I was heading to a meeting with some folks in John’s Creek and noticed City Barbecue about three weeks before I had the chance to stop in. It’s about twenty minutes from the office, so on a quiet Friday, I headed that way for lunch. Initially, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about a new barbecue place opening up that close to the office, so I did some googling at the table. City Barbecue is a chain – based in Ohio – but they promote the idea of local sourcing for woods and for the people working the three smokers that they say that they have in every location. I didn’t know it was a chain when I arrived, I knew it well before I left.
It started with the fact they were very proud of their barbecue. I ordered the pick two plate – choosing from pulled pork, brisket, pulled chicken, turkey, sausage, quarter chicken or three ribs. At $14.99 it was definitely “City” priced – slightly less than Fox Brothers (at $18.00), but equal to their closest neighbor – Praise the Lard at $14.99 – $16.74). When I ordered the briskest and pork, with mac-n-cheese and green beans + sweet tea, and the woman told me that would be $22.34, I would have done a spit take, had I already had a glass. I asked and the $14.99 was just the meats and toast – sides were extra. All I could say was, “it better be damn good barbecue”. (FWIW, the prices listed for Fox and Praise the Lard include two sides.)
They had at least ten sauces to choose from, but none were striking. The brisket was good, the chopped pork was okay. Neither the mac-n-cheese nor the green beans were anything to write home about.
When I looked at their web site, they do price, based on market – apparently Suwanee, GA is $1.00 more expensive than Columbus, OH or Lexington, KY. Doesn’t matter – I won’t be going back, no matter where I am. Life is too short for chain barbecue.