Culver’s, Dawsonville GA

Two months ago, Marie and I took our son to Amicalola Falls, and I had a cunning plan to swing by the new Culver’s that had opened in that long, deeply depressing strip of one-off buildings and drive-thru restaurants on GA-400 along the outlet mall. This is the stretch of road where the Varsity Jr. relocated its iconic store on Lindbergh and added a playground. A playground. You’re shaking your head right now just thinking about it, I can tell. Continue reading “Culver’s, Dawsonville GA”


Mickey Pigg’s BBQ, Alto GA

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that a couple of barbecue places along US-23 in northeastern Georgia had been patiently waiting for us to give them a visit. Tomlin’s was one, and Mickey Pigg’s was the other. From the city limit signs, it would appear to be in the town of Baldwin, but it claims an Alto mailing address. It’s about fifteen miles north of the far end of I-985, and it’s celebrating 21 years in business. Continue reading “Mickey Pigg’s BBQ, Alto GA”

Southern Smoq BBQ, Flowery Branch GA

It has been my experience that the very best barbecue joints tend to have some buzz. They have a reputation, built up over years and commemorated in newspaper stories and magazines and books and blogs and oral histories. These are the ones that barbecue lovers like me anticipate for years before sampling. I’ve been fortunate; every one of the old and/or celebrated haunts that have come with such high expectations have met them. Scott’s, Old Clinton, Brick Pit, Bar-B-Q Shop and so on; in every case I had read for ages that these were amazing, and every one satisfied. Continue reading “Southern Smoq BBQ, Flowery Branch GA”

Rib Country, Cleveland GA

Before I forget, should you ever find yourself leaving Dahlonega and traveling east to Cleveland, you’ll probably find yourself on GA-52, with the mountains beautiful and soaring on your left. There are twistier and curvier roads in Georgia, many of them, but this one is just twisty and curvy enough to make you feel alive. It’s wonderful. Doesn’t reading that just make you want to go to north Georgia right now? I love this part of the state. Continue reading “Rib Country, Cleveland GA”

Smokin’ Gold BBQ, Dahlonega GA

If you read us regularly, you might recall that a month ago, when we visited Hickory Pig, I wrote that I had a notion to visit three more of the out-of-the-way places in the outlying towns that make up the Urbanspoon Gainesville “metro” area. The first of these was Smokin’ Gold, a joint that I had originally intended to visit along with the girlchild and the toddler back in January, a couple of hours after we had stopped at Big D’s, only to find the business closed for a two-week vacation. We spoke with Laurie Dieterle, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Dan, who explained that while I was having my patience tried to the limit by trying to shop with my exasperating girlchild, they were on a cruise in Central America, and Dan was probably zip-lining over some Costa Rican jungle while I was pouting at their restaurant’s locked doors. Continue reading “Smokin’ Gold BBQ, Dahlonega GA”

Rick’s Smokin’ Pig, Gainesville GA

In the previous chapter, I explained that there are five barbecue restaurants in the Gainesville area that I wanted to try, two of which had some prior press that I had noticed. The second of these was Rick’s Smokin’ Pig, which admittedly has not had very much hobbyist coverage – it has only been open for three years – but the hobbyist who brought it to my attention it was the indefatigable Chopped Onion. A fellow could eat very well just visiting the wonderful places that this site features*. Continue reading “Rick’s Smokin’ Pig, Gainesville GA”

Hickory Pig BBQ, Gainesville GA

In a chapter last week, I mentioned that I have a project in mind to cover a certain west Georgia barbecue corridor better than anybody else has done before. Another notion is to visit considerably more places in the Gainesville area than we have. Each of these are fairly doable, but there are just so many miles in the Urbanspoon Gainesville metro – the city of Gainesville itself is reasonably compact, but, as defined in Urbanspoon, it stretches across a lot more territory than you’d think, incorporating everyplace from Dahlonega to Helen to Hoschton – that it’s really difficult to trace a reasonable route to stop by the five places that I wanted to sample. Continue reading “Hickory Pig BBQ, Gainesville GA”