So I heard this a lot last week and in a last night conversation with friends. Why do you run out? First statement, I am not better than any other establishment here. Let’s start by saying that I like to say “above average” and just different for those who appreciate it. And let me say I was adequately warned by multiple peers before I opened here in Cookeville that this area of Tennessee isn’t BBQ Centric and customers will not understand fresh smoked goods selling out – I will be bankrupt and officially broke within a year.
While a normal restaurant can cook a chicken parmesan, burger, or steak in 15-20 minutes, true BBQ, when authentic, takes 24-48 hours – to order meats, season in a dry brine, and smoke 12-18 hours. In addition, in order to pay homage to authentic traditional methods of True-cue BBQ – that is without putting an off-taste because of use of gas or electricity to “smoke” meats, it is impossible to guess 24-48 hours in advance not only how many customers you will have but then guessing what they are in the mood to eat. Below is a chart of just four of my dinner plates and the guessing game I face if I want to provide the highest quality smoked meats;
While we are still just five months old and still experiencing growing pains of providing top notch service standards before our grand opening (whenever that will be! :), I admit, this is all remedied by a microwave, steaming, or reheating leftovers to ensure one always has unlimited supply of BBQ. But…I have my convictions to standards I am not going to become that kind of place. This I refuse just as Franklin BBQ in Austin or Martin’s BBQ located throughout Nashville, TN; we are committed to authentic BBQ. Here is another joint opened in the United Kingdom who also struggles just like myself and Martin’s BBQ does in areas unfamiliar with genuine bbq – click here for their statement. My only sins are that while I toast, roast, and blend my own spices, rubs, sauces, and smoke everything in-house, we don’t make our own potato salad, mac & cheese, and the chicken strips are frozen because that is not our specialty. It’s for kids. And the pulled pork for sandwiches and the brisket tacos…that is left over meats from the day before. No lie. For those unfamiliar with the restaurant business, it is why they are the cheaper dishes on the menu but it is also why we don’t take short-cuts for our premium cuts here to guarantee you the highest graded meats possible when you spend that kind of money. We therefore proudly sell out to guarantee freshness. If you don’t like authentic methods of BBQ, you will not be happy here honestly. We will be perceived as too expensive and you will be disappointed when we sell out. One mistake I have made is that I created other dishes that were complimentary in quality to Ribs & Brisket like Pecan Crusted Salmon or Bourbon glazed Pork Chops, etc. to make it up to the customer to have another nice dish. But as one friend that finally agreed with me he didn’t want microwaved brisket that came in frozen off the truck, said it would be better to have something cheap on the menu like a burger so there is a backup plan for something familiar yet inexpensive when you are disappointed Brisket or Ribs are sold out. Or have more Brisket tacos at night. So this is a very good point I am considering. Another problem, most all true joints are counter service like http://www.greenstreetmeats.com and Franklin BBQ above in video because there is a direct connection between what meat is left and the customer. But having a sit down waiter service here has been such a headache for both customer and service staff running back and forth to communicate “86” or “Sold Out”. That has been a pain for all and I am sorry for that. Thus while our new computer system is only weeks away finally to help track this, I am also considering tickets at the front door of all the servings of meats that I have smoked that day, that you as a customer can grab and claim your portion before you sit down so you don’t sit there forever and find out we are out. That is a true bummer but this should 86 that issue!
So here’s a toast to True-cue BBQ because there are very few of us left in America and hopefully while Franklin BBQ does amazing stuff and serves twice as many customers as I do, it is my goal to eventually be one of the best joints in the country to bring tourist, economic development, and jobs to Cookeville, TN. I will do my best for our Upper Cumberland community. That is my promise. And if you come and I am sold out, know I am considering other menu options that are satisfying but can be cooked within 20 minutes. Until then, just come to the West Side to support locally owned small businesses because when I sell out, we have amazing and fun restaurants like Seven Senses across the street, Crawdaddy’s next door, and the best pizza in town, World Foods, and the best burger in town, Father Tom’s Pub, and some really nice brews like Red Silo and Hix Farm and the best donuts. You just can’t go wrong coming here. 🙂