Restaurant Review: Route 55 BBQ and Diner in Tullahoma

Route 55 offers daily plate lunch specials Monday through Friday for just $5.49. Every Tuesday, they serve pulled pork, turnip greens, pinto beans and cornbread. {Photo courtesy of Route 55}
Route 55 offers daily plate lunch specials Monday through Friday for just $5.49. Every Tuesday, they serve pulled pork, turnip greens, pinto beans and cornbread. {Photo courtesy of Route 55}

Coffee County – From a vegetarian option to catering God-send to tailgate go to and beyond … Route 55 BBQ & Diner packs a lot into a tiny space.

Nestled near the intersection of historic Tennessee Highways 55 and 41A, the restaurant possesses all the southern charm of the roadside diners of yesteryear … you know those quaint days when Sunday drives were still a thing.

Housed in a former gas station, the repurposed space feels welcoming but not overdone. There’s no endless chotskies or walls dripping with memorabilia, just a quaint chalkboard menu, simple cafes tables, and big smiles behind the counter. Picnic tables sit outside for the warmer weather. Guest can enjoy the sunshine as hickory smoke from the onsite smokehouse wafts past.

It’s become my go to spot for a variety of occasions.

On “Meatless Mondays,” I drop by for three eight-ounce sides – cole slaw, sweet potato casserole, and baked potato salad. It’s my southern meat and three fix – minus the meat.

On college football Saturdays, I pop by to grab an order of their Route 55 Smokin’ Wings. I’m usually the only gal watching the game with the boys. I figure it’s always a good idea to show up with meat.

Route 55 serves homemade fried pies just like granny used to make ... peach, apple, apricot, blackberry, chocolate, or coconut cream. {Photo courtesy of Route 55)
Route 55 serves homemade fried pies just like granny used to make … peach, apple, apricot, blackberry, chocolate, or coconut cream. {Photo courtesy of Route 55)

Sometimes when I have a sweet tooth, I pop by for one of their homemade peach fried pies. I take it home, pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds, then top it off with a scoop of Purity Vanilla Ice Cream. Oh my yum!

Last Thanksgiving, Route 55 helped me “convince” my family that I could cook. I sometimes joke that I’m the southern Carrie Bradshaw. Like the Sex and the City character, I use my oven for sweater storage. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking. I’m just not that great at it. But I do enjoy throwing an occasion.

Route 55 catered the whole thing – chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, and chocolate fudge pie – all for around $50.

I picked it up that day, transferred it to my own dishes, and just smiled broadly when my mother complimented me on my “homemade” dressing.

All the barbecue basic and some specialties

The menu boast all the things you’d expect to find at a southern barbecue joint: hand pulled pork, brisket, baby back ribs, and smoked chicken plus a couple of creative dishes like loaded barbecue nachos or a loaded barbecue baked potato. They even serve a quirky, southern favorite, smoked beef bologna.

For those looking for the Barbecue Experience, try Kendall’s Best ($12.99). It’s a sampler of smoked chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, and baby back ribs.

They offer a different daily plate lunch special Monday through Friday for just $5.49 and often offer a dessert of the day in addition to the fried pies.

If You Go >> Route 55 BBQ & Diner is located at 415 Wilson Avenue in Tullahoma. They open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. They close each Sunday. You can reach them at 931.222.4001 or check out their Facebook page for weekly updates.

Written by: Tabitha D. Moore, Mason Jar Magazine, Editor

All Photos Courtesy of Route 55

{Editor’s Note: In and effort towards fairness and thoroughness, a Mason Jar staff member visits any reviewed restaurant three times before writing a piece for publication.}