I got an e-mail from my friend Jim Fineis of Atlas GeoSampling the other day. Jim wanted to know if I might be free to grab lunch one day later this week. It’s not unusual to go to lunch with one of our vendors or subs. It gives them a chance to try to get an idea what work possibilities might be coming up in the near future and it gives us a chance to learn about new service lines they might be offering or new pieces of equipment they might have acquired that we can incorporate into our project planning. Jim picked me up around 11:30. Neither of us really had any preference about where to go so we had a quick brainstorm session as we headed up Buford Highway. The conversation went something more or less like this:
Jim: Any suggestions?
Me: Not really, what are you in the mood for?
Jim: How about barbeque?
Me: Sounds good to me.
Jim: Know any good places around here?
Me: There’s little place called Pig & Chick over on the other side of the interstate.
Jim: I think I remember another place nearby. Called Dusty’s maybe?
Me: Same place. It changed names a few years ago.
Jim: Does that work for you?
Me: Yep. Let’s go.
Pig & Chik, located at the intersection of Briarcliff Road and Clifton Road is one of three Atlanta area locations. The place operated for many years as Dusty’s BBQ until the owner died a few years back and the location was re-opened as Pig & Chik. The interior décor was pretty normal for a BBQ joint and centered around local high school and college sports teams, local craft breweries and other swine-themed decorations.
We walked in and headed to the counter to place our orders. With no intention to do so, Jim and I placed nearly identical orders: A medium pulled pork plate with Brunswick stew and fried okra. For our drinks Jim ordered a Coke. Tea for me please. A quick note – soft drinks are served in a can rather than as fountain drinks…no refills. We grabbed a table and had time to talk just a bit before the waitress brought our orders. I also had a chance to taste test their selection of BBQ sauces. I was afraid Jim might think I was a little off my rocker when I slurped up a spoonful of each of the three sauces but instead he was more interested in my thoughts about how each tasted. All three were good BTW.
I actually didn’t think about writing up this blog entry until we’d finished and I was back at the office so I sent Jim and e-mail to get his impressions of the place and his ‘Thumbs Scale’ rating.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Jim and I both thought the pulled pork was good. He gave his a good dose of the NC style vinegar-based sauce and I opted SC style mustard-cased sauce for the meat. Jim qualified his thoughts about the Q as ‘good but not great’. I thought it was fairly smoky and flavorful, not greasy but not dry so I gave the meat a slightly higher mark than he did. We both pretty underwhelmed by the stew. Jim commented ‘below average with little flavor’ and I agree 100%. I added a few squirts of the red BBQ sauce to spice it up a bit. Surprisingly, we both found the fried okra to be quite good. OK, it wasn’t as good the fried okra my Grandma Fowler used to make but it was crispy on the outside and not overcooked on the inside…pretty darn good for restaurant fried okra.
So how did Pig & Chik fare on the Thumbs Scale? We each gave it a thumb and a half for a total of 3 out of a possible 4. Not too bad but the stew hurt ‘em.
A follow-up note… I was reading a few other reviews this evening and noticed this comment: “Atmosphere: The whole restaurant exuded somewhat of a makeshift, low-budget feel, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter to the barbecue-eating demographic.” Methinks someone might be just a bit pretentious…and obviously doesn’t understand barbeque joints.