I am sure that many fine pictures have been taken around Kennesaw Mountain and its battlefield, but I’m willing to wager that over the last eighteen months, Big Pie in the Sky has become the single most photographed place in that area. Marie and I risked the crowd last Friday night for a quiet little getaway – we didn’t get the “quiet” part – while our daughter went to a football game, and you’d think every single guest that night was a blogger snapping pictures of the building and their pies. At one point, Marie got up to help a family take a photo of a mother and her wide-smiling twelve year-old in front of the words “MAN V. FOOD” painted on the front window. The mother explained that her son saw this place on the infamous Travel Channel program and asked to come here for a birthday treat. From McDonough. I told her that boy’s all right by me.
Like most of us, I first heard of Big Pie in the Sky when the restaurant and its celebrated “Carnivore Challenge” appeared on Man vs. Food. The particulars of that business have already been detailed on plenty of other blogs and needn’t be repeated here. Our pal David recorded the Atlanta-set episode when it was first broadcast and sent me a copy with a note that this previously unknown place was something to see.
A few Saturdays after we watched the episode, we came out to Kennesaw for one of the biggest mobs we’ve seen at a suburban restaurant, and almost two hour wait. We figured we’d come back another time. Almost eighteen months later, the crowds are still enormous, the seating is still a nightmare, the wait’s still a good 45 minutes on an early Friday evening and lengthening as the night goes on, and I’m of the opinion that it’s worth it.
The problem, of course, is that the publicity brought on by the TV appearance has brought a much larger crowd than the small storefront can easily handle. It’s apparently not uncommon for guests, who place their orders and pay upon arrival, to stand around hovering with their order numbers waiting for a table to clear. In the evening, the three outdoor tables belonging to the coffee shop next door become available, but it doesn’t help the bottleneck very much.
Having said that, we’ve certainly visited other places that have made impressive appearances on popular TV programs, and the crowds eventually die off a little. But Big Pie in the Sky is so consistently popular that much of this weekend mob is repeat business. Everybody except for the kids – and there were a lot of children here – is pretty patient with the service. On that note, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t call this service good at all. However, you have to make exceptions when the restaurant is such a chaotic zoo. It is unbelievably loud and ridiculous here, and I realize that I might be describing what some might consider the least appealing night out ever devised. Between ordering up front, fighting for a table, waiting in a line to refill your drink and having kids chase each other around your chairs as overworked servers try desperately not to drop pies while bellowing out your table number, this is assuredly not a restaurant for everybody.
Having said that, if you like a good pizza as much as Marie and I do, you should be ready to deal with dining room chaos, no matter how wild. Or just take an outdoor table like we did, which minimizes the madness. We shared a supreme with olives only on half – Marie doesn’t loathe olives the way that she does bacon, but she’s still awfully funny about them – and I thought it quite good, with a soft, chewy crust and very tasty sauce and cheese. A sixteen-inch pie gets you eight big slices for under twenty bucks.
In our case, some of the leftovers were very much appreciated. Our daughter announced that there had been nothing to eat at the football game – she might possibly have been fibbing there – and that she was going to die of starvation. Thank heaven we had two slices set aside for her; we wouldn’t want anybody to starve to death.
Other blog posts about Big Pie in the Sky: