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The owners of Southern Craft BBQ have purchased the former Stan’s Bar-B-Q property at 2620 E. Andrew Johnson Highway. They plan to make it the third Southern Craft location, along with the original in Johnson City and a second in Bristol.

The former Stan’s Bar-B-Q location will soon be serving barbecue again as Southern Craft BBQ’s newest location, according to one of the business owners.

Rafael Zabala, one of three partners behind the Johnson City-based barbecue restaurant, told The Sun on Tuesday that plans are underway for renovation work after the building at 2620 E. Andrew Johnson Highway was purchased this month. Plans include expanded seating both inside and outside as well as the addition of a bar.

“We’re working through plans for a major renovation and facelift outside and inside,” Zabala said. “We’re going to expand seating and add a bar to serve beer from our brewery in Johnson City.”

Great Oak Brewery is located inside the Johnson City Southern Craft location.

“We’re still in the design process, but we hope to be open by late fall,” Zabala said.

Ahead of opening later in the year, Zabala said Greeneville residents might see a Southern Craft BBQ food truck at the location.

“We hope to have the food truck there in a couple of months for a couple days a week so people can stop by and get some food to go,” Zabala said.

The menu for Southern Craft’s Johnson City location includes chicken wings, burgers, tacos and salads, in addition to traditional barbecue fare. A list of available starters includes fried green tomatoes and deviled eggs, among other appetizer options.

Stan’s Bar-B-Q opened in June 1991 with a “little red castle” drive-thru that later expanded into the current building. It was a popular local dining option for 28 years, and public reaction to its closing in 2019 was shock, sadness and well wishes for owner Stan Fortner and his family, according to a September 2019 Greeneville Sun article by Ken Little.

Fortner said at the time there were no plans to keep Stan’s going under new ownership, and that the building would be sold.

Zabala said the for sale sign caught his attention when he was passing through Greeneville on the way to Knoxville not long after Stan’s closed.

“I saw the for sale sign about a year and a half ago, but the timing wasn’t right then,” Zabala said.

He said the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions provided a good opportunity to spend some more time in Greeneville and learn more about the location.

Zabala said the former Stan’s location was purchased this month for $700,000 and that a couple hundred thousand dollars is budgeted for the renovations.

Under RMM Hospitality, Zabala and partners Martin Bagwell and Mark Rowan own and operate Southern Craft BBQ locations in Johnson City and Bristol.

“We are locally owned and have been in the Tri-Cities for over 17 years,” Zabala said.

RMM Hospitality is also behind other Tri-Cities area restaurants including Label in downtown Johnson City, Stir Fry Cafe in Kingsport and 620 State in downtown Bristol.

“We are looking forward to becoming a part of the Greeneville community and carrying on the barbecue tradition at the Stan’s location,” Zabala said.

For more information about Southern Craft BBQ, visit