After delivering a friend to the Atlanta Airport, I decided to indulge my BBQ jones and try the first local BBQ joint I could find. Driving down Virginia Avenue in College Park, headed back to I-85, I came across a small establishment called The Barbecue Kitchen. The marquee touted “family owned and operated since 1954.” While this was encouraging, it was not necessarily in and of itself a sure sign of quality. If they were not all that good, they were at least hard-headed.
The second thing that gave me hope was a hand printed sign on the door stating that they did not accept credit cards, checks, money orders or traveler’s checks over $20.00. Again, either totally clueless or so sure of themselves that they know people will pay in good old cash and keep coming back. When seated and handed a typed menu (typed mind you, not computer printed) I immediately noticed that they were offering rutabagas. I couldn’t wait to see the cornbread and when I glanced over to a neighboring table and saw the yellow squares, I knew I was home safe.
I had come in with BBQ on my mind, but when I saw the familiar menu of a meat and three, I expanded my vision and began to think full meal deal. The mantra of a good meat and three is:
“If God had meant for you to eat it, he would expect you to fry it.”
That is somewhere in the Old Testament, just where, I’m not sure. The Barbecue Kitchen was a totally committed believer. Along with every country dish you could ever hope for, they also offered fresh sliced tomatoes and onions as a side. There was no sign of that thick and sticky white gravy that so closely resembles wallpaper paste which I always consider a positive omen. The trifecta of meat and three menus must be rutabagas, square cornbread and the absence of white gravy.
I finally settled on their BBQ pork ribs, rutabagas, collard greens and a side of tomatoes and onions. The ribs were not up to Memphis standards, but were very good for Georgia. The veggies were lip smacking and the cornbread was homemade. Obviously, I intend to return to The Barbecue Kitchen whenever I’m near Hartsfield International.
1437 Virginia Ave (Harrison Rd.)College Park, GA 30337