The Memphis in May barbecue competition typically is a fun way for friends to enjoy the summer festival and show off a little bit of their home-grown barbecue skills. But for Paul Johnson and Ed Smith, participation in this tradition led to what became a Nashville-based catering company and two restaurant locations.
B&C Melrose BBQ serves Nashville from both the Farmer’s Market and its Melrose location, and business is expanding as the locations, and their menus, are becoming increasingly well known around town.
As with a lot of local restaurant owners, both Johnson and Smith began their careers in the corporate arena, but quickly tired of the “rat race” and began to look elsewhere to satisfy their entrepreneurial urges. As friends encouraged their culinary talents following their participation in the Memphis festival, the idea for a business quickly came to fruition and the two opened their catering company, Bacon & Caviar, in 2005. Their services were a hit for office lunches, weddings, house parties and other local events, and according to Johnson, catering the Nashville CARES’ annual Artrageous event really “put us on the map.”
As the business expanded, the B&C Market BBQ, located in the downtown Farmer’s Market, opened in 2008. Their catering company was moved to this location, and the new restaurant in the market was the perfect outlet to reach out to a large lunchtime crowd.
“Our goal was to provide down-home Southern food with an upscale twist for the catering business, and then to target local patrons at the Market location,” said Johnson.
Business has been booming on all fronts, and now B&C has opened a new location, Melrose BBQ, to add a brand-new dimension to its existing repertoire.
It’s also a really short commute for the owners, who live just a couple of blocks away.
“We like being in the neighborhood and having new things to offer our loyal customers who are also our neighbors,” Johnson said.
Extended hours, a spacious and relaxing patio, an appetizer menu and beer, along with the new 50-cent wing night on Mondays, are all additions that they were not previously able to offer at the market location. And with a neighborhood feel and an inviting atmosphere, Melrose is quickly becoming a local staple.
The Farmer’s Market, along with B&C’s outpost there, was greatly damaged by the flood last month, and that location will be closed for a few months as cleanup and repair operations are undertaken. Johnson said their first priority is to re-locate their employees to the Melrose restaurant, which is now their catering headquarters and only physical location.
Very committed to the well being of their staff, he and Smith say they plan to make the necessary changes to accommodate their needs in the short term, and as soon as the market location opens again, proceed with growing the business both at the Melrose location and perhaps other neighborhoods around the Nashville area.
Voted one of the “10 Best New Patios” by the Tennessean, B&C Melrose BBQ is certainly a place to visit for fantastic barbecue and a relaxing, fun atmosphere. Whether it’s to enjoy some southern cooking or relax with a beer to watch a game on the patio (or perhaps both), Melrose is a place to visit this summer.
Visit the restaurant/catering company at 112 Franklin Pike, and check out www.baconandcaviar.com for more information.