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!

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!