should be in the 3-4 week range. I've got to get this thing open is going out the door like a dadgum vacuum and I've got to get open to generate some cash flow to offset everything. The other picture is Tracy Jarrell with my little boy Wyatt. Ole' "Double-Barrell" got Wyatt a Poo-Bear for him to wrestle with......Wyatt loved it! Bo and I should be finished with our part of the construction by Monday. The kitchen cleaners are coming Tuesday to clean that kitchen out (which is a di-saster!) and we'll start the install of the landscaping on Tuesday. Also, Jason at SignGraphix is coming Tuesday to install the signs and later that night is my variance meeting with the city of Nolensville for the construction request on the side of the building.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

All in favor say "I"......."I" want your tax dollars!

Today was a momentus day.........the city of Nolensville beer board approved me to sell beer at the joint. I have to say I was a little nervous coming in to the meeting. Although I've never been convicted of a felony, I've spent a few hours behind bars a time or two and have a driving record thats almost unheard of (it has gotten quite a bit better in my 30's). They really didnt have much to deny me for and personally I think it came down to the fact that they wanted the tax dollars I might generate......which is fine with me! Now the next hurdle is my grandmother, who might very well fall out in the floor when I tell her I'm selling beer. You see my family is a good conservitive southern Church of Christ family, which I might say I'm dang proud of, but I ain't opening up some bar and there ain't a dadgum thing wrong with having a beer with your bbq. Period. Hell, it wont be the first time, or the second time, she's gotten upset with me about beer......Freed-Hardeman University kicked my ass out twice for getting caught drinking that carbonated golden nectar......with the second time sending me up to Lipscomb University in Nashville, which is another Church of Christ school. She's used to it though, all 5 of her brothers raised hell and ran whiskey (corn likker) back & forth from Corinth (Mississippi) to the state line in Tennessee.......Yeah Buford Pusser and all that "Walking Tall" saga. My uncles Olen, Audry, Shorty, S.M. & Hugh-Baby did'nt get caught too often though because they were pretty slick. They used to pack the likker, 50 gallons to each side, on mules and would swim them across the line in the Hatchie river and then load up a pulp wood truck with it. Pusser killed one of my other uncles (by marriage) Russ Hamilton in a hotel room in McNairy county (Selmer). Russ Hamilton killed my great grandmothers sister so my family had no sadness when his ass got it. Pusser also gave my moms girl scout sponsor, Louise Hathcock, a brand new butt-hole right in the middle of her forhead, Graveyard dead. She pulled a pistol on him, I reckon she was a little slow to the draw. She ran whiskey, numbers and whores out of an old beer joint called the "Shamrock" club that literally straddled the Tennessee/Mississippi line on old 45 highway. They had a painted stripe right down the middle of the bar to show where the state line was. When the law from Tennessee would bust in (of course they were already tipped off) they would move the drinks over the painted line to the Mississippi side and visa-versa (I'm not making this up!). My other uncle, Hilly Coleman, was the sherrif of Alcorn County where Corinth is. Hilly used to let my Olen & them slip through when he could but when he had to arrest them Hilly used to call my grandmother and/or her sisters Beatrice, Jewell & Estelle to come bail my uncles out of jail so my great grandmother (Ma-Coleman) wouldnt find it out....this is a long way of saying that it may take a while, but I think my grandmother will eventually get over it.........besides, I got kids to feed!


Worked till 8:30 last night and we're STILL not finished with this dang frame out. We did get the framing done and part of the counter top laid. Still have to hang the O.S.B. board (like plywood) to enclose it.......we'll be doing that today. Have the ABC beer board meeting tonight with the city of Nolensville at 6:00. I think we'll be o.k. but you never know, I've heard they can turn you down for any reason they want. If they dont like the color shirt you are wearing they can turn you down. The single color T-shirts and all the caps in from Nick Mathews (Doug Mathews Team Sports) came in. The muti-color shirts will be done next week some time. I think they look great and I'm real happy with them. Tommy Bethel did the screen printing for them and was nothing short of a ga-dang Pablo Picasso getting that design on the cotton. I'll post a picture next week with all the shirts together in the shot. My goal in selling these things is to sell enough for the second order with Nick so I need y'all to buy some shirts and/or caps from me. Katie Walker got all my letterhead, business card and menu designs to me. Its going to be a tough decision because they all look so good! She sent about 8 different designs for each item. I'll post later on with todays progress.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Today we got a lot done but not what I had wanted to get done. I had wanted to complete the interior construction but didnt. We got everything done except putting down the counter top and putting up the O.S.B. board to enclose it. Bo and I should have it done tomorrow......I'll have pictures tomorrow night. The ABC beer board meeting is thursday night. The variance hearing is next tuesday night. My goal is to have all the inside completed prior to the variance hearing so that I can just turn the contractors loose on the outside while I get in the kitchen and cook my recipes. We'll finish the landscaping on thursday/friday. I'll post a picture of the semi-completion tomorrow night.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back to the BBQ grindstone!

Not going to be much of a post here because I just got in and its late. There will be a larger more up to date post tomorrow concerning the progress of the joint and where we are with it. Things were coming along real well prior to me going on this trip and I have no reason to think that I wont pick up where I left off this week. This is a big week, there is an extraordinary amount of stuff thats got to get done this week for me to open this thing up when I want to. Alaska was unreal. I have posted a pic of me and my brother in-law Stephen who was the captain for one of the boats at Inner Harbor Lodge. This is a picture of one of the many Halibut we caught. This was a small one, I'll post some pics of the bigger ones later when I get them loaded up. The other pic is of my wife Martha and the other pic is of the little villiage we fished out of , Elfin Cove. Steve did a hell of a job putting us on fish. Its one of those places that 99% of us always talk about wanting to go sometime. Quit putting it off and plan your trip for next year, it cant be put in to words. Just GO! When you go to Alaska and look at the scenery and don't think about God, then your screwed up in the head. I'll post more this week concerning the trip with some pictures.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Got here to Juneau yesterday, getting on the float plane here in a few minutes. Lord willing we'll be on the water in an hour and a half. We're fishing for Halibut & Salmon at in Elfin Cove. This is the little vacation we needed in front of opening this joint up. Bo has gone to an orchard for a couple of days with some amigos to stock pile apple wood for us. Next week things really, really pick up....I'll probably be announcing the open date after the variance meeting & beer board meeting.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Update & more tomatoes

Got a lot done today but the post is not going to sound too exciting. The picture is a bunch of our heirloom tomatoes we picked. I've got 30 different varieties.....salads, marinara, salsa's are all off the charts! Reds, pinks, orange, yellow......all different colors. I've got some late sweet corn about to come in directly. Nothing like growing your own food! Anyway, Bo and I spent the morning finalizing the menu. Its still not finalized but its close enought that I feel good about it. Having Bo on board with me is really going to enable me to offer a little bit of variety to the menu to compliment the BBQ. A lot of the other items, actually a big chunk of the other items come out of the smoker and are BBQ related. There are other things on there that have got a little culinary creativity to them and are southern items. I've basically been writing down my "wish list" menu and then leaving it up to him whether or not it goes on the menu or not. If he tells me no problem I can handle that in the "rush" then it goes on, if there is any hesitation then it more than likely goes to the potential daily specials, any other reaction it goes out the window. So far we've only chunked a couple of items. I'm real pleased with the menu so far, I think its very appealing and very manageable. I'm more excited about getting a little creative with things to make us different and give it a little edge. The sign is going up on Wedensday from Jason at SignGraphix in Cool Springs. Ward Boone's band (yes his uncle is Pat Boone) has agreed to play two sets every friday night. Ward is very, very good and I'm very excited about him being a regular. The guy is a real talent! The band "SweetLeaf" (Bo's band), when they have time, will be leading a Saturday night "in the round" with invited songwriters/singers to play......all acoustic. They are are very good and are really starting to turn a few heads on music row. They just picked up a weekly gig down near "On the Rocks" every thursday night. As a matter of fact, it may be "On the Rocks" where the gig is.....cant remember. Working on a bluegrass band and blues band to play also. Its hard to believe that Lord willing we'll be opening the doors in a little less than a month.

Yesterdays cook

Yesterday afternoon I ran a cook on the pit. I cooked six slabs of baby's for Michael Blankinships church group, some sausage and a small brisket flat. Ribs were cooked well. I still dont have my sausage maker so I bought some polish sausage at Sam's. Polish is traditionally a mix of pork and beef. I rub some of my "BigHoss" rub on the outer casings and throw it on the pit. The sausage brand that I used yesterday had a weird flavor to it that I didnt care for all that much. I can't really put my finger on what it is I'm talking about but it left an aftertaste. I plan on using that in some gumbo here soon Lord willing. The brisket was very good, which was a little surprising because it was the "flat"........and a very small flat (around 4lbs). The brisket is made up of two seperate muscles, the flat and the fat cut or triangle cut. Its THE toughest part of the cow. I loaded the picture so you could have an idea as to where it is. I prefer to cook a brisket like I do a pork shoulder......whole. But yesterday was just another test run to continue to "season" the pit so I just cooked this little flat to add another cut of meat in the pit. I was pretty pleased. Today & tomorrow will be pretty busy tying up loose ends before Martha and I head off to Alaska to fish on Wedensday. Bo's going to be manning this ship while I'm gone, and he'll probably do a little posting on the blog.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Well the new paint looks awsome and really makes the place look like a whole new building. Yesterday we, actually Bo & our mexican amigo Adan, started moving tables & chairs back in the joint. While they were doing that Michael & I were framing in where the fountain drink machine is going to be. After everyone left I noticed a little mark on the floor where the paint had been scratched a little. Yeah thats going to happen but when I felt the paint it was as if it never really adhered to the surface. We ran a laquer thinner over the old paint so I dont understand. I do have some fear that the money I just spent was wasted and that I'll have to remove the existing paint and paint it again. You wanna talk about something that would piss me off!?!?! The good news is that the front looks good, I'll post some pics later on. I need to get this dilemma figured out quick. This week (Wed.) Martha & I are going to Alaska to fish through the weekend. I need to get the plumber in there while I'm gone and start cleaning that filthy kitchen out. The commercial cleaning service is coming next week to clean it and we need to have it ready for them. Bo will be manning the ship while I'm gone.......We've got a ways to go before opening and it is really stressing me out!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Paint.

Not even going to say much here because the before/after pictures speak for themselves.......and its not even a "true" before & after until i get it all done in there (construction), but you get the idea. We're painting the outside tomorrow so i'll have pics of that to add. I was a little afraid of the color combo but after its on i like it......a lot! Place will really look good finished & decorated. I also went and spent about $2000.00 for kitchen equipment (and there's more to come let me tell you) and dropped $1700.00 for shirts & caps with Nick Mathews @Doug Mathews Team Sports. Nick, his brother Tate & Tommy Bethel all work over there and are all buddies of mine and dang good guys. I'll do a specific post on shirt/cap pick up day. The shirts & caps are going to look good.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Stuart Johnson.....the former & FUTURE Mayor of Fairview!

Well today I went over and bought all the paint for the painters tomorrow. About $200.00 odd bucks worth of paint. The guy that runs the Franklin Porter Paint store is Mayoral candidate Stuart Johnson. Stuart is running for Mayor of Fairview and should win in dadgum landslide! Wish more of us lived in the 'view so we could vote for ole' Stu. The guy next to him is Daryl the painter. Ole' Daryl is one of the old timers that hangs at Stu's store in Franklin. The guy is a great guy and has got ONE........and I repeat ONE.... single tooth in his entire head.........and smiles at you like a dentist! Its the front right tooth on the top......and that one tooth is massive! Love guys like that......the "dont give a damn" type. He told me he lost all of his teeth chewing tobacco and fightin', AND then he proceeded to tell me his "old lady" likes his single tooth better than a mouthful! I tried like hell to get him to smile real big for the camera but he wouldnt.....I'm telling you when he smiles real big the guy looks like he's trying to suck on a tombstone. Like one singel tusk hanging out of his mouth. I am dead serious when I say that Its guys like Daryl that make the south great!!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The flags' been dropped........go,go,go,go,go!

Today the loan was finalized and I now have access to the money. Everything just went from 1st gear to 5th gear in regards to projects. I can now "turn the dogs loose" so to speak. This afternoon I gave the green light to the painters & plumbers. Tomorrow I'll start the purchasing of equipment needed. Slow down hoss's & hoss-ette's........we're not going out to spend money just to be spending money, but it is exciting to really & truly put this train on the dad-gum tracks (financially speaking). This should be an interesting week in regards to progress.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Looking to the dugout for the steal sign to 2nd base

Overall I'd say I was pretty pleased with the first run today. Baby's turned out real well in regards to texture & taste. We've still got some "gettin' to know each other'n" to accomplish. It'll be a few cooks before I get my feel for the intake air etc. to regulate my temperature on a consistent basis. Today I tried to pull a couple of tricks on her and it didnt work. What kind of tricks? Things like positioning my coals in order of size, layering wood, etc.. But I'm not worried about it......we're just feeling each other out right now. Its like that time back around middle school when you were fooling around with a girl. Your on 1st base with the big sloppy french kiss, but if you want to get to 2nd base you've got to get real creative or do it her way. One way or the other we'll get to 2nd base before too long!

The "Pit"!

Well here she is. Took me & Bo all day but we got her home safe & sound. I would have cranked her up last night but I was too dang tired to do so. She is awsome! Its weird for me to be cooking on one of these shiney, stainless Ole Hickory Pits. I am used to a good ol' dull, black off-set stickburner or a traditional brick pit. But the effeciency these things have are pretty impressive. They are so well insulated. The temperature consistency in the chamber (where the food is) is almost as good as a brick pit, and thats what I wanted to mimic......our brick pit in Mississippi. I've been thinking for days as to what I'll name it. Every real pit has to have a name because a pit, as far as I'm concerned, it is a living, breathing being. A pitmaster & his pit have got to be on the same page all the time, got to be able to talk to each other........buddies. The name I have givin this pit is "Miss Hattie", in honor of the late Miss Hattie Mullins from Tuscumbia, AL. There are several reasons I gave the pit this name.......I wont bore you with them, but she was a woman of class, a true southern lady! This morning I cranked her up with a dry run (no food in the pit) and the temp held very well, just as I suspected it would. Just put in 3 slabs of baby backs for a short cook (4 hours or so). I personally dont like to cook baby's near as much as spare ribs, but I opted for baby's because I'll be able to cook them in four hours instead of 7 (give or take) for the spares. We're just trying to get to know each other so I'll probably cook baby's for the next couple of days or so before I throw the shoulders, briskets etc. on her. With it being 93 degrees today I should be able to get at least 7-8 hours for my burn time (amount of time it holds the temperature without adding coals/wood). I would like to see it get maybe 10 hours if it can, we'll just wait and see. I am like a five year old on christmas day.

1st newspaper ad

Very generic ad to start but I had to get something in there. John McCall is doing my ad stuff for me so everything should get pretty creative in regards to text & quirky pictures.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Westbound and Down

Bo and I are westbound and down headed to Cape Girardeau, MO to pick up the back this afternoon with an updated post...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ol' lead foot is back baby!

Yesterday I had to go get my license reinstated (forgot to pay a speeding ticket and they suspended my license). Had to pay $157.00 for the ticket in Franklin, pay the state $65.00 to reinstate, had to go down town (load of fun) and pay $8.00 to get a new copy of my birth certificate because I cant find my original (need that for the D.M.V.) then go pay $23.00 to get my license reinstated. Bad news is that I learned the hard way that procrastination can get expensive. Good news is now that I have a valid license again, I dont have to fret about driving under the speed limit for fear of being pulled over and arrested......I can speed again!!!! Cant wait to pull that lead boot out of the closet and slip it on again! Also met with some contractors to get a bid on screening in the side shed where the cooker is going to be. Today we're cooking sauce to zero-out the weight of each ingredient. I have to calculate each weight so the co-packer who will be mixing & bottling the sauce gets the recipe exactly right. Tomorrow we're west-bound & down to Cape Girardeau, MO to pick up the pit......but dont worry boys, I should be back in time for Bosco's! And dont worry Martha, that means we'll be going to dinner tomorrow night after Bosco's.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

All over the place today

The day started with Bo and I going to a two hour food safety class (which I might add was supposed to be just an hour) at the health department in Franklin. Jeff Hill is our inspector and he just happened to be the environmentalist teaching the class. It wasnt too bad really, glad we went. I then had to rush Bo back to get to work in the joint while I took off to "climb up on top" of Mt. Juliet, TN to meet with a new co-packer. I have added a picture of Tommy & Sue from Tennessee Gourmet and Dennis from Deacon's Salsa. Dennis has got a commercial kitchen and he has teamed up with Tennessee Gourmet to expand. They are the perfect size for what I am looking to do right now in regards to amount. I'm going to be spending the next few days firming up my recipes so I can give them the information needed so they can give me a quote. The sauces I've been using for so many years are tied up with me and John McCall in another project we're working on (Martin McCall's). I want to be loyal to John with those sauces so I am developing new sauces for the joint......but really not all that different because they are based off those recipes. Hopefully this new relationship will be something within the budget I have set for the joint. They were, and hopefully will continue to be, a big help to me. They have done very well with their products and I will lean on (and pay) them for guidance to help us get the sauces off the ground.

Monday, August 14, 2006

On your mark, get set.........

Got the info back from the banker. It was very good......but at the same time very unsettling. Why? I dont know why because they gave me exactly what I asked for. I think that adding up all my monthly costs (doing break-even analysis) was sobering. I had a clear idea as to what I was going to be looking at but hearing from the banker and seeing the costs on paper was surreal. Hearing from Brad (the banker) was almost symbollic because I've known for almost 3 weeks what the loan terms were probably going to be. It was symbollic in the sense that, "o.k., heres the dough.........make it happen". -Almost like a track meet and you could here the pistol go off. Time to start buying stuff..........but try to buy as little as possible and pay back the balance as fast as possible! Relatively speaking, my loan amount is not terribly much, its the term of the loan (only 18 months) that makes the monthly note so steep. And thats exactly the term I requested because I want to pay this note off quick. I'll think about it today, I may request that the term to be pushed out a tad farther, maybe an additional 6 months. When I say "steep" i mean the monthly note in additon to the other monthly costs. Just calculating the payment in addition to the monthly costs has brought my monthly breakeven to around $13,500 per month, and before its all said and done that will probably become more like $14,500. Thats total rent, food costs, beverage costs, payroll, insurance, etc.. For a simple bbq joint & grill that just seems like so much but maybe thats my own ignorance causing my fear. Now thats not counting any cash flow coming in at all. Thats assuming that not one soul comes through the doors to eat any food whatsoever. Thats assuming that I will never have any catering. Thats assuming that I sell no sauces, t-shirts or caps on the website. Obviously thats not going to happen but I have to look at it that way because its important for me to know "worst case scenario". Its all about surviving that note until the cash flow starts coming in to handle it. Anyway....I must admit that I'm not worried about people coming in to eat the food, what I am worried about is will enough people come in to eat the food in the time that I have to make this work, which is basically two years. Nolensville is growing so dang fast, they have approved so many new homes to be built out there. I have forcasted doing about $200,000 in year one. If we do that we'll make a "whopping" $30,000! -Not hardley a good enough reason to do something like this. BUT.......if we can do an additional $100,000 in year two for a total of $300,000 then this is worth staying around for. My current demographic is weighted on the construction crowd at lunch. That demographic will change drastically in 24 months because of future residents buying new homes within a two mile radius of the joint. by that time the dinner/take home crowd should really start to strengthen. If I can survive the first 12 months I think I will be fine.......but thats a "BIG" if! Oh in the long run we'll be fine........I'll still have my landscape business rolling to bring in money during the lean start up time, and Martha will still be working a little until maternity leave........but this is where my passion is and if this fails it will not only be a huge sting to us financially, but it could be a dream crusher. Without sounding dramatic, money can always be earned one way or the other...there's just too many dumb-asses in the world for any of us to have an excuse not to earn it - but when a dream gets beat down sometimes its hard to find the confidence to dream that dream again, and thats the biggest fear I have in regards to this not working. Where's an 80's glam-hair metal band singing in the background when you need them?

Cooking Hog

Been looking for old pig roast pictures at any of my old catering events or pig roasts we have on our farm in Mississippi. These pics were sent by Michael Blankinship......this is one of the pig roasts we had a couple of years back on my pit at the farm. Bo & I are going over the menu trying to firm that up this week. Ill post later today with todays progress.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Got A LOT done today.......with the help of some great buddies! Removed the partition wall I've been talking about. I took "before" pictures of it but forgot to take "after" pictures so I'll post that tomorrow. We framed in the kitchen expansion this afternoon. This is the area that the cooler, caps/T-shirts and register etc. will be. I was planning on attacking this thing myself but Michael Blankinship, Bryan "Ball" Chandler & Eric Lamb came out to help me. Let me give credit where credit is due.....Michael was a ga-dang lifesaver! If I had done this myself tonight would have been a late night and I would still be working on it tomorrow fixing what I screwed up today. His experience was a tremendous help. Bryan & Lamb were a big help too. Tomorrow I'll be doing some "Quickbooks" training from Jennifer Owens........Then God blesses us with his annual fall blessing.......the Titans start the season tomorrow night against the Saints (the "Ain'ts"). We've got 4 PSL's and I'll be taking the guys that helped me tonight.....and we'll be putting down some cold beers starting around 4:00. I plan on going through cold beer tomorrow night like Bruce Lee with a pair of nunchucks! Ill post another update for y'all Monday.

What is this Blog???

You ever been sitting around cooking for your family and friends and been told the following: "Hoss, this is the best I've ever had in my dadgum have got to open up a place of your own". The thought crosses your mind to do just that, but for whatever reason you dont. Well I'm "that" guy that actually went through with it and did it. I had absolutely ZERO restaurant experience! I decided to start this blog about my own experience hoping that it may be of some use and help to others who might be interested in opening their own place.
I learned this craft almost 20 years ago cooking whole hogs on brick & cinder block pits at a couple of little BBQ Joints in Henderson, TN. I learned from old, lifelong career Pit-Masters, working with them as an apprentice during school off and on for four years. Over the course of that time I learned the old, time-honored craft of REAL pit barbecue. At Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint I am trying as hard as I can everyday to bring that time-honored authenticity to my customers.
As you read you'll see I've made some stupid decisions, and I've made some good decisions. If you are thinking of opening a restaurant, especially a BBQ Joint, read this blog! Maybe some of this info can be of use to you. At the very least you will be entertained because I pull no punches.
Now listen, this is my blog to not only help with information but my blog to freely rant about my day to day experiences. There is no real "bad language" on this blog but there might be some things said that are very "tongue in cheek". If you are easily offended and/or cant see the satire in my posts then please just leave the blog. It will save both of us the annoyance of each other. For those of you who do like satire and are looking for good information about this experience, then by all means enjoy!