My granny, Jessie Stiner, hard at work in the kitchen at Couch's BBQ!
(one of my favorite pictures...Dad sitting at the counter. By the way, this counter still presides over the place in almost the same location...and I remember those floor tiles which didn't change till Dad remodeled several years ago.)
Dad worked for Will and Agnes through high school, and later bought the place from his aunt and uncle. A number of years ago, the building was remodeled, enlarged a bit, and a new updated kitchen installed.
But its still the small, family run business that its always been, with my Dad now at the helm, and my brother acting as assistant manager. And though new customers have found their way to its doors, there are still a lot of customers that have been coming here for decades. The restaurant is kind of hidden on the old highway that traveled from Cleveland, TN to Chattanooga. Before the interstate changed things, this was the route everyone traveled. Now its just a side road, and unless your lost or coming here specifically, as many do, you probably wouldn't ever find it. (see our truck and trailer in the background. Just enough room for us to squeeze in.)
There's a new extended menu, with more to appeal to the masses, but the traditional stuff is still the most popular. Its what people come for miles to get. There have even been some who have called from California and other locals wanting it shipped to them to satisfy their cravings.
My personal favorite....a BBQ sandwich with cole slaw.
Yummy....I'm getting hungry just looking at it!
I worked here in high school and college. It was a great place to spend my time, to learn responsibility, and I had a great boss too!
I always follow the sandwich up with a piece of pie. Dad makes the pies himself. Its a hard choice between coconut cream, or chocolate cream. This time Mom and I were going to split a piece of chocolate. I made the mistake of going to take a few pictures before the pie came, and when I returned, Mom told me I better order my own piece. She'd almost finished our "shared" piece. No problem...I wanted a whole one anyway.
In my excitement, I forgot to get a picture before I started eating it. Sorry for the missing bites! Up till a few years ago, all Dad's coke products were served in a bottle. They installed the machine for fountain drinks a few years ago, but they still order enough bottled drinks for those who might want one for old times sake.
We returned for dinner that night at which point I enjoyed a BBQ stuffed baked potato, a popular menu item that was laughingly named the "couch potato." I left the camera at home though, so you'll have to use your imagination. And, I'll guiltily admit, I took a piece of coconut cream pie home to enjoy later that evening. I know...two pieces of pie and its not even Christmas. But I only get this stuff a handful of times out of the year now! I have to stock up!
If your in the area I encourage you to look them up. Its well worth it. I know my opinion is biased, so do me and my Dad a favor. Stop somewhere in Cleveland or Ooltewah and ask if its worth going to. Chances are the person will know about Couch's and give you a raving revue. Its a little out of route, but well worth the extra miles and minutes.
Couch's BBQ is at
8307 Old Lee Highway in Ooltewah, TN
And this is totally unrelated, but too cute not to share. Sunday afternoon Dad thought he'd sit by the fire and enjoy a Little Debbie. He was suddenly the most popular person in the house!Sorry Dad! They do love you for more than just your food! I promise!