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Staff photo by Barry Courter / Charlie's BBQ & Bakery has new owners and management and a new name. It is now called Barque.

Charlie's BBQ & Bakery on East Main Street has new owners and a new name.

The restaurant is now called Barque (pronounced like tree bark), as in the smoked outside layer on a brisket, and is also a play on "barbecue."

Formerly owned and operated by Wes Agee and Elizabeth St. Claire, Charlie's opened in 2018 and became a neighborhood favorite, as people enjoyed the food and were charmed by Agee's outgoing personality. Agee died in April, and St. Claire has moved to Nashville and is now the manager at Peg Leg Porter in West Nashville.

She said that running the restaurant without Agee was difficult.

"We love Chattanooga and the people we met there," St. Claire said.

Quick Bites

— What: Barque, 2309 E. Main St.

— Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

— On the menu: Barque is all about barbecue, with traditional sides and a stuffed baked potato, as well.

Marcus Willis, a Texas native who has called Chattanooga home for many years, is the general manager of Barque. He previously worked at Food Works, Table 2, Parkway Pourhouse and Deep Bistro (where he was the executive chef). He is a professionally trained chef and has extensive experience in the world of barbecue.

"Growing up in central Texas, barbecue was a staple on our dinner table," he said in a news release. "I have loved barbecue as long as I can remember.

"I have been to all of the barbecue 'hot spots' around the country and have deep appreciation for the unique qualities of each," Willis said. "I have taken what I like from all of them and now apply it to the way I approach my own style of cooking. While my first love is Texas barbecue, I feel that influence from all over has found its way into my style."

The Barque menu will feature locally sourced ingredients, and there are plans to offer vegetarian and vegan items, plus weekly specials. Willis said in the release that the restaurant will have the "same neighborhood charm that we all knew and loved at this location previously" and it plans to host special events, including live music nights, to boost the community.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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