Pig-N-Chik

5071 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 100, Chamblee, 770-451-1112

A few years back, Journal-Constitution dining critic John Kessler put the original Pig-N-Chik (on Roswell Road) on the chow hound map when he declared the barbecue there to be "glorious stuff." As the company has grown to three Atlanta locations, Kessler's quote can still be found emblazoned on the menu. But a recent visit to Pig-N-Chik in Chamblee wasn't a completely transcendent experience.

CUE UP: The Chamblee space, located at the tip of an aging strip center, is actually rather lively inside. Walls are covered chock-a-block with athletic pennants, beer signs, random license plates, cutesy BBQ paraphernalia and such. Especially at lunchtime, there's often a long line leading to the order counter. But service is efficient and friendly. Grab a drink and some plastic utensils, and find a seat at one of the tables — which are well-equipped for serious eating, with checkered plastic cloths, a selection of sauces, and a roll of paper towels.

PIG-N-MORE: Pig-N-Chik made its bones on its pulled pork, which is indeed lean and moist, and almost ham-like, if sometimes missing smoky surface "bark." It's best enjoyed on thick bread (ask for it toasted), with a generous squirt of sauce — choose from sweet ketchup-based, or better yet, the thin, vinegar-pepper or mustard-based offerings. The beef comes sliced in thick, juicy hunks that resemble pot roast as much as barbecue, but also lack the pizazz of smoke and crust. Worse yet, the ribs are too soft, and not well rendered, falling off the bone in fatty globs. Venturing further into the something-for-everyone menu, other choices include chicken, turkey or cold smoked salmon, and even nachos and chicken wings. There's also a kids meal menu.

SIDE SHOW: Like the barbecue, sides can be a mixed bag. The tangy slaw is a highlight, with a crunchy mix of red and white cabbage, lots of vinegar and just a hint of mayo. Though definitely not purist-approved, the Brunswick stew is meaty and full of potatoes, corn and lima beans, in a spicy, pepper pot-like broth. Generic crinkle cut fries are fine for swirling in the stew or barbecue sauce. Mac-n-cheese is essentially elbows slathered in Velveeta. But baked beans, fried okra and "corn off the cob" may all be worth a try. Chocolate, banana cream and pecan pie are what's for dessert. And for a sugar blast from the past, there's always the classic combo of an R.C. Cola and a Moon Pie.

Pig-N-Chik, 5071 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 100, Chamblee, 770-451-1112. www.pignchik.net

BEER HERE: Besides de rigueur sweet tea, lemonade and assorted soft drinks, beer is available for dine-in customers. Draft selections have included local favorites, Sweetwater 420 and Terrapin Rye Pale Ale.

HOURS: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10:30

a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays

PRICES: Plates, $7.20-$21.30; sandwiches, $5-$6.45; sides, $1.75-$2

CREDIT CARDS: MasterCard; Visa; American Express

RESERVATIONS: No

RECOMMENDED DISHES: Pulled pork sandwich, slaw, Brunswick stew

PARKING: Lot

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

SMOKING POLICY: No

NOISE LEVEL: Moderate

TAKEOUT: Yes

VERDICT: Pig out on pulled pork sandwiches and slaw at the Chamblee location of the popular barbecue joint.

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