THE DISH: Praise the Lard BBQ


Staff Photos: Meghan Kotowski Praise the Lard serves, from left clockwise, carrot souffle, collard greens and pulled and chopped pork sandwiches with cole slaw -- upon request.

On the menu

• Chicken plate — 1/3 pounds of chopped chicken served with two sides and either a bun or Texas toast, $9.49

• Burnt ends plate — 1/3 pounds of chopped pieces of wet and lean brisket, sauced and smoked again, served with two sides and either a bun or Texas toast, $11

• Pork sandwich — Pulled and chopped pork on a bun and served with choice of side, $7

• Half rack of ribs — Spare ribs served with two sides and bread, $1

1350 Buford Highway, Suite 109, Buford



Open since: August

Owner: Ted Shomake

Location: Praise the Lard in located in a small strip mall on Buford Highway, south of Ga. Highway 20.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays through Thursdays

Atmosphere: From the outside, Praise the Lard looks like any barbecue place in a strip mall, but when you enter the doors, you are taken back to "Old Gwinnett" with less ceramic pigs, according to owner Ted Shomake.

"I wanted it be a fun local place to eat," he said. "And I just wanted to share (my food) with folks because it brings a smile to their face."

The walls are decorated with folk art, aged wood and works of art made by locals. There are diagrams showing the separate pieces of meat for chickens, cows and pigs -- all of the animals smoked in-house.

Guests walk up to the front counter, order their plates and find a seat anywhere available in the light green dining room, which is opened into three different areas.

None of the meats come pre-sauced, but there is a selection of barbecue sauces to choose from at the "serve yourself counter" with the soda machine and other condiments.

For those who are looking for a place to rent out for meeting -- and food -- during the week, Shomake will reserve the space for a group, including businesses, church groups, professional associations, civic organizations, etc.

But if you have a massive event and still want some barbecue, Praise the Lard will cater.

One the thing that Shomake won't serve is alcohol.

"Besides being morally against it, I didn't think it made sense," he said. "I want this to be a place you can bring your family."

Menu: Slow smoked meat and freshly cooked sides. That's it. Nothing fancy.

"I don't own a freezer or a microwave, we don't open cans," Shomake said. "I always hoped that we would be ... a good 'ol Southern meat and sides kind of place."

Shomake and his small kitchen crew -- mostly family -- prepare everything from scratch, including the barbecue sauces.

"We're back there pulling the collards off the stems, soaking beans over night ... peeling potatoes instead of buying frozen. It's insanely fun to do this," he said.

The sides change with the seasons, but right now the restaurant serves baked beans, carrot souffle, Brunswick stew and cole slaw to name a few.

Depending on what Shomake buys week to week -- he does all of the shopping for the kitchen by himself -- he creates random specials. As business picks up, he plans to have specials on a regular basis.

Things you might not know: Shomake also works a full-time job during the week, which is why the restaurant is only open on the weekends.