Barbecue has been served at the present site of Three Little Pigs in east Memphis for over four decades. Since 1989, Charlie Robertson, under the Three Little Pigs name, has been serving shoulders—never butts—and amassing customers and an immense collection of pig paraphernalia.
In the location of a former Loeb’s—a once-famous Memphis chain—Charlie Robertson kept what worked and changed what didn’t. This is a neighborhood kind of place, and the only barbecue restaurant in Memphis where one can encounter an employee who acts as an official greeter, a man who walks the floor asking if everything was to your liking.
Mr. Robertson’s customers are as dedicated to Three Little Pigs, as he is to them; many bring the restaurant pigs plates, toys, and other geegaws from their travels. It’s telling that many of these same customers eat here three times a day.
We first visited Three Little Pigs Bar-B-Q in 2002 as part of our initial foray into documenting Memphis ‘cue, a project that included photographs, original essays and a smattering of oral history interviews. Visit the original Three Little Pigs Bar-B-Q page.