BBQ in Atlanta
- eller Jan 1, 2009 11:21 AM
I will be traveling to Atlanta in early February and given my Canadian origin, I absolutely must seek out some southern BBQ during my stay. I don't care if it's served out of a side-of-the-road type stand, a small takeout joint or five star upscale establishment but I do care about it being good. No wait, I want the best.
I will be staying between Centennial Olympic Park and the Peachtree Centre. I will be attending a conference and won't be renting a vehicle but am not adverse to walking or taking transit to receive my meal.
Is there anything nearby that you all could recommend to this brave little hoser who is dying to try authentic Southern BBQ for the first time?
Thanks in advance!
Fox Brothers, Daddy D's or Harold's.
Fox Brothers is real quality BBQ without the "authentic" ambiance.
Daddy D's is also quality BBQ WITH the authentic ambiance. Its safe, but seedy.
Harold's is not the best BBQ in Atlanta, but is still very good, and the most authentic BBQ experience still in Atlanta. 60 plus years in the same building.
All will require transportation...
email me at marchthird at hotmail dot com maybe Ill drive.. you buy lunch...
The closest good bbq is at Rolling Bones BBQ, 377 Edgewood Ave. It is much more convenient for you. They are in a former service station building and are busy during prime mid-day dining times.
We all argue about who has the VERY best bbq. I feel that Sam & Dave's BBQ 1 on Lower Roswell Road in Marietta is the absolute best. It is far from convenient - but they do a superb job on brisket, and only excellent work when you try their pulled pork, ribs, chicken, etc. Their sides are made in house - which cannot be said of all bbq establishments. My only complaint is that their sweet tea is too sweet for my taste.
Fox Bros. is good, Rolling Bones is alright....but I think Daddy Dz is what you're looking for as a first experience in a southern BBQ Joynt.
You really cannot go wrong with any of them, but I visit Daddy Dz on a weekly basis; and between the food, the smells, the music and the divey nature of it...it warms me inside. Enjoy.
Also, getting to Daddy Dz or Fox Bros on MARTA (the rapid transit rail system) is easy from Centennial Park.
Get on MARTA at the Dome/CNN Center stop (W1).
Head East to the King Memorial stop (E2).
Walk South on Grant St. for two blocks to MLK Drive.
Walk West on MLK for two block to Hill St.
Daddy Dz is on the corner of Hill/MLK.
Same deal but get off on the Inman Park Stop (E3).
Walk East along Dekalb Ave for about a mile.
Fox Bros on left.
So I walk into Daddy Dz just before Christmas at 6 PM and ask "How are your ribs?" (My wife works at the Capitol so she goes there all the time but I just drove in from Athens) The Atmosphere is great, clippings and picures cover the walls, folks are friendly and the smell is terrific.
So the manager just says "You have to try one." and lays down a whole rib dripping in sweet and tangy sauce on a sheet of wax paper in front of me on the house. Great ribs! Tender, greasy, smoky and meaty. After the first, I ordered a plate of 4 more with sides and a sweet tea (of course). My wife had the pulled pork which was also good. Great moist cornbread, good slaw and fine BBQ beans. A totally satisfying BBQ experience.
From what I have heard and have tried, I think the other poster's advise is right on. But if you ever come to Atlanta and have more freedom to travel consider Sam and Dave's. Their restaurant just west of downtown Marietta (BBQ2), has the same food as BBQ1 on Lower Roswell Rd., but instead of two tables and a small outside deck they have good inside table accomodations. I was a pork only BBQ guy until I tried their beef brisket. http://www.lostmountainbbq.com/
Fox Bros supposedly does beef well also, but pork is king in the southeast. Daddy D's is known for ribs and blues bands on the weekend.
Everybody has their idea of authentic, here's mine:
Harold's on McDonough St near the Federal Pen....
Pork, cracklin cornbread, stew and slaw.
Although these other places have some fancy appetizers, sides and music and whatnot....and don't get me wrong, they have really good food. You won't have a bad meal at any of the places mentioned here. But....Harold's is more likely to be something you've never seen anything like.
I would second what wabbitslayer said about Harold's. Because they cook over a real wood fire (rare because it violates moden building codes) this establishment apparently was grandfathered in as long as the (old) original building stands. Since the original owner Harold died recently, who knows how long that will be? So you might want to see it while you can (during the daytime and get a ride to the door.)
I second this opinion as well. For me, Harold's is the best BBQ in Atlanta. I live near Fox Bros. and was recently turned off to it by awful brisket and poor sides. After having many good and sometimes great meals there, they have recently been subpar. I will try them again in a couple of months but I have been disappointed the last 2 times there.
Fox Bros. gets my vote. You have to try the smoked chicken wings. Avoid the brisket there though. If you crave brisket, Rolling Bones is the place to go.
I used to live right next to Daddy D'z and I cannot recommend it for the food.
Sadly, I have never been to Harold's but I have heard good things about it.
All of these joints are near your hotel's location.
If you do feel like traveling, Sam and Dave's BBQ 2 (limited seating though) and the Swallow at the Hollow are worth the travel. The Swallow offers live country music on Friday and Saturday so you may want to get there early so you can get a seat.
For the Record: Some don't know about it, but Sam & Dave's BB2 near downtown Marietta has plenty of seating - unlike their BBQ1, but still a 30 min. drive from Atlanta. They do the competition BBQ circuit in addition to their restaurants. See http://www.lostmountainbbq.com/ if you are interested. I've tried them all except Daddy D's (and I want to go there for the ribs) and I've enjoyed them all. Crackl'in Cornbread at Harold's is a unique find. What I would like to find is some good (not sweet) dark crusted, iron skillet cornbread.
Good Lord, it's a miracle. First, thank you to everyone here who has given such great suggestions. Seriously. They are all valid and all very good. The reason I say it like that is because, invariably, when this question comes up, I always see people raving about Fat Matt's, which is not good. Granted, everyone likes different things, but Fat Matt's is a success because it has a fun name and some high-end folks from downtown and Buckhead like to eat there for lunch.
Eller, these folks have suggested some great locations so pick and choose from them... if anyone suggests Fat Matt's please look elsewhere.
I'm in Atlanta til tomorrow and have not found any local Q on the north end despite driving all over Lawrenceville and Duluth. Not to cloud the discussion of eller's downtown search, but others might see the thread title and be up here where I am looking. I would prefer a local joint and you guys have some good insider info. I saw a closed one called Blackstone's.
If you are ever up my way in North Carolina, go west of Charlotte off I-85 to Shelby NC and eat at Bridges. There are two kin and competing Bridges families there that blow away the competition and have excellent side items. They learned it from Stamey's in Greensboro in the style of The Lexington BBQ in Lexington, NC - other good ones to try if headed up I-85.
What kind of sauce should we expect to find in Atlanta - vinegar, tomato, mustard, other? Do they make hushpuppies down here or will I have to go back to NC for those? Are there any other local specialties, great home cooking or unique foods that you guys can recommend?
I attempted a run to Fox Bros last night and although their website said they were open until 9, they were closed at 7 when we pulled up. The owner came out and explained to us that he had to close early because he was out of everything, as he'd had so many (Superbowl) take out orders.
I am going to try to get out there again on Wednesday.
Usually in north Georgia you'll find a sweet, dark BBQ sauce, no chili pepper. If you're close to the South Carolina border you'll get into the vinegar-y stuff. Most serve pork, beef and chicken, with sides of Brunswick stew (a tomato-based hunter stew of meat, corn and sometimes beans) and some kind of potatoes. May be served with cornbread, loaf bread or rolls.
Incidentally, my vote for BBQ in Atlanta is Harold's. Have fun!