Martin's BBQ Joint comes to Morgantown - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Martin's BBQ Joint comes to Morgantown

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Artists rendering courtesy of Martin's BBQ Joint Facebook page Artists rendering courtesy of Martin's BBQ Joint Facebook page
Courtesy Martin's BBQ Joint Facebook page / Construction is underway at the Martin's BBQ Joint in Morgantown. Courtesy Martin's BBQ Joint Facebook page / Construction is underway at the Martin's BBQ Joint in Morgantown.
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By CYNTHIA McCLOUD

For The State Journal

MORGANTOWN — Tennessee barbecue is coming to Morgantown and serving up another opportunity for West Virginia University hospitality students to get hands-on training.

Owners of Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint hope to open by the end of this month, according to the restaurant's Facebook page.

Martin's is under construction in Suncrest Towne Centre off W.Va. 705. The original restaurant is located in Nolensville, Tenn., which is just outside of Nashville. The brand founder is Patrick Martin.

"We look for young entrepreneurs with phenomenal concepts and help them build those concepts," said Nancy McIntyre, of Fresh Hospitality Group, which owns this franchise location. "Patrick Martin's family have been barbecuers forever. He built his large store in Nolensville from the original family shack.

"We specialize in barbecue, and we'll have both the South Carolina barbecue, which is vinegar-based, and brisket. It's slow-roasted, really tender and delicious."

The restaurant has large smokers, and slow-roasts pork, chicken, turkey and beef.

Additionally, she said, "There's a display pit in our dining room. On Friday and Saturday nights, we'll do a whole hog in the dining room. We have big heat-proof gloves and when the hog is done, the chef opens the top and puts the meat on buns as people go by. It's entertaining. It's good family fun."

McIntyre said Martin's is fast-casual. Customers walk up and order, but there's dining-room service. The restaurant targets families and professionals, but everyone likes barbecue, she said. 

"We'll have beer and wine," McIntyre said. "We'll probably also have the southern whiskeys; this is a concept from Nashville."

McIntyre said the restaurants source locally — for workers and for ingredients.

"We have agriculture students working on our nutrition database and local sourcing," she said. "We're hoping to source most of our meat from the area. We believe in the farm-to-table movement."

Fresh Hospitality is based in Birmingham, Ala., but has connections to Morgantown through West Virginia University.

McIntyre is associate dean for research and outreach and associate professor of management at WVU's College of Business & Economics. Her husband teaches part-time at the dental school.

Two other principals in Fresh Hospitality are alumni: Doug Van Scoy earned a finance degree from B&E in 1966 and a graduate degree from WVU in 1968; J. Michael Bodnar is a 1969 B&E graduate. Van Scoy and Bodnar donated a restaurant to the business school in 2010. Taziki's Mediterranean Café operates in the WVU Mountainlair, with all net profits going to the business school's Hospitality & Tourism program.

"Our goal is to hire students out of the hospitality program," McIntyre said. "We use our Taziki's as a lab, and we plan to do the same with Martin's."

Martin's is expected to employ 40-50 people; Taziki's employs 30-40.

Now there is a Taziki's in Suncrest Towne Centre, as well. The manager of that store, Belinda Butler, will be a co-owner in the Morgantown Martin's venture and will manage the new restaurant.

McIntyre said the restaurants are one way Fresh Hospitality grows: by giving managers the opportunity to buy into the next restaurant the group opens.

Suncrest Towne Centre also has a Pies and Pints opening in March, says Nicole Sloane, a partner in the endeavor and owner of Naticakes, a sweets shop in the same development.

According to the developer's website, also coming to Suncrest Towne Centre are Cowboys & Angels Western Boots/Accessories & Apparel, Ntelos, Pro Performance Fitness, Retina Specialists PLLC, SunTan City and The Looking Glass Designer Eyewear Boutique.