Johnny Goins

Pat's Snack Bar
112 Town Branch Rd
Manchester, KY 40962

Johnny Goins was nine years old the first time he walked through the doors of Pat’s Snack Bar. His grandmother visited the pool hall every day to eat and visit with neighbors and friends. Often, she would bring Johnny with her. As a young boy, Goins would watch the older men play pool and spend time with James “Preacher” Cottrell, who racked pool. As he got a little older, Preacher even let him rack games of pool.

Pat’s became a second home for Johnny. He developed close friendships with owner Pat House and manager Juanita Hilbert. Johnny would get to work early, before anyone else to sit and talk with Pat. He remembers House as a tall, kindhearted man, attired in galluses, a black hat, and a black leather jacket. If a customer didn’t have money for food, Pat or Juanita would still feed them.

As a young man in high school, Johnny worked odd jobs and racked pool for a dime a game at Pat’s Snack Bar. One night, Pat’s manager Juanita Hilbert told Johnny that he would be cooking instead of racking pool. Johnny had never set foot in the kitchen before. To this day, Johnny works as a cook at Pat’s, serving their signature cheeseburgers and chili buns.

Eventually, Johnny decided to start his own restaurant, J&J’s. After a two-year stint running his own establishment in London, Kentucky, Johnny returned to work at Pat’s Snack Bar. Today, he uses Pat and Juanita’s recipe to make Pat’s famous chili. He prides himself on continuing the legacy of the place he calls home.

Date of interview:

November 3, 2016


Sara Wood


Sara Wood

If there weren't Pat’s? Oh my God. A lot of people would probably go hungry. I mean seriously, they would. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. At least you can come out of the house, you can come in here and you can sit down and talk to people. Visit, whatever. But that’s a whole lot.

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