Mike and Tonya Guy didn’t have any plans or a desire to open a restaurant.
Their food truck, Piggin Ain’t Easy, was doing great, serving Tipton County factories and cooking at special events throughout the area. Piggin Ain’t Easy was initially a barbecue cooking team that competed for years and won multiple grand champions. Fans of their team kept telling Mike he should sell his food.
“It was costing a lot of money to win a plastic trophy and I already had a lot of plastic trophies,” Mike said. “We decided instead of spending money at this let’s see if we can make money at this.”
The food truck plan was humming right along until last year when Pat Holland, who had owned and operated Gilt Edge Café for 36 years, decided to close her restaurant.
“We weren’t looking for a restaurant,” Mike said. “We were happy with the food truck. The opportunity just came up.”
Last winter, Holland began talking to the Guys about taking over the restaurant. They kept things under wraps for a few months until a deal was finally struck for the Guys to lease the Gilt Edge Café and rename it Piggin Ain’t Easy. The restaurant opened for business Jan. 13 of this year.
Mike said Holland had several suitors to take over the building but she really liked what the Guys were bringing to the building, which is one of the most iconic in the county.
“She felt we would keep everything close to the same with barbecue, burgers and hospitality,” Mike said. “Everything she tried to do she saw in us. I feel kind of special about that. She wanted somebody she knew would do right and carry on the legacy, so to speak.”
While the Guys have redecorated and renovated the restaurant, longtime Gilt Edge patrons will notice some relics of the past. There was a big blue metal button with a pig that adorned the building when it was Gilt Edge Café. Now, it’s inside.
“A lot of people still consider it Gilt Edge Café,” Tonya said. “We do love the nostalgia of the building and the history it has. We’ve kept that pretty much the same.”
As for the menu, it’s probably a little more extensive than Gilt Edge Café. There’s the Piggin Ain’t Easy burger, which has a half-pound of fresh never frozen ground beef, pulled pork, cheese, bacon and the signature rub, which is available in area grocery stores. There are baby back ribs, smoked chicken tacos, deep-fried strawberry shortcake, quesadillas, nachos, fries, catfish plates and philly cheese steak, which Mike calls the best around. On the weekends breakfast menu items include omelets, hash browns, sausage, pancakes and biscuits. Off-the-menu specials include smoked meatloaf and chicken wings.
Mike has some employees, but when you order something, there’s a good chance he cooked it.
“The reason I’m right there is quality control. I’m not the kind of boss to say, ‘Y’all do this, y’all do that and I’ll see you later.’ I’m there making sure everything is the way it’s supposed to be. I’m right there in the kitchen for 12 hours just like the other people are.”
Piggin Ain’t Easy, located at 10448 Higway 59 in Burlison, is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They can be reached at 901-296-5252.