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.

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!