B’s Cracklin’ BBQ owner discusses plans to reopen after fire

Chef Bryan Furman, shown arranging meat on the smoker at B’s Cracklin Barbecue in Atlanta, plans to rebuild after a recent fire at his restaurant.

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Chef Bryan Furman, shown arranging meat on the smoker at B’s Cracklin Barbecue in Atlanta, plans to rebuild after a recent fire at his restaurant.

Ever since award-winning B's Cracklin' Barbecue went up in flames in early March, devotees of the barbecue joint have wondered when they once again could get their fill of owner-pitmaster Bryan Furman's smoked meats.

It may be sooner than expected.

“We are currently looking at two temporary locations,” Furman said. Both are in Atlanta’s Riverside neighborhood, near the 2061 Main St. address that was damaged when a March 6 fire broke out in the restaurant’s barbecue pit area.

Furman has submitted a letter of intent on one location. If that works out, he foresees opening it as a pop-up within two to three months. “The only holdup would be getting the smokehouse approved,” he said. “It would be a mobile smokehouse, so I don’t expect it to be hard.”

He is scheduled to visit another site this week.

If either spot works out, it would be a temporary measure, while Furman finds a permanent B’s Cracklin’ location in Atlanta. He said that he would like to purchase and rebuild the property on Main Street, which he tried to buy two years ago, but the $1 million price tag was out of his range.

In the meantime, fundraising efforts are underway to help Furman stoke the fire once more.

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Pitmaster-owner of B’s Cracklin BBQ, Bryan Furman answers some burning questions from his thoughts on Yelp to his feelings about tofu. (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC)

On March 30, pitmasters from around the country banded together for a collaborative dinner at Truth BBQ in Houston to support relief efforts for B’s Cracklin’. According to Furman, the event raised $17,000, with tickets selling at $175 a person.

Go Fund Me page has raised nearly $2,300.

“I’m honored. I’m blessed,” Furman said of the support from the local restaurant scene and the barbecue community across the nation.

“I’ve been through this before,” he said, recalling the fire that destroyed the first B’s Cracklin’ location in Savannah in June, 2015. Pitmasters and chefs from restaurants around the Southeast helped Furman rebuild in Savannah, and encouraged him to branch out with an Atlanta restaurant. “When it happened, I was a nobody. I grew in those couple years,” he said.

ExploreEarlier this year, Furman received his first James Beard Foundation award nomination, when he was named a semifinalist for its best chef award in the Southeast region. 

Last week, Food & Wine magazine named him to its class of 2019 Best New Chefs. 

“I’m the first pitmaster to win that award,” Furman said of the accolade, which Food & Wine has been bestowing for the past 31 years.

But, when it comes to the chef title, he’s not so sure. “I’m a cook first.”

ExploreRead the 2018 AJC Fall Dining Guide: Dining on Buford Highway

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