Award-winning Atlanta BBQ restaurant destroyed in fire

B's Cracklin' Barbecue, an award-winning restaurant in the Riverside neighborhood of northwest Atlanta, went up in flames Wednesday morning, the second time its chef has lost his restaurant to fire.

Fire crews worked to put out flames shooting from the roof of B's Cracklin' Barbecue in the Riverside neighborhood of northwest Atlanta Wednesday morning.


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Bryan Furman and his wife Nikki opened the location on Main Street in 2016 after fire destroyed the first B’s Cracklin’ location in Savannah. Pitmasters and chefs from restaurants around the Southeast, including several popular local spots, helped Furman to rebuild in Savannah and encouraged him to branch out into the Atlanta restaurant scene.

RELATED: First Look: A taste of B's Cracklin' Barbecue in Riverside

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Nikki and Bryan Furman, owners of B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue

The fire started about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the restaurant’s barbecue pit area, according to Atlanta fire officials.

Furman said he woke up to a phone call alerting him to an activated door alarm. When he looked on his surveillance camera feed, he saw smoke filling the eatery.

He ran to his bedroom window to see flames shooting from the pit house chimney, he said.

The restaurant smokes meat overnight, but Furman said the cook wasn’t there when he arrived a few minutes later. He tried to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived. They spread too fast.

The blaze proved tough even for fire crews, fire spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said at the scene.

“We had guys in there working, but our incident command pulled them out as a safety issue due to the fact that the roof was in fact collapsing due to the extent of the fire that was moving here this morning,” Stafford said.

The fire was not extinguished until after 6 a.m. Investigators are working to determine its cause.

At one point, crews had to back off firefighting efforts because the restaurant's roof started to collapse, according to Atlanta fire officials.  JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

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In 2017, food website Eater named B’s Cracklin’ restaurant of the year in Atlanta.

"B's Cracklin' BBQ in Riverside is the sort of place that attracts the attention of purists, for good reason," AJC food writer Wyatt Williams wrote in his review.

Just last month, Furman was named a semifinalist for the coveted 2019 James Beard Award. He is in the running for the best chef in the Southeast.

WATCH: Questions with Bryan Furman of B's Cracklin BBQ

In a message posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, the owners said B’s Cracklin’ “will be closed until further notice.”

Furman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he's determined to get his restaurant up and running as soon as possible.

“I’m going to reopen,” he said. “That’s not a question ... I'm just waiting to get my permits to find out how quick I can rebuild.”