Beginning in the early 1970's, Don Pelts began to visualize a Memphis-style BBQ joint that made great premium BBQ in a fun 50's environment. After spending over a decade operating an existing Memphis BBQ restaurant, he finally set out to realize his dream. In 1984, Don found the perfect location and was ready to bring Corky's to life. All he could think of was a small cozy place with old barn wood walls, lots of neon, polished brass, interior aged brick, ceiling fans, servers in bow ties and white shirts, and of course piping in all the great music hits of the 50's and 60's.  And that’s exactly what he did…

Home to over 100 BBQ specific restaurants; Corky’s has been voted the #1 BBQ in Memphis by Reader’s Polls over 22 times! And all because Don Pelts made a decision almost 30 years ago to open Corky’s BBQ with the following requirements:

1. Buy the very best raw products

2. Cook the old fashioned way over hickory and charcoal

3. Hire the best team to support his vision for Corky’s

4. Do it right EVERY TIME!

Corky’s unique combination of award winning ribs and barbeque, quality service, and inviting family atmosphere have brought the restaurant national acclaim. Corky’s has received national recognition by being named “Favorite BBQ” by Southern Living in 1996 and 2000, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and was even recognized on the Food Network.

The success of Corky’s dining room business led to a booming drive-thru/take out business that had never been done before in Memphis BBQ. Within a year of opening, Corky’s started taking its great BBQ to peoples’ homes, businesses and picnic facilities with its full service Catering Team. They arrive, set up, serve and let the customer just have fun! Corky’s has catered events as large as 18,000 people and served them all in 2 hours!

Corky’s popularity with out of town guest grew so much that they opened a USDA inspected processing facility in 1991. That original 900 square foot space has been improved over the years to now 53,000 square feet! Their BBQ is shipped overnight to sports stars, Hollywood celebs, and folk just like you and me. This facility also cooks all the food that Corky’s ships to Supermarkets including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix, Costco, and many others.

At Corky’s, serving the world’s finest hickory-smoked ribs and BBQ is more than just a commitment, it’s an ongoing legacy of greatness. Corky’s Ribs and BBQ is hand rubbed with their special recipe dry shake or hand basted with their world famous BBQ sauce, and then smoked for 18 hours to seal in the succulence of the Memphis born recipe that is known and loved around the world! That matchless Memphis heritage of unique flavorings comes alive with each and every mouth-watering bite!

Those who try Corky’s, continue to say. . .“It’s Simply the Best!”

5259 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38119
(901) 685-9744


By and photo credit: