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4. Community Q BBQ
If Heirloom Market didn’t sit just yards inside I-285, I would declare Community Q our best ITP barbecue joint. David Roberts—who created the infamous mac and cheese recipe using rigatoni, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, and heavy cream while he was at Sam and Dave’s BBQ-1—and his partners run a bustling business in Decatur that always feels welcoming. Pulled pork is more reliably moist than when the place opened in 2009, and the half chicken, redolent of hickory and with smirched skin that crackles, never disappoints. Meat on spareribs can be agreeably chewy or overcooked to the point of droopiness, however, and recently the bark on the beef rib was sodden, making it more like on-the-bone pot roast (which certainly offers its own pleasures). But despite the occasional inconsistencies, the restaurant sets itself apart with the excellence of its unorthodox side items: The Kitchen Sink salad, for example, highlights seasonal produce tossed in a bracing vinaigrette, and Roberts makes glorious soup specials like pureed rutabaga with apple, spinach, and garlic. For dessert, blueberry-pecan bread pudding or Rice Krispies treats coated in milk chocolate caramel? Both, please. 1361 Clairmont Road, Decatur, 404-633-2080, communityqbbq.com
This article originally appeared in our May 2013 issue.