DBA Barbecue closing in Virginia-Highland after 15 years

Food from the menu of DBA Barbecue. / Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

Credit: Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

Credit: Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

Food from the menu of DBA Barbecue. / Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

DBA Barbecue, which has been a fixture in Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland for 15 years, is set to close its doors later this month.

The restaurant, which opened at 1190 North Highland Ave. NE in 2009, will shutter after dinner service on Feb. 25. A location that opened on Roswell Road near Chastain Park in 2023 will remain open. Matt Coggins, who owns DBA with his parents, Tom and Lee, is also slated to open a new concept, DBA Tacos & BBQ, in the next few weeks in Clarkston.

Coggin said that he decided not to renew his lease in Virginia-Highland after realizing that he wanted to focus on the other two locations

“During the pandemic, when we closed our dine-in area and set up a makeshift drive-thru, it was the first time in a long time that I really appreciated hospitality again,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was so much simpler. A full-service restaurant, regardless of the circumstances, is way more complicated.”

The smaller footprints and counter-service setups of the Chastain and Clarkston spots “is a business decision, but mostly a life decision,” he said. Closing on Highland Avenue will also mean his mother, who lives within walking distance, will finally be able to retire.

Employees at the Virginia-Highland location will be offered employment at the other DBA restaurants and catering business.

The Chastain location, which will expand its hours to open daily starting Feb. 26, features a pared-down version of the Virginia-Highland restaurant’s offerings, including smoked pork, brisket, ribs, wings, chicken and turkey plates and sandwiches and sides along with beer, wine and cocktails.

Matt Coggin, the owner of DBA Barbecue and the forthcoming DBA BBQ and DBA Tacos and BBQ. / Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

Credit: Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

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Credit: Courtesy of DBA Barbecue

Set to open in April at 4540 East Ponce de Leon Ave., DBA Tacos & BBQ will offer barbecue as well as eight street tacos, several of which will be made with the meat smoked at the restaurant. Another addition to the Clarkston menu: Halal meat that Coggins will prepare in its own smoker to keep it away from pork. Beer, wine and cocktails will also be available.

Coggin has long loved street tacos, and often offered them on the menu at DBA Sandwich Company, the now-shuttered eatery he opened in the Irwin Street Market in 2020.

The restaurant will be housed in a 2,600-square-foot, window-filled space with a patio and parking lot. Though dine-in service will be available, the focus will be on takeout, particularly through a renovated drive-thru.

Coggins said that while he’s looking forward to streamlining his operation, the decision to close was bittersweet.

“I’ve been working in or operating in Virginia-Highland since 1997,” said Coggins, who, before opening DBA worked at restaurants including La Tavola and the now-shuttered Harvest and Sala. “It’s going to be really weird. DBA has become a nuclear part of my family. But I couldn’t ask for anything better from the neighborhood. I’ve basically seen three generations come through one neighborhood.”

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