Grass VBQ Joint opens in Stone Mountain this week for vegan barbecue

The Groveway sandwich from Grass VBQ Joint has pulled jackfruit, green tomato relish, fried shallots and sweet creole VBQ Sauce. / Courtesy of Grass VBQ Joint

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The Groveway sandwich from Grass VBQ Joint has pulled jackfruit, green tomato relish, fried shallots and sweet creole VBQ Sauce. / Courtesy of Grass VBQ Joint

A few years ago, Terry Sargent wasn’t feeling like his best self. Overweight and looking to slim down and feel better, he decided to give veganism a try after a friend recommended it.

In eating a plant-based diet, Sargent not only adopted a healthier lifestyle but found his life’s work.

In August 2019, Sargent, who has worked in the hospitality industry for more than two decades, launched vegan barbecue business Grass VBQ Joint. The business was first located among the stalls in East Atlanta’s Global Grub Collective and then moved to Orpheus Brewing at Piedmont Park.

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On Dec. 13, Sargent will relocate to his own standalone brick-and-mortar location at 5385 Five Forks Trickum Road SW in Stone Mountain.

While his initial plan wasn’t to go brick-and-mortar, Sargent selected Stone Mountain because of its affordability and because the area does not have many plant-based dining options.

“Nothing over here was 100% vegan, so we thought, ‘Why not tap into that’?” Sargent said.

The menu will be the same offered at Orpheus, with items including Nashville hot chic’n, smoked “veef” brisket and lobstah, all made with vital wheat gluten and pea protein, as well as sides like coconut curry greens, waffle fries and smoked corn on the cob.

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In the new year, Sargent also plans to offer weekend brunch, serving grits, omelets and breakfast sandwiches, among other items.

Sargent said he’s continually refining his formulas for his house-made plant-based meats and sauces. The only alt-meat he outsources is Beyond sausage for bratwurst sandwiches.

“It’s about going back to non-vegan flavors and dishes and saying, ‘OK, what does this taste like?’ and recreating it,” he said. “It’s about tapping into my past culinary experiences.

Grass VBQ will stick with delivery (in-house as well as via third-party sites like UberEats and Black and Mobile) and takeout only until at least February 2021, when Sargent hopes COVID-19 will be under control enough to allow customers to enjoy indoor bar seating.

He wants the Grass VBQ vibe to be that of a “kickback barbecue joint, with music playing and a Mrs. Pacman game in the corner.”

The eventual goal is for the Stone Mountain location to be the first of many, with plans to franchise in Atlanta and other cities. He also hopes to launch a food truck as early as next summer to travel the Southeast and “let people get a taste of vegan barbecue.”

Grass VBQ’s opening hours will be open noon-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and noon-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays.

5385 Five Forks Trickum Road SW, Stone Mountain. 404-330-9920,

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