Before the interstates, the cities and small towns of east Tennessee were connected by two-lane country roads. One of those roads, Lee Highway (Highway 11), saw quite a bit of traffic as people traveled between Chattanooga, and Cleveland, Tennessee, for business and pleasure.
In March of 1946, Will and Anges Couch saw a business opportunity and jumped on it. they built a small roadside cafe, and from the start business was good. It wasn't long before Couch's Barbeque was well known as the place to take a break and enjoy some real pit barbeque and a bottle of Coca-Cola before continuing on your way.
Several years into business, the Couch's nephew, Howard Johns, took over the running of things, and then in 1966, Agnes' sister, Jessie Stiner, took over operations. However, even with the change in command, the food stayed the same, and the costumers stayed faithful.
In 1972, after graduating high school, Jessie's son, Kenny, started working full time at Couch's, taking part in all the responsibilities. From bussing tables to learning the fine art of slow cooking the hams over hickory logs in the brick pit, Kenny became an expert at it all, and on January 1st, 1979, he purchased the business from Will and Agnes Couch.
Continuing the tradition, Kenny's son, Ken, started working in the family business in 1998, representing the third generation of family to take part. Father and son have been working together now for over 12 years, taking turns at turning the hams on the pit, catering dinners, and serving up the best barbeque in the Southeast!
Sixty-seven years later, despite the interstate by-passing the old highway route and a few changes here and there, Couch's Barbeque is still known throughout the region as a favorite stopping place. Barbeque cooked on a brick pit, hand turned and basted with the same recipe that was used in 1946, home-made pies that tempt the taste buds for second servings, and ice cold bottled drinks are still the local favorites. Couch's has been the pride of our family and the community for over 67 years.