Waiting for the food to come out, I sipped a delicious hazy IPA called Mama Bessie, and surveyed the handiwork of owners Clay and Sarah Davies and their son, Cole.
They have built a stunning spot in neutral tones of cinderblock and stainless steel, and installed a notable team of cooks, brewers and baristas. The roster includes Ryan Smith, star chef of Staplehouse next door, who collaborated with Executive Chef Davis King on menu development; head brewer Chris Collier; and coffee guy Austin Hewitt.
I’ve yet to stop by for a cup of Joe, but I’ve had two good experiences at Biggerstaff, including a Thursday night meetup with a friend who was expecting a sit-down meal. (Since this is a takeout column, I’m disclosing this in the interest of transparency.) Not only did we dine safely distanced from other guests, we also got to take advantage of the $2 oysters and $4 pints (the latter a January special).
The bivalves, both on the half shell and roasted with Calabrian chili butter and bread crumbs, paired nicely with the Leehester American IPA, and, though the chef concocted a pleasing mignonette for the raw oysters, I couldn’t help but wish I had a classic cocktail sauce and stack of saltines. That’s a matter of personal taste — not a criticism — but I do have one small quibble: In more than one instance, I had to stop my slurping to pick small pieces of oyster shell from my mouth.
Biggerstaff purports to be a farm-to-table restaurant. To be certain, great care is taken in the curating of everything, from beef to Brussels sprouts. I’m crazy about the house-cut fries. There’s a lovely little gem salad to balance the richer options. And, I’m kicking myself for not trying the seasonal pickle plate.
That said, the coconut sap splashed on the crispy Brussels sprouts was a bit too coconuty for me. And, the thought of roast chicken with fries and salsa verde appealed in a Jonathan Waxman kind of way, but the airline chicken breast was a tad dry, though the skin was suitably crispy.
The chef’s strong suit may be sandwiches. The 8-ounce dry-aged burger, fairly smothered in pimento cheese and crispy bacon, was excellent. The loaded po’boy — with fried shrimp, oysters and calamari — wasn’t too shabby, either. I delivered one of the luxurious handhelds to a houseguest from Mississippi, a person who has enjoyed a lifetime of Gulf Coast grazing, and she oohed and aahed. (I got myself one on my second visit, and I concur.)
The menu also features a banh mi (showcasing house-made spicy sausage), a Cuban, a meatball sub, a fried egg sandwich and a brisket sammie. The brisket, with roasted peppers, arugula and Sweet Grass Dairy’s soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese, Green Hill, was a bit like an elevated cheese steak.
In a city overflowing with craft breweries that have strong culinary programs, Biggerstaff sets a fine example. It already has caught on with the neighborhood. Assuming the omicron spike tapers off by spring, I expect it to be standing-room-only.
BIGGERSTAFF BREWING CO.
Food: farm-to-table, with lots of sandwiches
Service: dine-in and takeout; delivery via DoorDash and GrubHub coming this week. On the Saturday I stopped by with a rather large takeout order, I ended up with two brisket sandwiches, rather than a brisket sandwich and an order of Brussels sprouts. The chef stopped by as I was leaving, and, when I mentioned I didn’t see the Brussels sprouts in my bag, he hastened to bring me an order, even though they weren’t on the bill. It wasn’t until after I got home and checked the receipt that I realized I bought two brisket sandwiches. Moral of the story: Speak clearly and check your bag before you depart.
Safety protocol: staff wears masks and is 75 percent vaccinated; guests urged to wear masks; masks available upon request
Best dishes: raw and roasted oysters, gem salad, fries, loaded po’boy, burger, brisket sandwich
Alcohol: beer, wine, classic cocktails on tap
Credit cards: all major credit cards accepted
Hours: Coffee service, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; kitchen service, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays
Address, phone: 537 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-796-9919
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