Friday, February 23, 2007

Oh what to do.....

Not much to add....things are still rolling along. Ward Boone has come on board to work part time. That has enabled me to go home at night to be with Martha and my little man Wyatt (updated pic above). For a few hours here and there life feels "normal" again. I have been talking with the city about adding a deck or patio........LONG process! I hope/pray they'll let me do it. Every place needs that kind of atmosphere during the warm months but I'm also tired of folks asking me where they can smoke. We'll see how that turns out.
I'm eager to see how this weekend does. This week (so far) has been right in line with the last 4 weeks but I think word is getting around about the wait on friday and saturday nights.......which is good and bad, depending on how you look at it. It is a great site as an owner to see a line all the way to the door, and there are a ton of repeat customers but I would think that folks are only going to do that for so long. for the most part people have been real understanding and love/rave about the food......but that wait is still there! There have been a few that make comments about it..........but people see how fast/hard we're working on the orders and see all the people so they expect some wait but probably not that long. The waits have been averaging about 10 min. wait in line to order then about 10-15 before the food comes out. That wait (on fri/sat. nights) has been there pretty much since day one of operation. The problem is that I dont know how we can speed the orders up any more because the guys are working their cans off staring at 20-25 tickets for 3 hours straight. The size and capacity of our equipment is the problem. We've got a double fryer and a 30" * 30" griddle with 4 burners. What does that mean? That means to speed things up I need to double the size of all of that.....but I'm kind of stuck with it because of the limited amount of space the kitchen has to offer. John Nebble (johnathan's bar & grille) has a sheet metal guy for me to talk to about expanding the hood (vent unit) which might enable me to trade in for larger equipment......but I still run in to a sq. ft. problem and then that evil word that ensues all talks of addition rears its ugly head......CODES....which is a synonym for headache. So, I dont know what we're going to do. Yeah its a good problem to have and all that but I hate the inconvenience that my customers have to deal with to get food. I really can only pray that they keep thinking the food is good enough for that wait.......I guess all we can do is keep slingin' it out the door and let the chips fall where they may.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Ruminations & Please flush!

Biz is still rolling after the article by the Tennesseans food critic, Jim Meyers. I would say that it has increased by about 50-60%. There are a tremendous amount of people that just did not know I was there. This week I started seeking bids on extending the deck out in front to add several more tables. If the city allows me to build what I have in mind it will be really cool.....the kind of place you'd want to go park yourself for a bit to swill beer and eat. The health inspector came in last Wed. at 11:20......line was to the door and didnt have time to scramble (which is what they try to do anyway). We scored a 90, which is down from the 93 we got the 1st week we were open. The last bit here is a rant........about personal hygiene. The past 2-3 weeks we've had a rash of folks not flushing the commode, and I'm not talking about just yellow water. There have been 4 instances (1 in the womens room) when after the lunch or supper rush Marteen goes in to clean the bathroom and there it is, some guys butt-loaf floating in the toilet! Thats only the 4 we know telling how many more during the rush that customers have to flush themselves. I've never understood how people live with themselves like this, I mean good gracious clean yourself man! Vern was like "maybe they forgot"....there is no don't forget bodily functions in a few seconds........some of lifes best feelings and sensations are things either going in your body or going dont forget those in a few seconds! The fact is if you dont flush you are just a lazy ass "Manimal", a beast. Oh the "glory" of owning a restaurant they say......well let me tell you your "glory" ends when you realize you are standing over a toilet with a red rubber plunger trying to force some lazy beasts terd on down the line.....that "glory" comes to an abrupt end!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Been a bump in biz since the article came out. Since Saturday we've done almost double the daily biz that we normally do. We've run out of food by about 7:00 at night the past 3 nights we've been open. From what I've been told this generally happens after a positive review by a food critic. Biz is crazy for a few days/weeks then settles back down. I've been told that its a big deal that they even reviewed me this early in the game.......some places have been open for years and still havent been reviewed and we were covered in 3 1/2 months.......just cant relax and need to stay focused on putting out great "Q" and let the chips fall where they may. I know the guy (Jim Meyers, food critic) was just doing his job and could have written an article that was bad or good......but dad-gum I almost feel like I owe him a cut here for this increase in business! I'm just thankful he enjoyed the food and wrote a positive review. Hopefully this will keep on going and when it does settle down, average daily sales will be higher than before.
We've been tinkering in the kitchen trying to get ready for spring/summer. I'll have a spring/summer menu with all kinds of good stuff on it.....a lot of which will break the mold of a typical bbq joint but will still be based in the process of barbecue.......stay tuned. Getting more beers in next week. Ordered some specialty beers from a local distributor that will be a little lighter and reflect the upcoming changing season in a month or two. Still have the old stand in's but these will give some variety.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Tennessean Food Critic!!!!!!

Well today an article by the "Tennesseans" (newspaper) food critic came out. The article was a pretty positive article. The critics name is Jim Myers and apparently he came in to eat 2-3 times over the past few weeks. He wasnt fond of the sauce I serve saying it was too much like a Kansas City style sweet sauce that is becoming more and more popular on the BBQ circuit. I've pretty much had that same sauce recipe since 1991 going in to my junior year at Freed. Its just that my personal preference is a sweeter sauce. He also didnt like the brisket saying it was too done. I am almost sure he got what I refer to as the "toe" of the brisket which I am trying like hell to remind the guys to use that only for brisket tacos or chili because its always going to be a little dry. I've got to do a better job of cutting that piece off to be set aside before we even open up, because I'll put the rest of that brisket up against anybody around. The rest of the article was very complimentary. I have no regrets or apologies about the sauce because I'm serving what I personally like. I do regret not being more vigilant about that "toe" part of the brisket going out the the food critic or any other customer. All I can do is pick my game up a little bit and make sure that doesnt happen again. Read the article and come back here and post your comments, I'd be interested to know what you think.

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!