3/4/11: Eating Atlanta

Nearly every city, metropolis or nowheresville in the Southeast includes some variety of barbecue. Atlanta, with its established wealth of cuisine, hosts a bluesy brand of barbecue. Though barbecue restaurants are spread across the city, the best are usually on the east side of Interstate 85. This week, we found our ribs and blues at Maddy’s BBQ in North Decatur, about a mile east of Emory.

A beaming man in an apron awaited us behind the register, the primed open barbecue pit behind him. Their offerings were slabs of ribs, a half or quarter of a chicken or a combination of the two. A good ribs joint doesn’t rely on variety to be winner. In fact, Maddy’s was Access Atlanta’s 2006 pick for best ribs and Citysearch Atlanta’s pick in 2008. They also offer the usual assortment of sides, including coleslaw, rum baked beans, Brunswick stew, potato salad and macaroni and cheese.

About 10 minutes after ordering, we had our full rack of ribs ($18.95), mac-n-cheese ($2), a few slices of white bread and a few ounces of barbecue sauce for dipping. Maddy’s sauce has an excellent bold tomato, savory flavor. This was pleasantly unexpected as it contrasts with the usually over-sweet or ketchupy flavor of sauces found at many chains or larger-scale operations. It works quite well over the meat, with a smoky flavor that seeps into the flaked surface of the rib.

The rib meat was thankfully not the fatty or lean sort that typifies the subpar barbecue joint.  Rather, the ribs were an excellent balance of meat to fat, with each rib at a filling half pound each. Unfortunately, we didn’t consider bringing a third person to help put away this full rack, and we had to take the remainder with us.

Considering the barbecue pit needs constant attention, Maddy’s can’t spare one of their finest to deliver. Instead, Maddy’s suggests using Zifty—an Atlantan web-based delivery company—to pick up and deliver your orders. Zifty drivers charge $4.99 (tip not necessary, but encouraged) for their service, and it allows this Decatur favorite to be delivered hot to your Tech residence. More information about this service is on both Maddy’s and Zifty’s websites.

Atlanta barbecue joints are frequent sights on Atlanta coupon sites. Half Off Depot, for example, is offering a $25 coupon for only $10 at Maddy’s BBQ.


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