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BBQ spots

Indulge Yourself: Eat at These Barbecue Spots Near Manchester


Though the city is more than 250 miles from Memphis, Tennessee’s hotspot for everything barbecued, Manchester and its surrounds are home to numerous barbecue spots serving up on-site hickory-smoked barbecue and the classic barbecue sides such as coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans. Check out one of these delectable barbecue restaurants in Manchester, Tullahoma or Winchester, some of which have won several notable awards for their smoked meat. If you are looking for food for your next family party, company event or summer holiday, each of these barbecue restaurants also offers catering.

John T’s BBQ | 115 1st Ave. NE, Winchester


Located across from the courthouse in picturesque downtown Winchester, John T’s BBQ greets customers with the smell of barbecue as soon as they walk in the door. In fact, the current owner says that before purchasing John T’s she “smelled the barbecue and absolutely fell in love with it.” Decorated with countless vintage collectibles and antiques, the restaurant features most of its original floors and architecture dating back to when it was built in 1875. Voted Franklin County’s Finest BBQ in 2017, John T’s serves hickory-smoked pulled pork, ribs and brisket, all smoked on-site in homemade rubs and sauces, alongside other scratch-made side dishes and Southern specialties hailing from family recipes. Among John T’s most popular dishes and sides are hand-battered fried green tomatoes, hand-breaded chicken tenders or catfish, and the Tennessee Taters, large baked potatoes stuffed with a generous portion of barbecue, brisket, bacon or chicken. For dessert, diners can enjoy homemade banana pudding or brownies in a pint jar or fried Moon Pies. For those looking for a quicker meal, John T’s beautiful sunlit front room will soon feature a bar and be the perfect place to grab a quick appetizer and a draft beer. After dinner, be sure to check out the Oldham, a 67-year-old movie theater located next door that still shows today’s biggest movies.


John T’s has rooms available for renting, in addition to a banquet hall that overlooks downtown Winchester. The restaurant also caters but does not deliver.

Piggy’s Place Bar-b-que | 112 N. Anderson St., Tullahoma


A family-owned and -operated restaurant located in Tullahoma, Piggy’s Place is marked by a large pink pig that designated the entrance to this small-town barbecue joint. Piggy’s Place serves on-site hickory-smoked barbecue, treated with in-house rubs and sauces and no preservatives. The current owner, who has worked at the restaurant since 2002, says that Piggy’s Place specializes in Southern home-cooking with “nothin’ fancy to it.” In addition to barbecue and the classic barbecue side dishes, Piggy’s Place serves a special each day of the week, including chicken and dumplings or meatloaf. For dessert, guests can delight in the restaurant’s scratch-made cakes and pies, such as Italian crème and German chocolate cake, or chess and chocolate meringue pie.


Piggy’s Place appreciates the sacred nature of family events and functions in the South, and is happy to cater locally. The restaurant also sells “family packs” of barbecue and whole cakes or pies, which require a 24-hour notice.


Porky’s Pit BBQ | 402 McMinnville Hwy., Manchester


A short drive from I-24, Porky’s Pit is located in a quaint red building, with both a walk-up window and a drive-thru for diners to purchase hickory-smoked barbecue, beef brisket and turkey breast. Diners can enjoy their meal on the shaded picnic table area outside of Porky’s Pit, decorated with flowers and pig string lights, or take their food to go. Porky’s Pit offers a pork sandwich special with chips and a medium drink for $5.26, and chocolate chip cookies, pecan pie and lemon meringue pie follow for dessert.


Porky’s Pit also sells family packs and half-family packs that can feed five or two, respectively. During the holiday season, the restaurant sells smoked turkeys for your Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts. Porky’s Pit does not accept credit or debit cards.

Prater’s Bar-B-Que & Catering | 620 Woodbury Hwy, Manchester


With an original restaurant that opened in Morrison, Tenn. 23 years ago, Prater’s Bar-B-Que has been operating out of Manchester since 2013. In addition to being recognized as the oldest vendor at the Bonnaroo Music + Arts Festival and being voted as the #1 thing to do at the festival by Rolling Stone, Prater’s has been the recipient of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s “Small Business of the Year” award, the winner of the BBQ cook-off at Musictree Fest, and the winner of numerous other awards and contests. In addition to its barbecue pork, brisket and baby back ribs, the restaurant sells wings, salads, seafood, specialty sandwiches, stuffed baked potatoes, burgers, hand-breaded chicken tenders and ribeye steaks. From the beginning of the summer until October, Prater’s features live music outside on Friday and Saturday nights, which can be enjoyed with a draft beer on the back patio. Prater’s also offers a garden salad bar, a daily lunch special, and a barbecue buffet at dinner on Friday and Saturday, and at lunch during the week and on Sunday. Prater’s is a family-owned business, and owner and founder Gary Prater is a certified Kansas City Barbeque Society judge.


Prater’s also provides to-go orders for anyone in a hurry and caters for “small gatherings to party receptions to large corporate gatherings.”

Route 55 BBQ & Catering | 415 Wilson Ave., Tullahoma


Located in a small, white building in Tullahoma, with both indoor seating and outdoor picnic tables available, Route 55 BBQ sells “real hickory smoked Tennessee bar-b-que.” In addition to hand-pulled pork, pulled smoked chicken, baby back ribs, and slow-smoked beef brisket plates, Route 55 serves barbecue sandwiches, loaded barbecue nachos, stuffed baked potatoes, smoked wings and “Kendall’s Best,” a sampler platter of pulled pork, chicken, beef brisket and a riblet of baby backs. For dessert, diners can order a homemade fried pie, “just like granny used to make.” Route 55 also sells hand-pulled barbecue by the pound, family packs and a plate lunch special every day, including a $5 meal on Fridays that includes a pork sandwich, chips and a drink. On Saturdays, Route 55 sells hot Boston butts for $30 and caters locally.

Whitt’s Barbecue | 715 NW Atlantic St., Tullahoma


Voted “Middle Tennessee’s Best Barbecue” in The Tennessean and the “Best of Nashville” in the Nashville Scene every year since 1988, Whitt’s Barbecue is a family-owned barbecue restaurant franchise with locations across the state of Tennessee. The Tullahoma location offers drive-thru service in addition to a walk-up counter and indoor dining area, where diners can enjoy slow-cooked, hickory-smoked barbecue. Whitt’s also makes many of its sides and sauces in-house— consumed ideally next to a Whitt’s barbecue sandwich, smoked chicken or a barbecue stuffed potato. On Wednesdays, Whitt’s has a pork sandwich special for $1.85.


Whitt’s also sells family pack and picnic pack meals and fulfills large catering orders.