Sam and Dave's Dynasty - Photo Albums - Atlanta Magazine
 
 In 2006 the team opened Sam and Dave’s BBQ-2 on the other side of Cobb County, a mile away from Marietta Square. This one had plenty of seating—and more shelves for displaying competition trophies.

Sam and Dave's Dynasty

Strip mall outposts, stainless-steel smokers, and one mystical mac and cheese recipe: The story of a tiny Marietta upstart that sired four of our Top Ten barbecue joints
updated 04.12.13

  • David Poe and Sam Huff opened Sam and Dave’s BBQ-1 in late 2004, in 
a small storefront (mostly for takeout) in a Marietta strip mall. Both were competitive barbecue champions. Poe had run a barbecue catering company, Stump and Sons, 
with his family since 1975. Huff, an attorney, was an avid barbecue hobbyist.
    David Poe and Sam Huff opened Sam and Da…
  • They brought in David Roberts as a partner to help run the kitchen. (Poe catered Roberts’s wedding.) Roberts had worked in some of the city’s most pedigreed restaurants, including the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead with Guenter Seeger. One of the side dishes drew nearly as much attention as the meats: a deliriously caloric mac and cheese with fat rigatoni noodles, cheddar, Parmesan, Monterey Jack, and heavy cream. It was inspired by the version made by Roberts’s mom.
    They brought in David Roberts as a partn…
  •  In 2006 the team opened Sam and Dave’s BBQ-2 on the other side of Cobb County, a mile away from Marietta Square. This one had plenty of seating—and more shelves for displaying competition trophies.
    In 2006 the team opened Sam and Dave’s …
  • Roberts left the company in 2007, and in 2009 Poe and Huff amicably parted ways. Huff kept the BBQ-1 location, expanding next door a year later to create a dining room (adorned with trophies, natch), while his ex-partner rechristened the second location Dave Poe’s BBQ. Their menus remained nearly identical.
    Roberts left the company in 2007, and in…
  •  Roberts (with partners Stuart Baesel, also a Sam and Dave’s alum, and Jim Laber) opened Community Q BBQ in Decatur in the fall of 2009. Comparisons to his Marietta counterparts were inevitable: Like Poe and Huff, Roberts uses a Southern Pride SPK-500 gas-fired, wood-burning smoker for his meats. And though he crafts special sides like smoked sweet potatoes with braised kale, the three-cheese mac once again steals the show.
    Roberts (with partners Stuart Baesel, a…
  •  Back in Marietta: Robert Owens had joined the Sam and Dave’s crew in 2007, running the kitchen at BBQ-2 and then, after the split, working as general manager of Sam’s BBQ-1. After a couple of years, he planned to run his own joint, teaming with chef Gregory Vivier, a barbecue-loving Frenchman.
    Back in Marietta: Robert Owens had join…
  • Owens and Vivier opened Grand Champion BBQ in Roswell in 2011, and a second location in a Milton a year later. Yep, they both landed in strip malls and use SPK-500s. And they added smoked Gouda to the mac, but the rigatoni poking out from a bubbly mass of cheese and cream still look temptingly familiar.
    Owens and Vivier opened Grand Champion B…