D.B.A. Barbeque smokes the competition

The Southerner

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Many people have not heard of D.B.A., a local barbeque joint tucked away around the back of a building on North Highland Avenue. Or maybe they’ve heard about it, but they’ve never been there. The few people I’ve talked to whohave been there, however, generally regard it as a pretty decent restaurant. And from my experience there, I’d have to say that this is actually a big understatement.

From the outside, D.B.A. is nothing special: a brick building with a single tree out front, a glass door, and a partially-enclosed patio wrapping around the corner. But the moment you walk indoors, you are submerged into an unparalleled atmosphere. The dining room is large and loud, with around 8 or 9 TVs broadcasting current sporting events. The walls are covered with old Coca-Cola signs and other rustic antiques from the past. Above each table hang lights in old jars, and they give off a golden glow. If you look up, you will notice that the ceiling is covered in egg-cartons, which also serve as insulation for when jazz musicians come in and play live periodically. The smell of smoked-meat wafts in from the smoker kept outside, around the corner. You couldn’t ask for a better environment to enjoy a meal.

When you get a menu, the variety of options is almost overwhelming. There are far more than just conventional barbeque dishes on the menu. You could get anything from barbeque nachos to hot wings, and everything in between. The prices are a little lofty, with the majority of entrees costing between $12 and $17, but it is well worth your money, as the portions are huge. You will never leave this place and not be full.

One of my favorite dishes is the ribs, both baby back and spare ribs. They are smoked to the point where the meat just falls off the bone when you bite into it, and then slowly melts in your mouth. And you can doctor them up with a variety of original barbeque sauces D.B.A. makes, all of which taste incredible.

Another one of my favorite dishes is the “Smoke-and-Fried Chicken”, although it’s only available on Sundays. If you order it, be prepared for the best drumstick, thigh, breast, and wing you have ever tasted. The breading on the outside is seasoned to perfection, with a variety of spices adding a little kick. And when you get to the meat, it’s indescribable, but I will try my best. The meat is extremely tender, and combines the rich taste of perfectly-cooked classic fried chicken with what almost tastes like ribs. And when you swallow, you get an awesome smoky aftertaste. If you go to D.B.A. on a Sunday, this is a “must-try” dish, if you can get past the fact that it’s a coronary on a plate.

On top of the fact that the entrees served at D.B.A. are amazing, they probably have the best sides in the city of Atlanta. One person who could justify this is my father, Kelly Bray. “I am in love with the brussel sprouts at D.B.A.,” Bray said. All sides are made-from-scratch, no two are alike, and all are delicious. The sides range from collard greens braised with bacon, hand-breaded onion rings, sweet potato tots, and about 20 others. A few, like Texas Toast, may cost up to 50 cents extra, but about 90% of the sides come with the entrée.

D.B.A. is the definition of a perfect restaurant. The atmosphere is unique and lively, the food is delicious and filling, and there is simply nothing unlikeable about this little-known local barbeque place tucked away along North Highland.

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