BHC 12052019 Buddys BBQ

Buddy’s bar-b-q recently opened one of its newest locations in Cleveland, Tennessee. Owner Mark Lemoncelli said the Bristol, Tennessee Buddy’s may be similar in concept to the Cleveland location.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — A drive-thru Knoxville-based barbecue restaurant will open next year at The Pinnacle in Bristol, Tennessee.

Buddy’s bar-b-q will expand to Bristol with the goal of opening in the summer or fall of 2020. An exact opening date hasn’t been announced.

“It’s kind of a new phase of growth for our company and we’re excited about coming to the area,” Buddy’s co-owner Mark Lemoncelli said this week.

Founded in 1972, Buddy’s currently has 11 company-owned and five franchised locations throughout East Tennessee, Lemoncelli said. The closest Buddy’s to Bristol is in Morristown.

The menu features pork, chicken and beef brisket barbecue sandwiches and dinners, ribs, wings and chili along with a number of sides like baked beans, coleslaw and hush puppies. Desserts include hot fudge cake, ice cream, lemon pie and more. Dinners range from $7.99 to $12.49, according to the menu on the company’s website.

Most Buddy’s locations are free-standing buildings, but this location will be part of a newer trend of the restaurant moving into retail centers with other nearby tenants, Lemoncelli said.

The fast-casual eatery will occupy about 3,500 square feet in a space to be built across from Starbucks and behind Zaxby’s and Steak ‘n Shake, according to Timothy Martin, a Maryville, Tennessee-based real estate broker involved with the expansion to Bristol.

Steve Johnson, developer of The Pinnacle, also confirmed the project.

This might not be the only Buddy’s location to eventually open in the local region if all goes according to plan, Lemoncelli said.

“We hope if this store opens successfully that we would open additional stores throughout the Tri-Cities,” he said.

The Pinnacle opened in 2014 and has become a regional shopping destination off Interstate 81’s Exit 74. Other businesses slated to come to The Pinnacle next year are T-Mobile and electronics retailer Best Buy.

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tdodson@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2567 | Twitter: @Tim_Dodson

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