Memphis BBQ restaurant celebrates 40 years of business

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 6:43 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - No one does BBQ better than Memphis.

On Thursday, A&R Bar-B-Q celebrated its 40th anniversary.

It all started in 1983.

The small, take-out-only establishment evolved into the current dine-in location at 1802 Elvis Presley Boulevard, one of two locations.

“I knew a little bit about BBQ because of my dad,” said Andrew Pollard, co-founder of A&R BBQ along with his wife, Rose. “We opened up a little bitty building next door, one room about the size of a small kitchen, and that’s where we got started. I was just trying to feed my family.”

Since its founding, A&R has engrained itself into the world-renowned BBQ scene of Memphis, landing the number 11 spot on Southern Living Magazine’s The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints in 2022.

But it was the Commercial Appeal that gave A&R its claim to fame.

“The Commercial Appeal put out a write-up about us, about our BBQ spaghetti, and people started coming in from everywhere. It took off, it grew so fast that on the weekends, we had to have a security guard to direct traffic. I mean it was just overwhelming.”

40 years later, business is still booming.

Today, Andrew and Rose’s children, Brian Pollard and Lashun Pollard-Turner, both own and operate their own locations.

But the recipes passed down by their parents remain the same.

“When we first opened, I remember it,” said Brian. “It was like a customer every hour. To see it evolve, it got to a point where lunchtime, it was standing room only.”

Lashun told Action News 5 she’s proud to see how her family’s business has grown.

“Just that growth and just being able to, as my dad would say, leave a legacy for the rest of the kids in the family.”

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