Martin’s Bar-B-Que expands to Spring Hill, Hugh Baby’s to East Nashville
Martin said opening in Spring Hill was “an obvious next transition” for the restaurant, which specializes in West Tennessee-style whole hog barbecue and scratch-made sides made fresh each morning from family recipes. The Martin’s menu includes barbecue sandwiches, barbecue plates, ribs, wings and more. Hogs from Fatback Farms go on the restaurant’s pits each day for the following day.
Since its launch in 2006, Martin’s has earned countless accolades, including being named one of the best new barbecue spots in America by Bon Appetit magazine. In 2014 Martin was invited to cook the annual barbecue dinner at the esteemed James Beard House in New York.
“There are a lot of people that work in Nashville that live in Franklin and Spring Hill that eat at Belmont (Martin’s Bar-B-Que),” Martin said. “When those people go home, they’re not really eating with me because the closest one they have to get to is Nolensville.”
“I’m not ever going to do anything that I’m not.”
Restaurateur/pitmaster Pat Martin
Martin said the Spring Hill restaurant is slated to open in the third or fourth quarter. He said it will be similar in size and feel to the Belmont Boulevard location and will have a nice outdoor seating area.
“I’m not ever going to do anything that I’m not,” Martin said. “We have two whole hog pits there, it’s got a good bar. Martin’s is a family-centric restaurant — my alcohol sales are less than 5 percent — and that’s exactly the way I like it to be,” Martin said.
An entirely different project on tap for Martin is growing his fast-food burger joint, Hugh Baby’s. The restaurant named after his great-uncle opened its first small outpost in 2015 on the West Virginia University campus in partnership with Fresh Hospitality.
“It’s been great R&D, almost a lab,” Martin said. “It enabled us to go through and work out the menu, our kinks, operations, prep, labor model, and we were able to do it without it costing us much money.”
Martin described Hugh Baby’s as an old-school hamburger joint with a focus on quality. The simple menu includes hamburgers, cheeseburgers, slugburgers (a burger popular during the Depression era that combines meat with an extender such as flour or meal), Memphis-style barbecue sandwiches with Memphis-style slaw and sauce, fries and shakes.
“The one thing that is similar to Martin’s is we cook fresh every day and when we’re out, we’re out. We’re grinding the burger meat every day and everything is uber fresh, but it’s not complicated,” Martin said, adding that Hugh Baby’s is a far cry from the chef-driven burger concepts opening across Nashville with fancy toppings such as arugula and sprouts.
Hugh Baby’s will serve simple biscuit sandwiches for breakfast using a proprietary sausage blend.
“It’s just old school, get your stuff and go to work, blue-collar breakfast,” Martin said.
The restaurant planned for 4816 Charlotte Ave. in the former Porter Road Butcher building will have about 50 to 60 seats and a patio with a kids play area. It’s slated to open in May or June.
A Hugh Baby’s location also is in the works at Fresh Hospitality’s redevelopment of the Hunters Custom Automotive buildings in East Nashville. Martin said that restaurant will open near the end of the year.
Martin said he’s not sure whether Hugh Baby’s will have alcohol sales.
Martin said Hugh Baby’s was inspired in part by a burger joint in Henderson, Tenn., that serves whole hog barbecue sandwiches and hamburgers and an eatery specializing in slugburgers in his hometown, Corinth, Miss., called White Trolley Cafe.
“Nobody (locally) is doing slugburgers, and I’m proud of them,” Martin said.