Update - Barker's Red Hot owner, Glen Robins, responded to our post this morning with the following message for all of Barker's loyal customers. "Mike regrettably we closed the doors at Roswell. We had high hopes when we opened and unfortunately it just did not work out for us. We are not throwing in the towel yet. We have great product and I know there is place for us somewhere and we will find it. The food truck concept takes us back to our roots so we are looking at that closely. I will keep you posted. Thanks again for all of your support!! "
I received a very sad call tonight from a good friend telling me that he had ventured out to pick up some take out from the Roswell location of Barker's Red Hots only to find a note on the door stating that the restaurant was closed and that customers could visit them at their Windy Hill store. The patio furniture and large Weber grill has been pulled from the outside deck and all signs indicate that the location is closed. If this is accurate, then this is a very sad day indeed. The Roswell Barker's restuaraunt was intended to be the flagship store in their burgeoning franchise taking the gospel of the chargrilled hot dog to a national audience. For my two cents, Barker's has the best hot dog and onion rings in all of Atlanta. Here's hoping that Glen can find a way to keep the grilled Sahlen's red hot dog dream alive. Barker's got it's start as a food cart in Woodruff park in the early 80's. Maybe the road back is a fleet of red hot food trucks?
Location: 1133 Huff Rd., Atlanta, GA 30318 - 404.343.6574
Parking: Streetside with a parking deck in the rear.
Menu: Download Bone Lick Menu
Style: Hard to pin down. Pork described as pulled but looks lightly chopped Unique thick cut brisket. Nice variety of sides with a chefy flair. Menu items named with a sense of humor.
Sauces: Pepper Vinegar, North Carolina, Kansas City, South Carolina Mustard
Service: (lunch) - counter service number system with meals delivered to table. Roaming front of house (FOH) staff for beverage refills and all other dining needs. For dinner service the FOH switches to a hostess/wait staff configuration.
Cooking on: Original P'cheen 2000 lb. stick burner and new Old Hickory rotisserie cooker.
Backstory: Occassional pitmaster and daily P'cheen chef de cuisine Mike LaSage made a big splash a couple years ago when he started serving BBQ at P'cheen International Bistro and Pub every Monday night. The BBQ was so good that Mike scored fourth place in Atlanta Magazine's Best of Atlanta BBQ edition. Bone Lick BBQ is the evolution of Mike's Bone Lick BBQ night at P'cheen into a full time affair.
Our Selection for the Day: the Minaje' Trois - 3 meats and 2 sides - Baby back ribs, pork, brisket, jalepeno mac, tater tots + add ons - pork braised collards and maple bacon cotton candy y dos aguas. Total cost - $28.08
Location: 1451 Six Flags Rd, Lithia Springs, GA 30122 (corner of Factory Shoals and Six Flags Rd.)
Specialty: Pulled Pork Sandwich with Mustard Sauce
Style: NC style chopped Pork served from steam tray. Can lead to mushy texture if you don't get it fresh. Stew is meat, corn, and tomato. Not spicy.
Service: Speedy counter service. Order number can get called while you are filling your drink.
Cooking On: A couple old propane tank smokers in a smokehouse behind the restaurant. Appears to be the real deal. No natural gas lines and no electrical plugs anywhere to be seen.
Backstory: I have been visiting this little corner of Lithia Springs for my job since 2001. Turner's pulled pork sandwich was always the carrot at the end of the stick making the drive worth it. Jon Watson at the AJC did a great job of digging into the history of the restaurant and the kind of weird biscuit/BBQ thing going on with Beaver Creek Biscuit Co. You can read it here.
Why visit?: BBQ restaurants like Turner's get harder and harder to find. They've been cooking since 1952, which officially makes them a BBQ joint. The food and atmosphere are a welcome change from franchise style BBQ and well worth the drive.
My Lunch: Pulled Pork Sandwich with mustard sauce and seminole sauce. Brunswick stew. Large sweet tea.
Cost: $9 bucks
Barker's Red Hots recently opened their second location on King Rd, directly adjacent to Roswell High School, in Roswell, GA. The restaurant has been in the works for some time now and represents Barker's first step towards franchisement. I wrote a glowing review of Barkers the first time I visited their original location. Everything that was excellent before is just as excellent now. The hot dogs are still the best in the city, as are the onion rings. The loganberry juice is still the city's most interesting non-alcoholic beverage and is the perfect accompaniment to a dog and rings.
What has changed for the better is the space. Where the original Windy Hill location was intimate and sometimes crowded, the new Roswell location is roomy and comfortable. One of the quirky and fun parts about Barker's has been the intense effort to recreate the sights, smells, and sounds of a boardwalk. Glenn and Vivian maintained the boardwalk theme in the new location and even expanded on it a little bit. In addition to the sound of seagulls that has always been a Barkers mainstay, there is now the sounds of a roller coaster full of screaming people as you exit the main dining room and head towards the restroom. Continue reading Barkers Red Hots here....
Spring has sprung and hibernation time is over. After a few months of downtime considering whether to continue this blogging thing my need to write has fired back up and I'm ready to rejoin the Internet. In order to stoke the fire a bit this year I am going to change up my format a little and expand my horizons. I've tried to make BBQ the axis on which this little blog turns. While that might be enough for some it is not enough for me. I'm going to throw open the gates and write about whatever is on my mind with regard to food and restaurants. This should result in a few more restaurant reviews and substantially more recipes. Books are going to make a debut this year. I also plan to pen a series of posts entitled "On Blogging" that will explore some of the challenges faced in running a blog and being a part of the food and foodie community. Hopefully I haven't lost too many of you in my self-imposed Internet exile and hopefully we will pick up a few new readers with the new format.
I found myself puttering around GA 400 and 285 on Friday around lunch and decided it would be a good time to check in on Cody and Jiyeon at Heirloom Market BBQ. At 12:30, every seat in the restaurant was taken. Cody had a couple new faces working in the kitchen with him. Jiyeon was managing the front of the house, expediting orders and greeting customers. The vibe was exciting and sort of Christmasy. I really like the little faux fireplace. As far as food, the vegetables of the day were tempura sweet potato slices and brussel sprouts. As you see above, I got the pulled pork sandwich, brunswick stew, and tempura sweet potatoes. The pork was smokey and had nice bark. I really like Cody's brunswick stew recipe. Right now it is holding in a tie for second place (Pig n Chik still has my favorite). I really enjoyed the fried sweet potato side. The potoato was sliced thinly, battered and fried. I passed my plate around the community table and let everyone sample them. All agreed they were delicious. My advice is to always sample one of Heirloom's daily vegetable specials when you visit. This is where you get a little taste of Cody's chef background. Probably the greatest part of my lunch was that I opted to try the kitchen BBQ sauce. This sauce is not put out on the table, but you can order it with your BBQ. It is a "fresh" BBQ sauce as opposed to the more standard table sauces. This means it is made with a thicker tomato product. Texturally, it is closer to spaghetti sauce than BBQ sauce. I loved it because it was meaty, smokey, and spicey. It had a noticeable heat to it (from jalapenos according to Cody). From now on, this is the only sauce I'll be ordering at Heirloom.
All in all, things seem to be going very well for Cody and Jiyeon. I still have to swing by for a longer interview and try a few more dishes so I can write up a full profile. I had high hopes for Heirloom after my first visit and everything seems to be going right according to plan. The restaurant seems to be settling into a solid groove. All of the people that I spoke with at the community table loved their BBQ. Most were very surprised at the quality of the sides. This day, the cole slaw and the sweet potato were a big hit. I'm really happy to see that Atlanta appears to be embracing Cody and Jiyeon's cooking. I think they make a great addition to the Atlanta restaurant scene.
Note - if you take a look at the terrible iPhone picture below (apologies), you can spot the kitchen BBQ sauce on the left hand side behind the nice slice of brisket. You can easily see the chunkier texture. Awesome.
Tomorrow marks Community Q's first anniversary since opening its doors. Happy Birthday to you Community Q! In a very short period of time, Community Q has joined the short list of metro Atlanta's very best BBQ destinations, placing it amongst such heavy hitters as Fox Bros., Dave Poe's, Pig-n-Chik, and Sam's BBQ 1. One of the things that I find most interesting about eating at Community Q is the daily special list. I snapped the picture at left during today 's lunch. While some specials like the kitchen sink and the redneck chicken salad appear so frequently as to be near de facto menu items, there are always a few extra veggie sides and the occassional soup available to take your BBQ experience to the next level. Often times the daily veg specials are tied in to the farm fresh veggies available for purchase right next to the register. As far as I know, Star Provisions/Bacchanalia and Community Q are the only restaurants in Atlanta to offer natural, local farm veggies for sale as take home items for their diners. Today I was able to sample the smoked turkey that Community Q is adding to its menu in a limited capacity for the holiday season. It was extremely moist and had just the right amount of smoke. If it is available for lunch or dinner on your next visit to Community, you MUST try it. It's that good. I saw a sign on the door stating that you can order turkeys or spiral hams for Thanksgiving (in fact, Community Q will be open for pre-order pickup from 10-12 on Thanksgiving Day). In the past, I have ordered turkeys and hams from both Dave Poe's and Sam's BBQ1 in Marietta. I can wholeheartedly endorse outsourcing in this manner. In fact, I'm sure Dave and Sam are offering similar pre-orders for Gobbler day. Take a tip from me and get your name on one of their lists soon. The lists always sell out and for good reason. You can give your family a holiday meal that they won't forget and you can take all the credit.
Situated in a cozy space adjacent to the Akers Mill Food Mart is the most recent addition to the metro Atlanta BBQ scene, Heirloom Market BBQ . Lauched by Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee, Heirloom is wrapping up its first week of business. In speaking with Cody several times in the run up to the opening, I learned that both he and Jiyeon have culinary backgrounds in fine dining (Repast and St. Regis, respectively) . The menu will feature traditional BBQ dishes along with a rotating list of side dishes that bear a distinct chef touch. Asian influences will also show up in subtle ways throughout the menu. When I visited Heirloom today, there was a Korean BBQ short rib on the specials menu. Given that Heirloom is just getting its legs underneath it, a review at this point would certainly be premature. I intend to visit Cody and Jiyeon for the next few weeks and sample some of the other dishes that they intend to offer (pork belly, rib tips, burnt ends, etc.) But the photos from today's visit came out so well, I could not stand to sit on them until I was ready to write a full profile. Hopefully, they will get you excited about Heirloom Market and you'll pay them a visit (2243 Akers Mill Rd. Atlanta, GA 30339).