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That's Your 'Cue
By Chris Watkins | Photo: Lauren Rubinstein | August 5, 2014
Smokebelly BBQ heats up Buckhead’s dining scene.
It’s fair to say that barbecue is pretty hot right now in A-Town. With notable chefs testing the waters to make their mark on the city’s ’cue scene (watch out, Memphis), the time is now to get your hands on myriad of smoked, and nonsmoked meats. That’s where Smokebelly BBQ comes in—Buckhead’s latest entry into the ’cue game, conceived by the team behind The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, Tin Lizzy’s Cantina and Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails, plus one of the guys behind Atlanta’s original party ride, The Fur Bus and Triangle fave The Pool Hall. Quite the combo. Add a chef-crafted take on barbecue from Darrell Rice, who earned his culinary stripes at fine-dining royalty like Canoe and Aria, and the East Andrews resto is bringing the heat. Pun intended.
First, wet your whistle at the bar, where you’ll find 20 craft beers on draft in rotation, vino (because what goes better with meat than wine?) and a bevy of small-batch liquors that breathe life into the craft cocktail menu (try the Blackberry Whiskey Smash or Southern Pina). But what you really want to hear about is the food. Rice has taken extra care in curating his style of barbecue, which draws on techniques from a number of different regions. Think unique dry rubs, flavor injections and regionally sourced meats that smoke for hours on end at low heat. Traditional slow-roasted fare like pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked turkey make the rounds, while specialty cuts of lamb, pork belly, wild game and even alligator make special appearances. Pair the meat-stravaganza with sides of chilled sweet corn and edamame succotash, creamy mac-n-cheese, and bourbon baked sweet-potato souffle.
But it’s not just the fare that’s drawing Buckhead’s see-and-be-seen crowd—the interior of the 6,000-square-foot space is like a backyard party waiting to happen. Distressed wood-paneled walls, porkcentric murals and flea market-esque decor give the Studio Song-designed space vintage flair, while a plethora of flat-screen TVs make Smokebelly a go-to destination for pro-sports consumption. Football, barbecue, beer... you had to have seen this coming right? Oh, and did we mention the patio situation? Affectionately dubbed The Lawn, due to its faux grass facade, it seats an additional 60 and features the restaurant’s own house band belting out rock classics. Who knew Johnny Cash and ’cue went so well together? Eat up!
128 E. Andrews Drive