Just happened upon the Boners BBQ page last night. No particular reason why. Mysteriously, new reviews have been going gang busters over the past few days. Surprisingly, fans are either finding Boners to be the worlds worst restaurant or finding it to be god’s gift to barbecue. Anywho, I’ve taken the time to point out some of the better commentaries. Enjoy! [note for those reading this beyond the publication date: there’s sarcasm in them there words]
Atlanta’s barbecue fanatics have almost unanimously crowned Grand Champion BBQ the current king of the smoker; but, like many of the barbecue joints around the metro area, this youthful Roswell restaurant seems to offer an incomplete picture of the ideal.
When GC BBQ opened in mid-August, word spread fast that this was the new centerpiece of the Atlanta barbecue scene … though it’s worth mentioning ATL’s scene is fairly thin in top-end quality despite a large community. But the best of the mediocre can still be awesome, so I set out a few weeks back with high hopes in tow in order to meet up with one of my new found friends in food.
The intersection of Fort St and Irwin Street may not be the most welcoming intersection in Atlanta. However, it has become a point of interest for yours truly. You see, I drive on Fort St. quite a bit as it serves as an access road to I-75/I-85 thru Downtown. Much to my own shame, I have perhaps stumbled upon something illicitly tantalizing only to pass it up (for reasons unbeknownst to me).
Here’s the low down: Numerous times during the last year I have passed by a complex that sits on Fort St just south of the Irwin St intersection. During three of those drives, I have seen a small gathering of people huddled around a long smoker hitched to the back of a pickup truck. A rolling barbecue pit no doubt, these are the elements of street food that do catch my attention so!
I have never been quick enough to pull out my camera nor smart enough to pull over and ask what’s what … but I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Maybe it’s my version of sasquatch or perhaps proof that somebody’s Inceptioned my ass!
I have no recollection as to the specific times of my drive-byes (all were around 11pm though) nor even a guess as to what day of the week(s) it just so happened to be. So what’s what people? Has anyone else seen this? Is it street food at its finest or random and semi-frequent gatherings that deserve no further attention?
So there’s this ex-wrestler. He’s a big hulking African man and he’s here to serve us some Deep South style barbecue ribs. Though he’s a Canadian ex-pat, this fact alone seems representative of the man’s upbringing during a time when stereotypes were more freely exchanged. While he’s at it, he might as well throw in ‘anything but native’ Chinese food. Okay, scratch the preconceived stereotypes fluttering about!
His name is Larry Shreve and you almost certainly know him as Abdullah The Butcher and the proprietor and founder of Atlanta’s Abdullah the Butcher House of Ribs and Chinese Food. The 70-something Hall of Fame wrestler ended up as one of the most highly reputed yet brutally physical WWE professionals of all-time. On the back of broken chairs and broken spines (okay – I don’t think he ever broke a dude’s back … but I stress the use of the work think here), Abdullah became a poster child for the ‘go hard or go home’ mentality. His nickname I believe is the “Madman from Sudan.”
In addition to his animalistic reputation in the ring, Shreve garnered a good bit of head swiveling on account of his circus-like culinary adventures; which were not exactly the culinary training worthy of mention in an article in the NY Times. Most of them to this point seem to be passed around as fact, but whether or not his lore is true (did he bit a chicken’s head off?), it seems to fit him like a glove. Quite the resume builder for the guy serving your food. But anywho, what’s important is that his gregarious personality has lead him down a most unusual path and the two of us finally intersected, at least in spirit, just a short time ago.
Another day, another mini-food tour that is my burden. At least I had good company!
Along with GI Joe, I took a Susie Washing Machine to lunch for her birthday. She’s works near Cloverleaf so we hit up YJ for some of their awesome tonkotsu ramen. My guests were thoroughly satiated, but my more discerning sensibilities got the better of me. For the first time in a while (I’ve been there more than most), I was pretty bummed. The broth still provided a silky, pork infused introduction, and the noodles were spot on, but the rest seemed like a regression concept. Once laden with delicious roast pork, foodies have been groveling at the reduction down to two pieces per order. You used to be able to order extra (for a surcharge) … not any more. The only other visitor was some shredded cabbage (think inside of a spring roll), which was layered beneath the pork. Still a fine slurping, this example seemed more like a dumbing down than anything else. Maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for my ramen cravings.
So according to that hidden signage pictured above, the now refurbed building at 349 14th Street is getting some new life. Long the home of the nationally known alliterati Kool Korners, a Cuban sandwich shop and grocery, Moe’s Original Barbecue is set to open in the not too distant future. It seems that the owners of the property have tried to bogart some of the Kool Korners’ fame by naming the intersection of State & 14th after the departed, so don’t think the Ramirez’s are returning from their Birmingham sabbatical. Moe’s is actually a chain and one that I’ve visited several times during my time in Vail. According to ToneToATL (who had this story some time ago), it seems that the owners were hoping for a January 20th opening … needless to say that didn’t happen.
Hot on the heels of a new hibachi restaurant (the just opened Sakura Stix), a new barbecue joint is set to open in Westside. The Bunyan-esc Billy Jack’s BBQ and Shrimp Co. is currently in the final build out stages over at 857 Collier Rd. In addition to sharing the lot with Sakura Stix, Billy Jack’s will deliver to your door and cater your events. Their menu is pretty straightforward and includes most everything you would expect at a place like this. The decor is understated and the place probably seats around 40. They don’t have a website at this point, but they do have a facebook page. Meanwhile, be on the look out for their catering truck (named The Barbecue Source). If you see it … call the cops!!! More for you once they actually open their doors to John Q Public.
[thanks to reader Julian for the heads up]
Don’t let the name full you, Black Tie Barbecue is more than just a barbecue catering service. In fact, they are more than just a full-service caterer. Since their inception, the quadrapedal team has served up a full array of grub. However, the business has grown beyond that of a traditional caterer and into a full fledged food producing operation.
Bobby and June’s Kountry Kitchen is a place of romanticism and idealized memories. Every city has a place (or two) like this, a breakfast joint that serves as a tribute to times gone by from era’s long past. It’s here we find this simple little shack, nestled in the bosom of high-rises and traffic jams. Sitting proudly on 14th street in the cleavage between Midtown and Westside, Bobby and June’s bright yellow sign and weather tested wood planks immediately call attention to this Atlanta institution.
It’s a popular eatery amongst those that attend Georgia Tech, as it serves as a comfortable mixture of Waffle House meets Fox Bros. With its very own barbecue pit, Bobby and June’s moves seamlessly between the world’s of Meat & 3’s and diners. It was this history that coaxed me out of bed one recent morning, inviting me in for a meal where calories aren’t to be trifled with and organic is a term that applies to the Streak-O-Lean on your plate and not a food movement. Though I’m much more likely to see a sunrise on my way to bed than on my way out of it, the opportunity to rejuvenate the Ambiguously Foodie Duo was just too much to pass up.
Todd Richards is fairly well known around these parts. Richards’ restaurant group (Lush Life Group) is the driving force behind Rolling Bones BBQ and One Flew South, that high-end restaurant located in Hartsfield-Jackson’s E-Concourse. However, his notoriety isn’t limited to the Capital of The South.
Mixed in with his stay in Atlanta, Richards spent time in Chicago, in Nashville, and in Palm Beach as the chef de cuisine at the Ritz-Carlton. In fact, all that work even earned him a spot on an episode of Iron Chef America. Nowadays, you’ll find him sticking close to home as he works on a bounty of different projects. One of the most accessible is his blogs, which is one of the better chef scribed blogs to come out of Atlanta.
But of course, Richards still makes time for we poor plebeians of the pen with a stopover for Inside The Chef’s Kitchen. So on this Friday of beautiful weather and happenings, take a peek at what Chef Richards has to say. If you take a liking to Richards’ humor, be sure to check him out on twitter @Rollingbonesbbq. And with that, welcome to ITCK!