(soft, jazzy music) Our first stop is a tiny little town just east of Memphis, where a young entrepreneur keeps a decades-old tradition alive and well. He’s a young man who grew up there, left, and came back
years ago to take charge of a landmark store called
The Brunswick Kitchen. (gentle mandolin music) They first called it Sulphur Springs, then Shelby Station,
before finally Brunswick, around the year 1900. It was a once-thriving
little railroad stop just east of Memphis. Well, over the years, the
cotton gin was torn down, along with the train depot. The trains don’t stop, anyway. Many stores closed. But thanks to Andy McIntyre, one landmark here in Brunswick remains, along with a tasty Friday night tradition. Let’s go. (spirited guitar music) – Come on in. – [Joe] This iteration of
the Brunswick Grocery Store was built in 1949, and since then, fried fish on Fridays has been a culinary custom.
(bell rings) – As long as I can remember there was always fish on
Fridays here in this building. Yeah, I remember bein’ 15, 16 years old, comin’ up here just to get catfish and takin’ it home for the family. – [Joe] Andy McIntyre made
a homecoming commitment when he bought the corner landmark with encouragement from his mother, Ann. – I’ve had restaurant
experience in the past, in different food service and just management experiences all over, and I really enjoy the
food service side of it, both the service and the
actual cooking of the food, having worked in corporate restaurants and privately-owned
restaurants in the past. You know, it was just somethin’, somethin’ that felt right at the time, and so we came in here
and put it together, and people seem to like it so far. – [Joe] While Ann supported
her son’s new adventure, she also found herself
immersed in a second career. – I was supposed to be retired, and he was gonna open this, which I knew wasn’t gonna happen. But, so I started workin’ every day, and now six days a week. I had my first day off yesterday, which lasted two hours. – [Joe] Does she still tell
you what to do sometimes? – All the time. – [Joe] And you listen? – Most of the time. – [Joe] (laughs) Okay. – Most of the time he ends
up listenin’ to me. (laughs) – [Joe] He said that. – [Ann] Yeah.
He wasn’t just kiddin’. – [Ann] No. – [Joe] The cafe’s earned a reputation for its homemade chicken and dumplings, vegetables, burgers and what else, but authentic Brunswick stew. – It’s made with pork,
chicken, ham, a little bacon. It’s got okra, every vegetable
you can think of in it. – [Joe] But there was never a doubt what the featured dish would be each and every Friday night. – Every time anybody heard
that I was doin’ something in this building, that was the
first question I always got, “Are you gonna do catfish on Friday? “Are you gonna have catfish on Friday?” And even today, when I tell people this is where my restaurant
is, they’re like, “Oh, yeah, the place that
always used to do the catfish.” So I mean, it’s just,
there’s just no way around doin’ catfish here, it’s just tradition. – [Joe] So as the
customers start arriving, the kitchen’s alive with
the sounds and aromas of fried catfish in the making. – [Andy] The secret is in the
marinade and in the batter. We marinate our catfish in
buttermilk and hot sauce for at least an hour, if not longer, and then it’s battered in a
cornmeal and flour mixture with our own spices. – [Joe] The catfish might
reel in the customers, but another attraction,
one that isn’t on the menu, is the unique, friendly atmosphere. – [Andy] I think one thing
we do really well here, not only besides the
catfish, is the atmosphere. We’re a family atmosphere. Most of us that work here
are either our family, have adopted each other as family, or we’ve become great friends, and we treat our employees that way, and it’s also kinda that
way with our customers, to be honest with you, I mean we’ve got some customers that are
as close as family can be. [Joe] Andy’s aunt makes all the desserts, which customers say run a close second to the fish in popularity. – [Ann] I would never think after eatin’ three pieces of catfish, and french fries and white beans that I could put down a piece of pie, but we usually sell out. My sister does the pies,
they’re my mom’s recipes. – [Joe] Andy has never had second thoughts about coming home to this tiny community, or taking a chance on
running a restaurant here. Obviously he had the right motivation, and the right business partner. – She taught me how to be
the person I am in life, and I mean my dad passed
away when I was 13 years old, so it’s just been us for a long time now, for almost 20 years now. You know, pretty much
everything I’ve learned I learned from her. – [Ann] When you have good
service, and good food, you know, and people
leave here happy and full, and want to go home and take a nap, you know, that pretty much
says you did it right. (laughs)