accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Kevin Gillespie still searching for perfect BBQ location

Kevin Gillespie does his thing Sunday at Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, at For Food's Sake fundraiser

Kevin Gillespie does his thing Sunday at Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, at For Food's Sake fundraiser

Former Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie hasn’t given up on his plan to open a barbecue restaurant. He just hasn’t found the right spot.

Not that there isn’t plenty of vacant restaurant real estate in Atlanta, but locations he has seen so far all tend to be too big. He wants to find a place that seats about 40 people.

“It’s not about making tons of money,” he said. “It’s about doing it right.”

Gillespie served pork both sliced and chopped

Gillespie served pork both sliced and chopped

Buzz can attest that it’ll be worth the wait. Gillespie was the featured chef at Sunday’s For Food’s Sake benefit at Dunaway Gardens in Newnan. Gillespie cooked a whole pig, donated by Buckhead Beef, overnight, and served it both sliced and NC-style, chopped and vinegary, with sides of fresh slaw, potato salad and slices of white bread from Holeman & Finch.

The feast was paired with beers selected by brewmaster Crawford Moran of 5 Seasons Brewery.

As you probably know, Gillespie, a Henry County native, passed up a full scholarship to MIT in order to pursue his culinary dreams. Over time he came to embrace the organic, sustainable source ethic.

“It kind of came to me by accident,” he said, reflecting on his early days in the kitchen. “Where you got your food from was secondary. Focusing on minutae is what made you a good chef. Then one day it came to me: start with a better raw quality ingredients. If you want to make good food you have to start with good ingredients. I began to see rustic food could have this amazing charm.”

The rest, of course, is history. While the hunt for the perfect Q joint continues, Gillespie keeps packing the house at Woodfire Grill, where he is executive chef. While it may seem impossible to snag a reservation, he had this tip for foodies seeking a place at his table.

“Don’t use OpenTable,” he said, referring to the online booking site. “I pay people to answer phones. They will try everything to find you a spot!”

Gillespie with event hosts Julie and Josh Fisher. Josh is the director of Dunaway Gardens, a botanical gem about 30 miles south of Atlanta. His mother Jennifer Bigham purchased the tract a decade ago and has restored the former theatrical arts colony to its original splendor.

Gillespie with event hosts Julie and Josh Fisher. Josh is the director of Dunaway Gardens, a botanical gem about 30 miles south of Atlanta. His mother Jennifer Bigham purchased the tract a decade ago and has restored the former theatrical arts colony to its original splendor.

53 comments Add your comment

Big Jim

July 26th, 2010
12:36 pm

I’m first! I Gillespie reads this,could he open his restaurant in
SC.Maybe Columbia,Charleston,or Greenville. Then he’d be
close enough for me to ask for a job.I’ve always wanted to be
a Chef,but made other choices.

Much props to Kevin.

Dominique Love

July 26th, 2010
3:40 pm

Last night was amazing!! I loved the BBQ but his fabulous deviled eggs with bacon jam won me over …. so delicious! I can’t stop thinking about them today!!

- Dominique Love, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Alice Mabone

July 26th, 2010
4:07 pm

I have the perfect location. Fayetteville, GA, Hwy 85, Building once was Johnny Carinos.
It is the perfect location. However, this has to be the BEST QUE in miles. If you serve good food, people will come.

RK

July 26th, 2010
4:10 pm

Everything seems to be going to the West Side…

peggy

July 26th, 2010
4:14 pm

MAN ALAN, I’D LOVE FOR HIS TO OPEN A PLACE IN ALPHARETTA

Rob

July 26th, 2010
4:14 pm

There are a lot of intimate spaces downtown with captive audience for lunch and dinners – no BBQ downtown as of yet!!

KD

July 26th, 2010
4:18 pm

Come to Monroe in Walton County, not many bldg.code problems you will have to go up against and there is not a fire marshal, should be a breeze and this area is a up and coming community.land and space is still reasonable.

eavdawg11

July 26th, 2010
4:21 pm

EAST ATLANTA VILLAGE!

foodlova

July 26th, 2010
4:24 pm

Come to Ashford Park! There are ton of small spaces available within waling distances of huge neighborhoods and we dont have a lot of choices. Haven is here already and Verde, but we need some bbq besides pig n chik (yuck).

theladylove

July 26th, 2010
4:29 pm

The old Depot restaurant space is vacant on Memorial Drive in Reynoldstown. That would be a great spot!

Loves Barbeque

July 26th, 2010
4:31 pm

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE COME TO CHAMBLEE TUCKER ROAD NEAR OR IN THE EMBRY HILLS SHOPPING CENTER. I LOVE BARBEQUE AND WE REALLY DON’T HAVE THAT MANY PLACES TO EAT OTHER THAN WENDY’S, MCDONALD’S, S&S CAFETERIA WHICH HAS HORRIBLE FOOD AND GALAXY WHICH IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT YOU GET. PRETTY PLEASE COME HERE

JRP

July 26th, 2010
4:31 pm

Come to Douglasville..OK, I can wish can’t I?

Can't Wait

July 26th, 2010
4:33 pm

The now vacant space where The Depot used to be (on Memorial Drive)… Great space, not too large, and selfishly for me, within walking distance.

Newnan is good

July 26th, 2010
4:35 pm

There are plenty of spaces for this in Newnan…in the old downtown area or the newer side of Newnan… and we could use the increase in business.

Todd

July 26th, 2010
4:40 pm

I agree with the folks above… The Depot space is perfect, there is also a lot of great stuff along Edgewood Ave (close to the Soundtable and The Corner Tavern). That whole area is hot (and hopefully will have extended bar hours soon :)

Paul

July 26th, 2010
4:40 pm

DOWNTOWN ATLANTA!
We need good BBQ in Downtown. There is PLENTY of parking and a huge walking lunch crowd. The spaces in Downtown are unique and small enough to accommodate his vision.

A drunkards ramblings

July 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

Seems like a Westside type place and the restaurants around there seem to be doing pretty well. Miller Union was packed and wonderful as always Saturday night.

Erin

July 26th, 2010
4:43 pm

The old Party Q site on Chastain Meadows in the Wal Mart shopping plaza in Marietta. It’s quaint. Good area for a lot of foot traffic. Previous owner was a crappy business owner.

Chris

July 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

Hope he finds a place in Norcross! I need Great BBQ!

STEVE

July 26th, 2010
4:46 pm

THE OLD MICKS BUILDING AT 557 PEACHTREE STREET

Al Burns

July 26th, 2010
4:46 pm

The Perfect spot in in my front yard……YUM, YUM!!!!

Roekest

July 26th, 2010
4:48 pm

What a f—ing hypocrite!

He says it’s not about making money, yet he wants an intimate space big enough for 40 people. That will just have the effect of the restaurant being labeled “exclusive” and will drive demand for a seat there even higher, thus raising prices. Nothing gets the Atlanta ignorant-a-ratti going better than label some hole in the wall “exclusive”.

I spit on you City-Dwellers!

Jon

July 26th, 2010
4:56 pm

@Roekest: jealous much? let me guess, you actually haven’t ventured too far into the big bad city so go ahead and ignore the fact that the best chefs are in the city and thus the best food is well, in the city!

Chief

July 26th, 2010
4:58 pm

Inman Park, Little Five Points area.

Adams Crossing Resident

July 26th, 2010
5:02 pm

There is a perfect small building available at 2308 Marietta Rd NW near Riverside and Bolton. Was once a hardware store, but I imagine a BBQ restaurant every day I pass it. Either way, can’t wait to try some new ‘Que!

Billy jo bob

July 26th, 2010
5:06 pm

Don’t come to Woodstock! Bub-Ba-Q is so much better than the crap that Kevin serves up!

pitboss

July 26th, 2010
5:07 pm

Look at the city of Dacula area. We need a good BBQ resturant.

Vman

July 26th, 2010
5:19 pm

264 Peters Street @ Castleberry Hill, 2650 SF of awesome space.

VoiceOf Reason

July 26th, 2010
5:22 pm

East Point….. everything here is small!

Chiatt

July 26th, 2010
5:25 pm

I can’t believe someone hasn’t offered up Decatur. Plenty of intimate restaurant space on W. Ponce de Leon Ave. Fox Bros on Dekalb Ave packs them in like crazy and any competition in the area could easily pull in the overflow and vice versa. As far as a food destination, this area can’t be beat. Plenty of parking in the 300 block of W. Ponce near the former Tastings Wine Experience cafe/bistro space. Plenty of room for a nice outbuilding for smokin’ up the butts. Bring on the pork!

Glenn

July 26th, 2010
5:26 pm

As much as I’d like to see Kevin come to the Woodstock/Canton area, I know that’s not going to happen, so I agree with those who suggest the West side.

Jaybird

July 26th, 2010
5:39 pm

Westside would be cool, as would Castleberry Hill. Either or, I am close!

And for the one that was complaining. Lame. Its his restaurant, he can do whatever he wants! Keeping it small keeps a lot of costs down – staff, furniture, heating/air, lighting, etc. Jackhole.

barb

July 26th, 2010
5:45 pm

there is a new(restaurant) building that has never been occupied in alpharetta down the street form Pure-

Scooby

July 26th, 2010
5:51 pm

Memorial Drive, just east of Boulevard. Plenty of smaller, interesting spaces

Paul

July 26th, 2010
5:53 pm

Funny Chef Kevin is quoted saying not to use opentable.com in the article…but the Woodfire Grill home page and reservations pages have it plastered there…perhaps by changing your marketing to change the behavior of your patrons. Telling me to do one thing while wishing the other is straight insanity.

Scottie L.

July 26th, 2010
5:56 pm

Put in Decatur! We got everything but good BBQ. We got beer, tacos, burritos, hamburgers, and seafood, but NO BBQ!

ViewFromMidtown

July 26th, 2010
5:56 pm

Unfortunately for the OTPers, I think he wants to it to be close to Woodfire (the previous rumored location was the former Brake-O at Cheshire Bridge and Piedmont) as it will continue on. So I’d suggest the former Agnes & Muriel’s space on Monroe. It would accommodate around 40 diners and is close to Woodfire.

Pi$$onaDawg

July 26th, 2010
6:03 pm

if it is ITP then make sure there is plenty of parking and free too. No customers ticketed or booted.

Dave

July 26th, 2010
6:11 pm

I wonder if the ‘que will come on a big white plate with a dab of pork, a spot of a couple of sides and a hefty price tag.

raildog00

July 26th, 2010
6:15 pm

Come to Canton, Ga. Need a good BBQ Joint.

Marcos

July 26th, 2010
6:48 pm

There is a great old building tucked away on Mangum Street in Castleberry Hill that would be PERFECT.

jay

July 26th, 2010
7:08 pm

downtown rome, georgia

red

July 26th, 2010
7:35 pm

I would say downtown / Reynoldstown is to close to the BBQ joints of Daddy D’s, Rolling Bones, and Fox Brothers not to mention that one that just opened near boulevard and Memorial. I would second the Decatur location or even briarcliff and clairmont area .

Kevin, you need to pull the trigger and stop him hawing.

Linda

July 26th, 2010
7:48 pm

We have several perfect locations in Ball Ground, Georgia. One site on main street was a restaurant until recently, is perfectly ready for another restaurant and, guess what, seats about 40. Quaint, friendly little town. Come on to Cherokee County!

Atlantan

July 26th, 2010
8:43 pm

The Westside makes sense as there is only one BBQ spot on 14th.
Agnes & Muriels spot would be great as it is close to where I live
There is nothing in Midtown proper (lots of empty space too) or S. Buckhead that sells BBQ

regular diner

July 26th, 2010
8:44 pm

Who cares??!!

Steve Trevor

July 26th, 2010
8:56 pm

How about taking over the old Silver Grill spot on Monroe and 8th?

DebDoes

July 26th, 2010
9:02 pm

I agree with the one comment, Kevin…build it and they will come. And, do it now while we all know who you are and are following your career. Love Woodfire, want to come back….ouch to Open Table, but hey, I’ll call direct next time.

Esther Andrew

July 27th, 2010
10:48 am

An incredible evening at Dunaway Gardens and thank you to our special guests of Steve Esau of Niman Ranch,Crawford Moran of 5 Seasons Brewery, Buckhead Beef, Smart Water and, especially, Top Chef Kevin Gillespie.
Esther Andrew http://www.forfoodssake.org

Roekest

July 27th, 2010
3:47 pm

@ Jon,

Well, duh! Of course the best chefs are in the city, but not all the best food is. GA Shrimp Co. in Peachtree City is outstanding! And I’m jealous? You bet your city-arse I am. All we have in my area is Sprayberry’s and it isn’t even that good.