Monday, July 31, 2006

Worn out and nothing to show for it.

The picture for todays post has nothing to do with the post. This guy was at the beerfest and had one of the most "proving" mullets I've seen in a while. I went up and told him how awsome his mullet was and if I could get a picture of me holding it up for the camera.....he obliged. I later regretted not remembering to tell him how much respect i had for him because he wore a "push-broom" mustache. I love people who just dont give a damn! Anyway, today was one of those days where you do an awful lot of running around and spend a lot of time on the phone, then look back on the day and there is not much to show for it. Tomorrow the landlord and I should sign the final lease. We have been operating for the month of July on a 30 day lease with an option for me to bail if need be with the security deposit to be paid back in full. I requested several things for him get done during that time and inserted that 30 day agreement to make sure he got those things done, and he has. I would have felt better about signing it today being the last day of July but the guys a pretty good guy and I'm not too worried about it. Finalized the signage at roughly $1700.00 bucks. That gets a 5* by 7* sign on the road and a 4* by 7* over the front of the building. Filled out a variance request to the ciy to extend the existing shed over the area the cooker will be in to the property line.......after doing so they informed me that the request would not be heard until the 2nd week in September! Thats almost 2 weeks after I plan to open and I wont even have permission to do the construction work on that side until then, let alone having it completed. It will be Oct. 1 before that is done, assuming they grant me permission. I'll figure something else out in the mean time........Ellis Bryan if you are reading this start saving me some leftover materials for me to build about a 20' long privacy fence to have during the time being. Ellis (Bryan Custom Built Fences) builds without question the finest custom fencing in Middle Tennessee......seriously! Tomorrow I'll be getting the business license at the courthouse and buying a Winston C-VAP cook & hold oven. This is what we'll use to hold the shoulders & brisket in after they have finished cooking on the cooker. We will bring in 2-3 shoulders at a time to have on hand during the rush. The rest will stay on the cooker until we need them. As we need them we'll just go out to the cooker, bring them in and put them in the cook & hold. Another way to do this if you ever need to at home is to just use a beer cooler. Just take your meat off, wrap it in a towel and place it in the cooler. It will keep for a few hours. There is a bunch of other crap that ill tell you about tomorrow. Please keep my wife and unborn baby in your prayers to the Lord above......very exciting but very stressful times right now. Thanks again to all who read and post messages, it really helps..............I'll post tomorrow with and update Lord willing.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Gotta Love go-go boots!!!

Music City Brewers Festival was a blast......made some great contacts, one of which is scheduled to be an off-site mini "grand opening" at a local brewery, maybe two local breweries. Weather was great, beer was great, crowd was great......very good day. Attached this pic with some cigar girls with go-go boots. Ball, Duggan, Jeff, Kieth & Myself with the girls. How bout' jeff hugging two hunnies. Gotta give the guy credit.........could'nt decide how to "sweeten his tea" so he went after both the white and the brown sugar to suit his taste.......God bless him! This week will be a busy week....should be signing the final lease tomorrow and starting on the demo and construction work. Should have an official open date at the end of this week.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Logo Design!

Well here it is..........after much toil, Katie "All-Star" Walker out of Louisville, KY got this design finished for me. She was SO patient with me through this process!!! I am very thankful and blessed to have had her as my graphic artist.....she really is an awsome talent! I am very, very happy with the design, its very exciting! this particular color scheme is what will be on the sign on the road and over the door. I really like the mustard-yellow background but really chose this color combo because of the visibility from the road. It should bring attention to itself. There will be other color combo's for the t-shirts, caps etc.. Will start work this week inside the joint. I will mainly be doing some demo work in there on a partition wall and some other minor stuff. If I can get all that done in time for the contractor to get in there and do what he's going to do that will be great! I am hoping the guy can make time for me week after next. Will be picking the cooker up on the 11th so ive got to get the exterior done by then at least! Had a great time today at the beer festival......ill post about that with a pic later on. I've been fretting about this design for a month so please feel free to post your opinions about the logo, especially the good ones!

Beer 1st......News 2nd

Have a lot to add, specifically the logo i have decided on in which I am very excited about! However, its not going to be until this afternoon that i add that because I'm headed down to the brew festival with some of the guys. Bryan, Michael, Jeff and some others are headed down there this afternoon. I know, I know......."but Pat, thought thats what you were doing last saturday". I thought it was too until we got to Bosco's and found out we were wrong on the date! No worries though, we all drank several beers at Bosco's and Tracy Jarrell once again had just a tad too much to drink........-SHOCKER!!! I'll post back this afternoon with the logo design, news from the bank and schedule of construction.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Life" is throwing me a hangin' curve......and im taking it yard!

This will be a short post because i am still trying to mentally digest what my lovely wife slammed my brain with last night............she is pregnant. We just had a little boy (named Wyatt) 8 1/2 months ago! We werent plannng on another little one (lord willing) until 2008. I am excited......but the financial pressure and stress that just got added to an already pressure filled pot is dang near overflowing! This bbq joint HAS GOT TO make $$$ way or the other. I may have to start selling small batch corn liquor on the side to get us over the top. In all honesty, we'll be alright. There are two types of men in the world, Alpha males and Beta males.......and I am a proud Alpha! When the pressure is on you either step up to the plate or you sit in the dugout and adjust your panties! not only will i step to the plate, i'm even going to point to the centerfield fence before the pitch!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Got a new domain name & Katie Walker is an All-Star!

Should meet with my loan officer tomorrow concerning the amount of the loan. Basically I am planning on asking for 40% of the loan to be deposited into my business account and the remaining 60% left as a line of credit. I have two meetings in the morning which should firm up what that amount will be. Tried to get "" but the marketing animals wanted too much $$$. They can stuff it up their ass! After typing in "www.martinsbar-b-que" a few times i realized that sucked, not to mention the carpal-tunnel one would get from typing it. So i called and switched the domain name from "" to "". I am much happier now and should sleep well tonight. The graphic design/logo should be done tomorrow. I was tempted to post the comp tonight but i wont, ill wait till ive decided because as we all know everyone has a different opinion! I am very, very happy with the work that has been done! Katie Walker (graphic artist) is a freakin' all-star!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Whew.......real busy monday & told Sprint to shuv it!

Let me start off by saying for no reason whatsoever I thought I would post a picture of this fish (mahi-mahi) we were bringing aboard down in Islamorada last year, its a cool pic.
All over the place today! I am right now taking a break from setting up "Quickbooks" accounting software......freakin' takes forever!!! My eyes feel like i just came out of frying pan. I should be done setting all this up in the next hour or so. I am scheduled for a tutorial program on August 8th for $350.00. The accounting side of things I understand completely, but all the quirks of the software will send you out to kill yourself, specifically the lists & set-up.
Got the domain name for the website. It is NOT the name i wanted. I wanted "" but it is already owned and get this, can not find the owner!!! Even customer support can't find them! If i can find the contact info i plan on trying to buy it from them but until then the web address will be "".
I also cancelled my Sprint account -Nextel has poisoned that company! If i could find some toilet paper out there with the Sprint/Nextel logo on it i would buy a years supply. Going to Cingular.....we'll see how they do for a while.
I am planning on selling my landscaping equipment to help pay for things. I will continue the commercial & residential maintenance (such as grass, mulch, chemicals etc.). Thats where the $$$ is anyway. I am going to put some new tires (cheap tires) on my bob-cat and sell it with the attachements (harley rake, auger, forks, bucket). should net an extra $20,000 or so for us to apply towards the bbq joint. I will probably add an additional man and mower for next year 2007 in its place in addition to what i have now.
Final financials and the A.B.C. application (beer permit) due tomorrow to Bancorp South and the city of Nolensville. I'll post tomorrow on that.......

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Award from!

A big thanks to for giving a "best blog in Tennessee" award. I am very, very flattered and could not have done it alone......thanks to all of you who have posted comments. Please go to the link posted below and read the commentary; very flattering because they usually do not give an award to any blogs that are as young as this one. Thanks!!!
I should be posting an additional blog later tonight or tomorrow in regards to the joint. I am about to head down to the Music City Brewfest in downtown Nashville for all you can drink beer from 37 different breweries. After that, I am grilling baja fish tacos tonight on the deck for my wife and friends. Talk to y'all directly!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Beer List

Not much to add today other than the beer list. Please post any and all comments/suggestions, especially any ladies that might read this post (wondering whether or not to carry smirnoff, bacardi, etc.). I was not planning on selling beer because the demographic for this area right now is lunch heavy. The city is expected to have 6000-7000 new residents in the next 24 months, so the demographic will evolve over that time and the dinner/weekend crowd should become larger. Nolensville currently has around 4500 residents liveing there now. Anyway, i probably wont make much $$$ selling it in the first year but figured i'd rather have it than not have it. Obviously wouldnt want "joe blow" and his family to decide to eat pizza instead of my place because ol' joe can't get beer at my place. Here it is:

Coors Light
Miller Light
Bud Light
High Life (The "Champaign" of beers)
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Falls City

Old Style
Dixie Beer
Blue Moon
Shiner Bock
Sam Adams

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

eGullet buddies.....thanks!!!

Wanted to say a quick thanks to all of my new friends at (particularly the southern food culture thread) - specifically those throwing some much needed support at me! I have really enjoyed reading, learning and doing a little posting on that site. Its one of the greatest sites out there! If you are reading this and have not been to eGullet, please give it a look!

Computer Meltdown

Well I havent posted in a day or two because my old Macintosh G4 computer decided it had had enough. Dang good machine, got almost 8 years out of it. Anyway I decided to just get a new computer (iMac w/intel pentium based chip), which WAS NOT in my budget for the joint. $1925.00.....right up the can. Dont get me wrong im excited about the new machine but its just another cost that is stressing me out.
The pic up above is my galactic salute to "Mothership BBQ" and its proprieter "Dr. Funkinswine" up in nashville. I used photobooth on the new mac to take this alien shot of myself.
Got some preliminary comps in from my graphic artist in Louisville, they look great. Should have a finished logo in the next couple of weeks. Met with the health department yesterday morning and had a great meeting, everythings a "go". Spoke with the city of Nolensville again today about extending that shed out 6.5' (ill post pics in a few days of what im talking about). The conversation went real well, meeting with them next wed. at 8:15 to finalize it. The guy talked like it wouldnt be a problem.....lets hope it ain't! Sending a check for almost $4000.00 to the guys manufacturing my pit for me, and that was only the 35% down payment. Should be ready to pick up on August 11th, just in time for me to drag it back to LP Field for the Aug. 12 - preseason Titans game! I'll post another tomorrow......i need for these little bad surprises to come to a dadgum halt!

Monday, July 17, 2006

sorry bastards.....

Dang I'm pissed. The co-packer that had agreed to bottle my sauces called me today to tell me that they didn't need my business; that my business would not be ordering enough from them...... This after I drove 150 miles round trip down to see the plant, go over the recipes, all that mess. This puts me in a pretty tight spot because now I've only got five weeks to find a new co-packer and get my first month's order done and delivered. Three or so weeks ago, the guy acted like I was Kraft foods placing an order; this morning he acts like I'm a zit on his ass. Why couldnt he have just told me that then instead of me driving all the way down there and wasting three weeks???

Monday 7/17

Computer crashed on Saturday afternoon, so I couldn't post yesterday. Hung out with Martha and Wyatt (wife & little boy) on Saturday and cooked a few slabs of ribs and a shoulder (pics to the left) with Ball, Lamb, Mark Bennet & Hickey. Met with the city engineer for the town of Nolensville this morning to request extending the roof of the side shed so my entire cooker can fit under the roof. Of course he is going to have to "examine" the circumstances (whatever that means). I am extending it 6.5', who gives a damn????? You would have thought I asked him to build a seperate building. Anyway, guy has been fairly nice thusfar, the town is growing faster than they can keep up so I understand the anal attitude. Poured concrete on Saturday in the side shed where I'll be doing the cooking (for the bbq). Ordering the cooker today, it is an ol' hickory model EL-EW; big ass pit! I am used to cooking on brick pits and off-set stick burners, but these are far more efficient. Can cook for 6-8 hours without adding new coals which enables me to get some sleep. Locked in on a food distributor, guy named Johnny Brown with a company called IWC. Should be buying the P.O.S. system and new computer this week some time. I am also hoping to finalize the loan this week. Still working through some break-even analysis to identify the amount needed. Thanks to all who have posted so far; a few I know and a couple I don't...which is very cool. The web has made this world a far smaller space!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Martin's Dixieland BBQ Joint opening blog

Ga-dang........don't even know what I'm doing with this here blog, but a good buddy suggested I do it so here it is...

My wife and I are opening a bbq joint in Nolensville, TN in about six weeks. The cooker was ordered this past week, poured some concrete yesterday, graphic artist is in full swing; too much going on to list. I'm excited, but I'd be lying if I told you I wasnt scared at ass is sinched up so tight you couldn't pull a greased string through it right now.

Why am I doing this? Was it a lifelong dream? Yes. But that is not enough to do something stupid like open up a business with a 80% failure rate. The fact is, I have been living around Nashville (with couple of short stints in Charlotte & Memphis) for going on thirteen years and have yet to have truly good bbq around the Nashville area (no offense to those affiliated with local places). I feel there is a need for real deal BBQ around here! Sure there are some places I'll go to when I get the need for some bbq, but it is never as good as the joints I cut my teeth on in places like Henderson & Lexington Tennessee; not even close! What makes those places so much better? Keep reading...

I have been cooking barbecue for a long time (close to twenty years). I polished my skills cooking whole hog in a small town in West Tennessee called Henderson. In Henderson, they cook whole hog only; in cinder block pits at very low temps (200*). Most places either cook it too high, not long enough, or (God forbid) with electricity, etc. Some cook it once or twice a week, freeze it and warm it up with a water & vinegar solution to add moisture back to it. Some people do that same process, and instead of the water & vinegar they mix it all up with sauce to cover it up. If you ever, EVER eat bbq that is already mixed with sauce...I guarantee your ass one of the following...either
that meat is older than you would care to know and saucing it up is the only way to hide that
they dont know how to cook, know this and need to cover it up in hopes that you don't figure it out!

Some even cook their meat in an oven and pass it off as bbq. That is unforgivable! You either want to cook barbecue or you dont; there ain't NO middle ground! So if you are going to do it, then do it right or don't do it at all. Have some damn pride and give credit to the long time-honored traditions of the method of barbecue by cooking your meat in line with tradition.
The traditions start with good meat, temperature, time, real wood and LOVE, baby! Let me start with the last one; you dont get into the bbq business to get rich. If you do it will show in the meat. You have to love it to do it. You got to have some passion for it. Are there folks who have made a lot of money out there without the love and barbecue only? Of course. But more often than not, they loved it and the money found them. Am I hoping the money finds me? You damn right. But if it doesn't, I still will have had a good time. The meat I'll be serving is all natural. These hogs (and cows) are not raised by some mass meat packer (such as IBP) pumping them up with steroids, pesticides etc... The meat I'll be serving is raised by hog farmers, chicken farmers and cattle farmers. Did you know these plants serve chicken crap to the cows & hogs and serve dead cows and hogs to the chickens? Think I'm kidding you? Pick up a copy of "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History" by Michael Pollan. Take a glance through that and you'll start thinking twice about buying industrial meat. I feel we all have a responsibility to our own bodies to know what we are putting in them and we also have a responsibility to support small to medium sized farmers, no matter if you are some fat country boy or some skinny hippie vegetarian. Those traditions continue with the process of barbecue itself, which means slow and low! I will be cooking whole shoulders and whole briskets. I will be cooking my meat between 210* and 225* for 20-22 hours.....EVERY NIGHT! None of this cooking once or twice a week and serving you crap with sauce slaw and a bun. When you eat my bbq it will be fresh. You will know that the sandwiches, ribs, chicken, whatever you are eating was being cooked all night long while you were asleep. It will have been cooked with a combination of seasoned hickory wood, oak and apple. The sauces will be made fresh in-house and are my recipes. These are recipes I've been tinkering with for well over a decade in my own kitchen and spending a lot of nights drinking cold beer around a pit with guys like Bryan Chandler, John McCall, Michael Blankinship, Eric Lamb, Chris Harris, Russ Wallace, Tracy Jarrell, Russ Hickey and Burt Williams. The slaw, beans, rubs...everything is my recipe. This joint will excel or fail dependant on my cooking style and recipes.
I plan on blogging daily if time permits. I am going to be pretty open and very blunt with my blog. You will read the exitement, the fear, the good and bad decisions I make, and eventually whether or not this joint succeeds or not. For those of you who one day consider opening a joint of your own, this should be a pretty good place for you to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Talk to you tomorrow, y'all be good and give thanks to the good Lord above.

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!