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Food Chatter: Q&A with The Pecan's Tony Morrow

Chef Tony Morrow, owner of the award-winning upscale Southern resto, The Pecan, has a new project located just a couple of blocks south of his company’s flagship in downtown College Park. The spot will not only serve up some serious barbecue, but will add another neighborhood bistro to the Southside dining scene.

Tony Morrow’s Real Pit BBQ is located at 3807 Main Street in a building built in the 1920’s. It will feature old school Southern barbecue combined with nouveau design features like Coca-Cola stained floors, cowhide covered booths, and an exhibition barbecue pit where customers can watch the pit master create edible magic.

For three years, Morrow has been planning his ode to the pit barbeque he enjoyed as a kid at his family’s business in Decatur, Alabama. The New York native was raised in Atlanta, and has an impressive culinary CV that includes a stint at Buckhead Life Restaurants. He is also an MBA and a retired Air Force officer who is, in addition to running a restaurant, a catering company, and writing a cookbook, opening two restaurants at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Morrow took some time from his hectic schedule last week to talk about his latest venture and how he plans to add something special to the Southside’s barbecue offerings.

Q: What is it about Tony Morrow’s Real Pit BBQ that will make it special?
TM: My parent’s family owns a barbecue pit restaurant in Decatur, Alabama, and our restaurant will barbecue our meat just like they do over there. It is a real pit style barbecue; the fire will never touch the meat. There will be an exhibition pit like nowhere else in Atlanta that will allow our guests an opportunity to watch just how their barbecue is being prepared. We will also be using a local meat supplier that will allow us to offer a premium product to our customers. In addition, we are offering a humidor and cigar locker service and a portion of our 3,000-square-foot covered patio will be sectioned off to permit cigar smoking.

Q: When will it open and what will be the hours of operation?
TM: We are planning on opening by early May. We will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Breakfast will be served on Saturdays and brunch on Sundays with earlier opening times. Customers can also enjoy dine-in or takeout.

Q: Who designed the restaurant? It doesn’t look like a typical barbecue joint.
TM: I started out wanting to do a shack, but as I got into the project, my creative juices kicked in. I added some artwork for the walls, some reclaimed wood, and some dramatic light fixtures. We want to offer our customers a relaxed atmosphere with comfortable seating at either a table on the patio, or our cowhide booths inside. We put in some flatscreen televisions so that our customers can check out sporting events while dining with us as well.

Q: Describe some of your menu items.
TM: We will offer both Memphis-style dry rub and Carolina-style barbecue. We will source everything locally: our soul food sides like collard greens come from a local farmer. We will have some lighter fare like our barbecue chicken salad as well. We probably will not have our liquor license until June, so until then we will be BYOB.

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Question of the Week: What soon-to-open OTP Mexican restaurant is promising to bring a completely different type of Mexican cuisine to Atlanta?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What ATL resto that is nationally lauded for its take on New South cuisine is now being recognized for its coffee?—is Empire State South.