Road Trip Eats: Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
It's no secret that we love our BBQ. Any time anyone in the family takes a trip, we'll likely go off the beaten path to try a spot we've read or heard about somewhere. Our recent trip to Nasvhille was no exception. We gave Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint a try in Nolensville, TN and it was worth the extra 20 minutes off I-24.
Martin's is a relatively new establishment in the world of BBQ, opening in 2006. With three locations in the Nashville area, another in Morgantown, WV, and a solid catering business, it's safe to say people really dig their 'que. Their location in Nolensville is newer, but when you walk inside it has all the characteristics of an old-fashioned BBQ joint. Decorations like old license plates, Coca-Cola signs, and country music portraits cover the walls. You walk up and order at the counter and the line runs quickly, making it an ideal lunch spot.
However, Martin's still felt different than many older BBQ establishments. The clientele was relatively young, the staff was even younger, and despite the old-school decorations it still felt very hip. Maybe it's the craft beer on tap, maybe it's the overall cleanliness of the place....you can't quite put your finger on it. Until you open up the menu and see this isn't a typical BBQ joint. This place puts a twist on some old favorites. Example? The redneck taco, pictured below.
Spoiler alert: this was the best part of our entire lunch. We'll get to the traditional BBQ offerings in a second, but first we need to talk about this. This is BBQ on top of their cornbread hoe-cake topped with slaw and sauce. You can choose between pork (our choice), brisket, sausage, chicken, turkey or catfish. That sounds like the perfect combination of traditional and modern to us. It was incredibly delicious. If we lived anywhere close to Nasvhille this would be on our weekly lunch rotation, no doubt.
Let's get to the platter of offerings below. Pictured left to right and clockwise, we've got the cornbread hoe-cake, ribs (served wet or dry, your choice), mac & cheese, brisket, baked beans, and pulled pork. All of this was very good, but nothing quite blew us away like the redneck taco. All of it was great BBQ but we've had comparable items in other states (and at home). However, we do firmly believe a BBQ restaurant must have strong sides. Their mac & cheese was traditional and tasty, while their baked beans perfectly balanced sweet and vinegary. One item we missed out on was their whole hog BBQ, a Tennessee speciality. But hey, even we can only eat so much BBQ per meal.
Another example of a restaurant after our own hearts, they had plenty of sauce offerings. They brought them out, explained them all to us, what they are usually paired with, and if we should be careful in trying any of them. Another great part of the atmosphere was great service. All the staff took pride in the food and they could tell we were trying it for the first time. Did taking pictures of every piece of food give us away? Maybe, but it got us plenty of attention and help.
Overall, this was a fabulous experience and we would absolutely go again. The line to order moved quickly, service was excellent, the beer list was long, and the food was delicious. It's a very large restaurant so seating wasn't a problem, making it perfect for a quick lunch or a great place to hang out on a Friday night with a large group. The menu is larger than most BBQ restaurants, with traditional offerings but also a kids menu, burgers, wings, and that mouth-watering redneck taco. We would venture to say that everyone will love this place, old and young, traditional or modern. That's what BBQ is all about, bridging generational gaps and bringing people togeher.