Atlanta Orders In: Newcomer Taylor’d poised to be a contender on Atlanta’s barbecue scene

Takeout from Taylor’d Bar-B-Q includes brisket, ribs, pulled pork, plus all the fixings (clockwise from top): tots, Brunswick stew, vinegar slaw, potato salad, mac and cheese, Jambalaya Que, baked beans and creamy cole slaw. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
Caption
Takeout from Taylor’d Bar-B-Q includes brisket, ribs, pulled pork, plus all the fixings (clockwise from top): tots, Brunswick stew, vinegar slaw, potato salad, mac and cheese, Jambalaya Que, baked beans and creamy cole slaw. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Josh McDowell has two jobs, both fraught with pandemic-related challenges.

By day, he runs the international department of the Stone Mountain cargo-shipping company his grandmother, Charlene Taylor, founded in 1982. That comes with its own set of issues. “Your planes can’t fly anywhere, because no one wants the Americans in their country,” he said.

Food from Taylor'd BBQ.
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Food from Taylor'd BBQ.

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

To optimize his efforts, he emails Europe in the morning and China in the evening, and somehow manages to sandwich in time to run his new baby — Avondale’s Taylor’d Bar-B-Q — from 4 to 11 p.m. weeknights. (On weekends, he splits duties with his partner, Drew Page, and chef Eric Guillot.)

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“Barbecue is fast casual,” Taylor'd co-owner Josh McDowell said. “It’s just getting the product out the door. So, doing a to-go model was actually kind of easy for us.” CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
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“Barbecue is fast casual,” Taylor'd co-owner Josh McDowell said. “It’s just getting the product out the door. So, doing a to-go model was actually kind of easy for us.” CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Housed in a 1950 College Avenue building (formerly a Nifty Jifty Food Store, most recently home to Mobeta Wings), Taylor’d opened July 17 for takeout only. Considering it had to endure a nettlesome, two-year build-out, followed by a global pandemic, there was one grace note: It sold out of ’cue in 2½ hours.

That’s not a bad problem to have — though, thanks to COVID-19, cooks have to wear masks while flipping ribs in 110-degree heat in the smokehouse. And, customers can’t enjoy their pulled-pork sammies and tater tots in the 30-seat diner, which features original terrazzo floors, tufted vinyl booths, and the original Nifty Jifty sign, discovered on the facade during renovation.

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A customer departs Taylor’d Bar-B-Q on College Avenue in Avondale Estates. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
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A customer departs Taylor’d Bar-B-Q on College Avenue in Avondale Estates. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Still, there were benefits to starting with to-go only. The staff is smaller, the transactions quicker. “Barbecue is fast casual,” McDowell said. “You’ve got everything cooked already. It’s just getting the product out the door. So, doing a to-go model was actually kind of easy for us. It’s still kind of awkward when you never plate anything.”

Taylor’d — a play on both his mother’s family name and the craft of barbecue — eventually will offer dine-in service, though McDowell can’t say when. For now, it’s too much of a health risk for his 11-man team and their guests.

A customer waits for his order at Taylor’d Bar-B-Q in Avondale Estates, open now for takeout only. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
Caption
A customer waits for his order at Taylor’d Bar-B-Q in Avondale Estates, open now for takeout only. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Meanwhile, the kitchen just added Brunswick stew and Jambalaya Que (rice with smoked meats and andouille) to a menu that already featured wings, sandwiches, plates, loaded bowls, dinner-only samplers (which allow you to try all five meats), sides and a single dessert: strawberry-banana pudding. Ribs are available at dinner only, and must be ordered over the phone or in the store, rather than online. A beer and wine license is expected soon.

On Tuesday night, Texas-born family matriarch Charlene, 76, got her first plate from her grandboy’s restaurant. She ain’t the boss at his second job, but it probably didn’t hurt that she approved, and left a $25 tip.

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TAYLOR’D BAR-B-Q

Menu: barbecue and sides

Alcohol: coming soon

What I ordered: brisket plate with mac and cheese and creamy slaw; pork plate with baked beans and potato salad; four-side plate with vinegar slaw, Brunswick stew, Jambalaya Que, tots. Co-owner Josh McDowell doesn’t believe in saucing meat. He opts, instead, to leave it in all its nekkid splendor: Big cubes of Texas brisket boast a flavorful layer of fat and salt-and-pepper bark. Pulled pork is pink-tinged, chunky, unctuous, wonderfully moist. St. Louis-style ribs are coated with an almost-ebony char — easy to pull apart; easier to nibble. Those who like it wet can choose from three mops: original, spicy and sweet — all tasty. As for sides, I really loved the Brunswick stew (even though it had potatoes in it); Jambalaya Que; sweet, bacony baked beans; potato salad with fresh dill; and the vinegar-based slaw, made with pickle juice and fresh dill.

Service options: takeout only; order online, by phone or in-store; curbside available; delivery via DoorDash

Safety protocols: follows all CDC guidelines

Address, phone: 2759 E. College Ave., Avondale Estates; 678-974-8213

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

Online: Instagram: @taylordbarbq; Facebook: facebook.com/TaylordBBQ

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