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Ott’s set to reopen in March


At 6:55 on Feb. 14, the Farragut Beer Board met at Town Hall and voted to give Ott’s Bar-B-Q an on/off premise beer permit.

Co-owners Bill Johnson and Joseph Michael “Mike” Masters plan to reopen Ott’s, at 12828 Kingston Pike, in March, pending any unforeseen circumstances.

“We look forward to serving East Tennessee again with Ott’s barbecue,” Masters said to members of the Beer Board.

“It was the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’ve been a customer there for 25 years and when they closed, it kind of hurt. So I decided they didn’t need to be closed, and I’ve been working with Mike on it for three years trying to get it back open and we’ve finally got there,” Johnson said.

“Ott’s was just, by far, the best I’ve ever eaten, and everybody else agrees with me, so that’s why it’s being reopened. It was a mainstay in Farragut and it needs to come back,” he added.

Ott’s closed in 2003. Owners Doug, David and Rick Frost closed Ott’s doors after inheriting the business from their parents, Carolyn and Richard. The restaurant was begun by the Frost boys’ grandparents, Ott(o) and Thelma Melott in 1963.

Ott’s was famous for its vinegar based barbecue sauce. Johnson and Masters have the original recipe and mean to recreate Ott’s as everyone remembers it.

“We’ve got the sauce; it’s there. It’s already being manufactured . . . and is ready to be distributed when we open,” Johnson said.

“Everything in Ott’s is going to be reproduced exactly as it was. The menu that we have is the same menu; we’re not adding anything to it. And the big question we always have is: are we going to run out of barbecue?

“You know, in those last five years, there would always be a pink sign on the door that said ‘No pork barbecue. Ham only.’ They didn’t have any; the boys there wouldn’t cook it. You know, it takes 12 hours to cook barbecue. So tell the public that there will be no more pink signs. There will be barbecue for everyone,” Johnson said.

“Actually we have one of those [pink signs] and it’s going to be framed and hung,” Masters said.

According to Masters, they’re rehanging football schedules along the walls. They’ve found the old schedules in newspaper archives and have passed them out to families and friends to sign and make to look authentic.

The new Ott’s building will seat about 36 people inside and will have an outside patio that will seat between 12 and 16 people. They’ll be open for lunch and dinner.

“Plus, Ott’s used to do, and I’m sure still will do, a tremendous catering business as well as a to-go business. People used to come in and buy five or 10 pounds and take it to the lake for the weekend,” Johnson said.

Masters told the Beer Board that he has opened 56 restaurants. He also announced a tentative March 15 opening date, pending fair weather conditions. According to Masters, the electrical and plumbing work is done and drywall is going up.

“We want to open as soon as we can. We’re wanting to open in March, but that depends on weather and other factors. We’re trying, and it’s looking better all the time,” Johnson said.

For more information, call Ott’s at 865-675-OTTS (6887).

 

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