Wednesday, December 12, 2012


After the War Between the States, one of the first major black settlements in Atlanta that helped support the textile mills was an area once known as Blandtown, named after a former slave, Felix Bland. Turn the clock forward over a hundred years to find that the small wooden bungalows of Blandtown, now known as West Midtown, have been replaced and transformed into one of the hippest places to hang with friends at one of its many bars or eateries.  In August 2012, the team that created the highly successful P’Cheen on North Highland opened Bone Lick BBQ in the multi-purpose complex Apex West Midtown serving some of the best ‘que in Atlanta, if not the South.  Up until then you could only taste Chef Mike LaSage, a master griller, at P’cheen on Monday nights.  His smoked treats were so popular that there was usually a long wait or worse his meats would sell out. Now you no longer have to wait for a Monday for Mike to fire up his smoker as its fire burns seven days a week giving Blandtown a reason to no longer be bland.

One of the distinctive feature of Bone Lick BBQ besides the aromas coming from the monster smoker that’s housed behind the restaurant, is its lively bar scene.  Part of Bone Lick’s vibe is its fun-filled arcade of the classic video games as well a vintage skee ball that after a few drinks will challenge ones pride to go for that 300 score.  Besides serving an assortment of tall boys, there are “some slap you silly” cocktails that will ignite the soul while adding a twinkle to the eye. The Proud Mary (Keeps on Burnin’) is a tangy sipper that’s made with hot pepper infused Old Smoky Moonshine and an ultra-spicy bloody Mary Mix that gives this drink a soulful zing - after one of these you just might get that Tina shimmy going. Then there’s the Michelada, which is a drink that’s inspired from one of Mike’s south of the border daze.  Take a tall boy Tecate, add a tangy dark limejuice mixture, hot sauce, and serve it over ice - this drink packs a pleasing punch and seems to never end, nor does the buzz.  In Mexico it is believed that this spicy beverage is a cure for hangovers - think the jury is still out on that one, but I’m willing to give it a try. 

Just as the cocktails are not for the meek and timid, neither are the foods as their flavors are bold and have a tongue tingling flair that will fire up those lazy taste buds - literally. Mike uses pig skulls to designate the level of hotness with his foods so choose wisely.  The starters are made with a sense of playfulness and are a fun place to begin while sipping on a cold one.  The southern caviar aka boiled peanuts can be ordered natural or with a little jalapeño heat, I prefer the heat especially with the Michelada.  There are some table sharing appetizers like the flash fried homemade pickles chips that are served with three awesome dipping sauces, or the plump chicken wings that are marinated 48 hours in a tangy hot sauce then smoked for 3 hours. Both are absolutely scrumptious.  The mega-starter that has a little bit of everything is the Big Ole Totties – chopped smoked sausage, pulled pork, Brunswick stew, a chipotle sauce with sweet heat, sliced jalapeños, and a house made cheese sauce that’s served over a mound of crispy potato tots.  This will surely spoil anyone’s Jenny Craig diet, but it is so darn good, so why not?

The meats coming from Mike’s Ole Hickory Pit Smoker, which is a Cadillac of smokers, can be ordered either as a sammy (sandwich), stand alone entrée, or a combination; no mater which is chosen the serving size is quite large and makes for a great midnight snack.  There’s a juicy pulled pork, pecan-smoked chicken, a ultra-tender 15 hour smoked beef brisket, a zesty housemade sausage, and the “to die for” spare ribs – these fall off the bone ribs are charred perfectly.  To compliment the pecan/ hickory smoked flavors of these succulent meats, Mike has created a variety of sauces with different degrees of tanginess to play with - a pepper vinegar, sweet heat Kansas City, tomatoey North Carolina, or a sassy mustard based sauce - until the perfect taste is found, never knew it’s so much fun to play with your food. 

There are a number of memorable side dishes that will add a bit of spice into your life- in a good way.  The award winning pork braised collards and pork ‘n’ beans are lip-smacking delicious, the crispy cole slaw has a nice sweet and sourness about it, but whatever make sure that you at least taste the OMG Jalapeño Mac’n’Cheese- it is the best in the city and may even cause a slight drool – don’t worry as happens often at Bone Lick BBQ.  Just as the wooly mammoths were attracted to the salt licks after its name-sake Big Bone Lick State Park in Western Kentucky, we twenty-first century carnivores now have a place in West Midtown to go to lick our fingers, sip a brew, share some laughs, and just maybe one day score 300 on that skee ball machine at Bone Lick BBQ.  Enjoy Living Life…

LGTG FRIENDLY *****                  
FOOD ****                                            
PRICE *****                                   
  AMBIENCE ****        
DRINKS ****   


Bone Lick BBQ on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I agree with most everything you said here, except your praise of the jalapeno mac and cheese. It's pretty good, but I like the Blaxican's a whole lot more. That is my favorite in the city.

    I'm overdue for a return to Bone Lick. My one trip was a pleasure, and people keep saying that they're getting better all the time.