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Buddy's Story

Buddy's Family

Mission Statement

The Buddy’s Family operates with our original philosophy of treating customers as if they were guests in our own home. We serve delicious, always-fresh food at a real value with good ole Southern hospitality. Come on Home to Buddy’s!

Buddy Smothers’ wife LaMuriel really started it all.

LaMuriel and Buddy, founders of Buddy's Bar-B-QIn 1966 Buddy invested in his wife’s energy and talent by helping her become the owner of her first restaurant, the Pixie Drive Inn in Seymour, Tennessee. She hired their cook, Hettie Guffey, to help out. Soon, LaMuriel and Hettie were cooking up a storm.

People would drive for hours for their country buffet, and business doubled in a year. LaMuriel and Buddy decided it was time to find their specialty, and barbecue from back home in Alabama was what they were craving. They just couldn’t find the barbecue that suited their taste. So they created their own. Buddy quit the finance business and joined LaMuriel in her new-found barbecue ambitions.

With the help of their customers, they perfected the taste that would define Buddy’s. Everything was a Buddy’s original, including LaMuriel’s lemon ice box pie.

The first store with the Buddy’s name opened in 1972 at 5806 Kingston Pike in West Knoxville.Original Buddy's Bar-B-Q building

When Dinah Shore stopped by and sampled Buddy’s delicious hushpuppies, she just had to have the recipe for her cookbook. The house was packed on Friday nights to hear bluegrass bands like Ricky Skaggs and the Knoxville Grass. Local politicians knew a good thing and asked Buddy to bring his barbecue to rallies, and Buddy delivered it in his VW van. That’s when the catering business got going.

Word spread from the 1982 World’s Fair where people began to know Buddy’s as a Tennessee barbecue tradition, and Buddy Smothers as a restaurant business professional in his own right. Buddy was recognized as Restaurateur of the Year and was elected President of the Tennessee Restaurant Association.

The kids started working at an early age, with daughter Suzanne and her friend Virginia as well as son Mark working at the drive-in. Virginia is now a daughter-in-law working in the corporate office, daughter Suzanne Lindsey heads up marketing and her husband Reed Lindsey is vice president of operations. Buddy’s son Mark is President, and son Mike heads up distribution. Now the third generation has joined the family. Kendall (daughter of Reed and Suzanne) is in the corporate office coordinating weddings and also social media.

See what’s happening with Buddy’s & The Community!