Chef's Table - Newman's own
Ask many folks in Atlanta, and they'll tell you Daddy D'z barbecue is the bomb. Owner Ron Newman is actually open about his technique because, as he says, it's like the hydrogen bomb: If you don't know what you're doing, things can go very, very wrong.
Although the Chicago native and "diehard Cubs fan" has retired his cold-weather armor, Daddy D'z brings a bit of the Windy City to the pit, with longtime establishments Harold's and Leon's as taste inspirations. Still, his home base in East Atlanta, which opened in 1993, has definitely established itself as a true Atlanta 'cue joint.
Creative Loafing:How did Daddy D'z end up in Grant Park?
Ron Newman: I looked all around. There used to be a Mexican restaurant here years ago — I don't know if you've seen my building, it's a dive — and I thought, "This is a perfect place." The neighborhood I really wasn't sure of, but I figured I could survive from the lunch business from downtown workers.
What makes the establishment a must for people — both visitors and longtime residents?
It's a tried-and-true system of cooking barbecue. A lot of people boil their ribs, they actually have a machine to cook them, that's why they look so perfect, each and every one. To me, that's not the way to cook ribs. To me — and this is just my opinion — the way I do it, that's better than any machine can cook.
Daddy D'z is the only place to get Que Wraps. How did they come about?
When I first opened, a guy came in and just wanted a beer. He used to be a cook in Las Vegas. He told me, "We used to make these things with pork and wrap 'em up in dough and deep fry them, and we could sell a million of those things." They used to give honey mustard with them, and he said, "You could do barbecue sauce." I said, "You know, that kinda makes sense to me," and I started making them. And everybody loves them. I sell about 1,000 to 1,500 a week.
Do you have a pit or a grill at home?
I got nothin'. I do not cook anymore. I haven't even had a home-cooked meal in three years. When you're always cookin' and around it, you lose an appetite for food. I'm not one of these 300-pound cooks. Once I'm done cooking, I might get a hamburger.
How, oh how do you ever get the barbecue scent out of your hair and clothes?
I can tell you that right now: You never get it out. Tell you the truth, I don't even notice it anymore. I don't wear my good clothes here, obviously. I can come into the bank and walk out and people know that I've been at Daddy D'z.
When my sister cuts my hair, she says it's like a barbecue sandwich. It just permeates your skin.Daddy D'z, 264 Memorial Drive. 404-222-0206. www.daddydz.com.