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Ott’s to make comeback in Farragut

The ghost shell of the building that once housed Ott’s Barbecue off Kingston Pike could soon see new life and bring with it the barbecue that was a local favorite.

“We plan to re-open Ott’s Barbecue in the same building,” Mike Masters, one of the main partners in Ott’s Barbecue, LLC, said.

Masters said he and his brother-in-law, Bill Johnson, own 52 percent of the new Ott’s company, but they have 10 partners who would also have a share in the business.

“We have all the original recipes,” Masters said. “The former owners wouldn’t sell any of the recipes. We re-hired Mavis, who was there for eighteen years, and my brother is with P-F Chang’s China Bistro. We’ve had the original sauce analyzed and broken down, so we’ve duplicated the sauce.”

Masters said they have the recipe for smoking pork


“We did that Saturday for fourteen people and it was absolutely phenomenal,” he said.

The goal for the company, he said, is to eventually expand and franchise stores in different locations across the state. The first goal, however, is quality food and customer service.

“Our first goal is quality customer service,” Masters said. “Our second goal is keeping Ott’s exactly as it used to be. We’re retroing the building back to nineteen sixty-one.”

The building would look the way it did in 1961, Masters said, although the interior workings would be state-of-the-art


“One of the extra things we’re going to be adding is a pavilion behind the building for church events,” he said. “Nothing will be added to the menu except hot dogs. I have two young kids who don’t like barbecue, so we’re calling them Ott’s Dogs.”

The building will have a drive-thru window and the food would still be served in Reynold’s Wrap.

“Nothing else changes,” he said. “We want to have the same mentality. Why fix something that’s not broke.”

Masters said he and his partners have been working on the idea of re-creating Ott’s for some time.

“I’m originally from Farragut, grew up here,” Masters said. “Everybody from here knows that Ott’s is an institution.”

Masters said he and his wife moved back here from Atlanta and discovered the Farragut landmark had closed its doors in 2003. He said he had the idea one night to see if former owners Rick, Doug and David Frost had registered the Ott’s corporate name. They had not, so Masters said he purchased the rights to the name Ott’s using several different variations.

Alan Sharp, one of the 10 partners in the business, said he liked the concept and wanted to come on board with the plan to re-develop Ott’s.

“I’ve been coming to Knoxville for what seems like most of my life,” he said. “While I didn’t live here, I’ve always heard the name Ott’s Barbecue. A chance to revive a standing institution in this area was very appealing to me. It seemed like a good opportunity.”

The property would still remain in the hands of current owner R. Knick Myers of Myers Brothers Holdings, and Masters would have a long-term lease.

“I’m excited Ott’s is coming back to Farragut,” Myers said. “I think it’s a great thing for the community.”

Knoxville resident Leslie Anderson said she has some fond memories of Ott’s


“They had this wonderful hot ham that my Dad loved, and when he would take me to Knoxville to see the orthodontist we would often stop at Ott’s on the way home,” she said.

Patrick McCabe of Farragut shared a few of his memories of Ott’s.

“Ott's barbecue was the summertime destination for everyteenager with wheels and countless families from all over Knox County as they made their way to Dixie Lee Junction for fireworks,” he said. “A trip to Ott's was a right of passage at my house when granted a seat in the way-back of the stationwagon by my two older brothers, headed west for the required summertime material. Living in a Bearden neighborhood rampant with rambunctious, hungry boys, several trips were made throughout the season by various families with only the lucky ones aboard.

“Ott's was more than barbecue, it was a state of mind that you entered as your tires hit the gravel parking lot,” he added. “In the afternoon following a very busy lunch time, hand-written signage on the door would often read ‘No Ham, Just Pork.’ You just had to be there. It was an area institution.”

Masters said he anticipates breaking ground on the project by May 31 and opening the business by the end of July.


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