South Carolina pitmaster John Lewis is joining Atlanta’s barbecue scene

Lewis Barbecue to serve Central Texas-style ‘cue in Ansley Mall next summer


Photo by Andrew Cebulka

Atlanta is no stranger to good barbecue. Justin and Jonathan Fox have been slinging meat on DeKalb Avenue for years, Rodney Scott launched his namesake restaurant on Metropolitan Parkway in 2021, and Heirloom Market puts a Korean spin on the Southern staple, just to name a few of the metro’s standout options. But there’s always room for more. South Carolina pitmaster John Lewis is bringing his Central Texas-style barbecue to Ansley Mall next year with a location just off the Atlanta BeltLine.

“It’s an awesome location with tons of parking and not too many restaurant options. It’ll fill a need,” Lewis says.

The 11,000-square foot restaurant will take over the spaces formerly home to Laundry Lounge and the Hideaway, behind Publix and Cook’s Warehouse. Clear Creek runs near by, and a pedestrian bridge was recently installed to allow BeltLine users to easily access the shops. Lewis and team will build out the area to feature six, 1,000-gallon barbecue pits, where they will smoke meat over indirect heat.

“We have a heavy emphasis on beef and use offset barbecue pits with all wood. It’s similar to whole hog barbecue,” Lewis explains.

Sliced brisket

Photo by Robert Donovan

Lewis Barbecue sells meat by weight and there are no combo platters. Designed to be speedy, the counter service model will be “all build your own adventure,” Lewis says.

The menu will be like those at Lewis’s other locations, featuring brisket, pulled pork, spareribs, turkey, and sausage, plus a variety of vegetarian sides. Offerings unique to the Atlanta restaurant lean toward bar food—think smoked wings, a green chile cheeseburger, and some salads. Daily specials range from smoked prime rib with steak fries to a take on the Arby’s beef and cheddar sandwich. On Saturdays, the restaurant will serve a massive beef short rib in limited quantity.

Lewis says his is the type of barbecue that doesn’t need sauce, yet he offers four varieties: vinegar, tomato-based, roasted hatch green chile, and a new “secret sauce” he declines to elaborate on.

Sides are aplenty—braised green beans, collard greens, fries, baked mac ‘n’ cheese, potato salad, cole slaw, and Cowboy-style pinto beans—but the number one seller is green chile corn pudding. Lewis describes is as “between cornbread and a souffle, cheesy and spicy with crispy edges and a soft and gooey inside.” Dessert is in the works, and a full bar will be available. Lewis says he’s hoping to partner with local breweries to debut his barbecue at pop-ups in the fall.

Prime rib and steak fries

Photo by Andrew Cebulka