Second night of my friend’s visit to Atlanta involved a trip for some good ol’ Southern BBQ. Being the first Yankee visitor that I’ve had who is brave to cross the Mason-Dixon line, I made it a goal that weekend to feed her well and show her what true hospitality (Southern hospitality) is all about. Our original location was Fat Matt’s (which I myself have yet to try) off Piedmont Rd., but I heard that it was difficult to seat large parties, and they didn’t take reservations. A local friend recommended Swallow at the Hollow, located in downtown Roswell. While they didn’t take reservations either, it was easier to seat a party of seven or eight.
This restaurant is pretty hard to find actually. Unless you read a Yelp review and know that it looks like an old barn on the outside with corn and tomatoes in the front yard, you probably will mistake it for someone’s storage shed. However, you can’t miss the large groups of people waiting outside because like Fat Matt’s, they do not take reservations. I would have to say that perhaps the biggest flaw of the night was the fact that because they do not take reservations, I had to choose first-come-first-serve. That essentially involved seating outside where for some reason that day, there were a lot of gnats. I think it could be because of the smoked meat that was way back or also the smell of food outside. Luckily, the restaurant was gracious enough to set out a bottle of bug repellant at the seating counter.
Today’s tasting menu:
Baby-back ribs (1/2 slab): The meat was pretty tender but I wouldn’t say it was falling off the bone. Be warned, the table comes served with the three types of BBQ sauce – 1) mustard-based 2) ketchup-based and 3) vinegar-based. However, the ribs will come dressed with the house sauce unless you specify that you want them served dry. I personally prefer the ketchup-based sauce myself, but the vinegar was pretty good as well. I am not a fan of mustard in general and so did not like the mustard-based sauce all too much.
Mac-n’-cheese: two sides come with each BBQ platter so I decided to get the Mac-n’-Cheese. It was by far the best Mac-n’-Cheese that I have ever tasted, even beating out the infamous Zingerman’s up in Ann Arbor. For one, the cheese in this dish was not too strong, and it wasn’t too watery. The viscosity was pretty much perfect. Not to mention, there was no crustiness on top compared to the Zingerman’s Mac-n’-Cheese. The macaroni was not overcooked but it wasn’t served al dente either. Altogether it was a fabulous side to get.
Fried Green Tomatoes, served with ranch: this was my second choice of side. I LOVE tomatoes, and so I was looking forward to this very much. It had gotten great reviews on Yelp as well. The tomatoes are sliced and then rolled in what seems to be cornbread dough or cornbread crumbs. Then they are deep fried and served with ranch dressing. It is a great combination. Be careful though because sometimes they come served with another dinner entree, but they are served on the bottom of the entree and come out pretty soggy. You can also get them served as an appetizer in a Fried Green Tomatoes basket.
- babyback ribs: ***.5 (3.5 stars) – for not falling off the bone
- mac-n-cheese: **** (4 stars)
- fried green tomatoes: ****.5 (4.5 stars)
If you wanted to check out Swallow at the Hollow for yourself:1072 Green Street
Roswell, GA 30075-3638