During a typical weekday at Community Q BBQ in Decatur, David Roberts and his staff cook about 600 to 700 pounds of meat. That number increases to about 1,000 to 1,200 pounds per day on the weekends.
Many times, between dine-sales, carry out and catering, there is nothing left at the end of the day. And sometimes sooner.
Roberts and co-owners Jim Laber and Stuart Baesel have been satisfying area residents’ yearning for the sweet and smoky goodness of barbecue at Community Q since November 2009. Roberts, who has about 20 years of experience in the restaurant business, spent six years as a principal owner of the Cobb County barbecue joint Sam & Dave’s before selling his share and opening the Decatur eatery. Previous to that, he had experience in fine-dining restaurants.
Roberts cooks his barbecue the same at Community Q as he did at Sam & Dave’s, and the sides are more Southern style. That combination has made for a fast start for Community Q.
“We’ve been real fortunate with that,” Roberts said. “A lot is caused by the success we had at the other restaurant. A lot of our customers from Marietta are coming down to say hello and to try it out. And we’ve had a lot of customers who drove all the way to Marietta from this area and they’re happy we’re closer.”
Roberts buys from local farmers to ensure his meat and produce are as fresh as possible. Two sauces are offered at Community Q – a sweet tomato-based sauce and a Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce.
The portions are generous, with pulled pork sandwiches piled high with the tender smoked meat. The restaurant also offers brisket, chicken and a beef rib that nearly engulfs the entire plate.
A creamy on the bottom, crunchy on the top mac and cheese dish made with rigatoni is one of the more popular sides. Others include cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans made with peppers, brown sugar and bits of brisket.
Community Q offers daily specials “based on what is available from the local farmers,” Roberts said.
The restaurant has become so popular so quickly that there is a warning on its Web site stating that they may run out of meat on occasion. Brisket and short ribs are cooked overnight while beef ribs can be cooked in three to four hours.
Those wanting take-out are encouraged to order at least a day ahead of time. Last summer at Sam & Dave’s, Roberts said he closed out orders for July Fourth on July 1.
Roberts has been able to gauge the wants of diners with much success, but there have been occasions when the meat does go too fast.
“If we see it dwindle down, we can cook more ribs throughout the day,” Robert said. “But that’s the purpose of using local products. We’re committed to doing fresh products every day. I think that’s part of the popularity. You can’t have that kind of quality unless you cook it fresh every day.”
Roberts ran short recently on the afternoon of Emory University’s graduation.
“We had several large tables throughout the day, and there must have been a lot of people in town from Texas because we ran out of brisket by 5 p.m.,” Robert said.
If Roberts runs short of one cut of meat, he has found that his customers usually satisfy themselves with something else.
“It’s really easier to prepare than for a fine dining restaurant,” Roberts said. “Most of the cooking is done overnight. There was one instance where the meat didn’t cook overnight – last week it happened. We still had a really good day and our customers really enjoyed the sausage, ribs and chicken. People are very understanding because they know they’re getting it fresh.”
Community Q BBQ is at 1361 Clairmont Road in Decatur. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Visit www.communityqbbq.com for more information and a complete menu, or call (404) 633-2080.