Martin's Celebrates 10 Years this October


It was exactly ten years ago on October 16th, 2006 that we opened the doors to the first ever Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint. There have been barrels of laughs, clouds of smoke, and countless memories since those early days in Nolensville, and we're real dang thankful for all of it - and for everyone whose lent a hand along the way. 

Seeing as it's been a decade since we began this adventure, we figured it would be good to share a little of the story of how we started on this crazy ride. 

And if you haven't done so yet - go add your name to list for a chance to win in our Birthday Giveaway!

The old original sign can now be spotted in the beer garden of the new spot in downtown Nashville. 

The old original sign can now be spotted in the beer garden of the new spot in downtown Nashville. 


Pat Martin was running a landscaping business at the time when an employee wrecked the truck carrying all his mowers - totaling the equipment needed for his business. Not knowing what to do, he went to have some lunch at the old El Texano Mexican restaurant on the very day that it permanently shut its doors. It was then that the idea struck like a bold of lightning and almost instantly, Pat planted his flag and offered to take over the spot. Coupled with the insurance money from his totaled landscaping equipment, he and his wife Martha put up their home for collateral to gain a line of credit from the bank and immediately got to work on the build-out for what would eventually become the first Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint.  

We had been married for only a year and a half, I had an eleven month-old and I was three months pregnant with my second. Patrick just called me up one day and said, ‘Baby- we’re gonna open a BBQ restaurant.’ I said ‘Oh great. Well do you think either one of us should have ever WORKED in a restaurant before?’ And he said ‘Oh Martha, I waited tables in college.’
— Martha Ann Martin, Pat Martin's wife

With lots of faith, goodwill, grit and determination, Pat opened the doors to his first barbecue joint and just figured it out. The first day was a complete sell-out - one of many that would come. 

In those early days, the landlord of the original Nolensville BBQ joint wouldn't allow Pat to build and install his own hog-sized smoker on site. The "Old Hickory" smoker that he did have on premise could only accommodate supplementals like ribs and pork shoulders -- not the whole hogs that were a key to the style of BBQ that Pat grew up with. Undeterred and most definitely not defeated, Pat would just rent out a big ol' smoker from a neighbor down the road and made it work. 

Because of the small size of that old place and very limited space restrictions, the menu back then was a lot more sparse than the menu we all know today: there was no fried catfish, not a salad in sight, and the Redneck Taco hadn't even come into existence. In fact, our Redneck Taco was actually created by Bo, one of many long-time employees, who got tired of eating the same BBQ sandwich every day. He wanted something different - so why not throw some smoked n' pulled pork on a hoe-cake with some slaw and sauce? It was delicious...and ten years later it's one of our top-selling menu items. 

They basically sold pulled pork sandwiches back then. They would sell out of everything by like 5:00 in the afternoon and the staff would just shut the doors and go home.
— Chris Kizer, Director of Operations, Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint

The word about Martin's Bar-B-Que was starting to spread far and wide and that meant Pat and his staff were working pretty much around the clock to keep up with demand. It was a family affair and even Pat's friends were lending a hand to help keep up with the demand that was quickly growing.

In the early days his father would wash dishes, I would run food and his mom would go around our in the parking lot telling people we were out of food. This went on for a while. Even my brother would come in on his lunch break from work and Patrick would get him to run the cash register. If friends came by to eat, they ended up running food.
— Martha Ann Martin

Fortunately, after about 3 years, we found a new, more spacious home right across the street from the original spot and made the move in March of 2010. With a larger kitchen, an in-house hog pit and plenty of seating for guests, the smoke began to clear and Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint really started to put some roots down. 

Martin's opened their second location in Mt. Juliet in late 2013, the Belmont location followed shortly after in March of 2014, and our biggest and baddest Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint yet opened in downtown Nashville in August of 2016.

We're still dumbfounded by the support that all of you have shown us throughout the past ten years, and we're endlessly grateful for it. Make no mistake -  y'all are the reason we're here today and we couldn't have done it without you. The road that got us to where we are today was nothin' close to easy, but we wouldn't have wanted it any other way - and we're just so daggum glad to be where we are now.

As a small token of our appreciation, this October we're giving you the gifts to celebrate our 10th birthday. We'll be giving out ten $100 gift cards to show our gratitude for a decade of good barbecue and even better memories.

Click for details on our 10th Birthday Giveaway

Pat Martin chatting up guests on the porch of the original Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville, TN

Pat Martin chatting up guests on the porch of the original Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville, TN

Maddie Adams