He just didn’t know what kind of restaurant it would be. While driving through Kennesaw one day, Dillard spotted his inspiration in the form of a tiny roadside house.
“I had no idea I was going to open a barbecue restaurant,” said Dillard, whose years in the industry have included positions ranging from chef to director of operations. “I was actually looking at other buildings when I drove by here, saw the ‘For Rent’ sign out front, and thought, ‘Hmm, that would make a great barbecue place.’ ”
As I come to my last bite of smoky spare rib and gaze at my near-empty plate, my eyes widen in momentary panic. I’ve just remembered that they have barbecue sauce here. Perhaps I should try some if I’m supposed to review this place.
“This place” is Big Shanty Smokehouse in Kennesaw, opened three years ago by Chic Dillard, who has 30 years in the restaurant industry. Dillard serves as pitmaster while wife Sissy and daughter Shannon oversee the sides and desserts, including the popular banana pudding.
Little more than a roadside shack deep in the heart of Kennesaw, Big Shanty produces some of the best barbecue I’ve seen come out of Georgia. Dillard respects his meat and it shows. Briskets and butts get a healthy coat of house-made dry rub and are bathed in hickory smokes for 13 hours, where they develop a bark that will earn the respect of the most discerning barbecue purists.
If living south of the Mason-Dixon Line has taught me anything, it’s that barbecue is better down here. Whether your palate craves ribs, brisket, pulled pork or chicken, Southern barbecue just can’t be beat.
Residents of Kennesaw are fortunate to have one of the best barbecue restaurants in the South. Big Shanty Smokehouse, at 3393 Cherokee St., held the title of Best Barbecue in Atlanta on Urbanspoon.com for all of 2009, and after one visit (and about 1,000 times after that), I found out why.
In 2008, Chic Dillard opened what is becoming a juggernaut among Kennesaw restaurants. Chic and with his wife, Sissy, run the everyday operations at “The Shanty.” Their daughter, Shannon, makes award-winning desserts (she won first prize at 2009’s Taste of Kennesaw) and works the counter.
Their menu is loaded with delectable meats, homemade sides, daily specials and, of course, Shannon’s pastries.
“Pretty sweet way to end my trip in Atlanta, perfectly seasoned ribs and pulled pork.”
“By far one of our favorite places to eat! Their turkey ribs are to die for!”
“I love this place and its Brisket. I love that they have gluten free options.”
“Could not let my taste buds down. I went with the three meat combo(ribs,pulled pork and the brisket). Taste buds were not disappointed.”
“Great barbecue for dine in and take out.”
“This is an excellent BBQ restaurant in Kennesaw. You simply cannot go wrong with anything.”
“This place is incredible. The beef brisket sandwich was out of this world.”
“This is the best barbecue I have ever had! Our family eats here almost every week.”