Posted on 21. Oct, 2010 by in All.

My visit to Sweet P’s BBQ- seen on Man v. Food

To those who know me it is no surprise that I love food.  At times I can be picky, making sure the restaurants I visit are good and unique.  The older I get the less likely I enjoy eating at National Chains and enjoy finding local cuisines to try.  I probably obtained this trait from my father who is known to “walk a country mile” to find a place he wants to eat in.

The last couple of years I have even started to watch programs on TV dedicated to food across the country, trying to learn what types of places are available to dine at.  Occasionally I will write down the place in case I am ever visiting the city they are showing.  Last week’s Man vs. Food show on the Travel Channel could not have been more perfect timing.

Man vs. Food is a 30 minute show where host Adam Richman picks a city in the country that has a unique “food challenge.”  He typically visits a few establishments in town before finishing at the restaurant that offers the challenge.  On this given day, Richman was in Knoxville, Tennessee taking the “El Gigante Comida” Challenge at Sweet P’s BBQ.

This particular challenge appealed to me not because of the food, but because of the location.  Several days later my buddy Dan and I would be driving through Knoxville in route to meet our friends Lenny and Mark in Northern Georgia for a weekend of hiking and relaxation.  Knowing Dan also likes a challenge, I assumed he would have no problems stopping for a bit to eat.

The “El Gigante Comida” included a four pound burrito loaded with pulled pork, cheese, cole slaw and sauce.  There was also a half a pound of macaroni and cheese and a half of pound of banana pudding on the side.  The downfall of this challenge, which was one of the reasons we decided against it, was the cost of $40.  If you finished the entire thing alone in less than one hour, which only two have done, you were refunded your money and given a T Shirt and poster.

Dan and I arrived at Sweet P’s for lunch and were greeted with a healthy size line at the counter to order.  Figuring this was due to the fact of the show airing days earlier we patiently waited.  My heart sunk when I heard the owner behind the counter say that they were out of banana pudding, something Dan and I were really looking forward to.

I settled on a BBQ plate, consisting of pulled chicken, cole slaw and mac and cheese.  Dan got the same plate, but subbed the cole slaw for collard greens.  We sat at a high top table and enjoyed our lunch as live music was being played inside.

After finishing our meal, Dan and I went outside to take a few pictures of the place, as I knew I wanted to write about it on this blog.  Outside was the restaurant owner Chris Ford attending to the large grill that was cooking some fresh pork for the next business day.  We casually walked up to him to thank him for a great meal and ask a few questions.

Ford began to tell us that business had “quadrupled in the few days since the show aired.”  He said he figured he would see a small spike, but he and his small staff were not prepared for the actual rush.  He added that they would have to close four hours early this day because they were out of food and couldn’t get any more ready for that day.

Once a year the restaurant holds a small festival, bringing in a few small country bands to perform at the restaurant for the weekend.  Being a former musician himself, this was Ford’s favorite time of year.  In conjunction, they have a banana pudding eating contest for the patrons to have fun with.  This video was spotted on Youtube by the Man vs. Food show producers and they called Sweet P’s to see if they did any other types of challenges.  “I told them I just started a burrito eating contest and they freaked out with excitement,” Ford told me.  “Next thing I knew they were setting up dates to come out and film for the show.”

Outside of the spike in visitors stopping by to grab a bite at Sweet P’s, Ford told me his internet traffic and inquiry phone calls have severely picked up.  He has no idea how long the rush and craze will last, but gladly welcomes the spike.

Dan and I told Ford that we had visited from out of town and would never have know about the place without watching the show.  He seemed a bit shocked that people would actually come from so far away, but we assured him that interest will bring people there.

I can honestly say I was very happy to be able to visit Sweet P’s BBQ.  Even if the food had been bad, which it clearly wasn’t, I had a great time talking to the owner outside and learning more about how things had gone.  My advice to you is to try places that you see on TV, they usually know what they are talking about!

The Wood fired grill outside that cooks all the meat

Menu Chalkboard

Long Line at the counter

A Look at the eating area

Poster showing the challenge

My BBQ Plate

My buddy Dan eating his BBQ Plate

A look inside the grill

Fresh Pork

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