755 Lawrenceville Suwanee Road, Suite 1210
Owners/Franchisees: Anthony Thackwray and Angel Nguyen
Open Since: April 29
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Location: Tucked away in the Shoppes Creekside shopping center, next to Shogun Japanese Steakhouse and Keune Academy.
Atmosphere: The restaurant features a deep south, down home vibe with bits and pieces collected from homes, mostly in the Gwinnett County area.
The hostess stand at the entrance to ’Cue Barbecue’s Lawrenceville location was previously a church pulpit from a local church. Thackwray said he got it at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
A barn door with a 1917 date inscribed on it and a set of window frames that hang next to booths in the middle of the restaurant came from various homes in the Dacula area that were being demolished.
A set of French doors from an antebellum home in Biloxi that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina have been cleaned up and attached to the ends of an upholstered bench at one table to create a booth. A screen door from an old home hangs from the ceiling now.
“(’Cue Barbecue Founder Paul Doster) likes for every manager or every owner to do what they want as far as design,” Thackwray said. “He doesn’t really want them to be the same. He wants people to have their own unique designs and ideas.”
For the Lawrenceville location, the idea was to use old items that had a story behind them.
“We looked for things that had character and stories when we moved in here,” Thackwray said.
And then there are the wood tables, which were made by hand by Thackwray and Nguyen — who also upholstered the bench seats. They epoxied the tables in the foyer at their home in Suwanee to avoid the dust in the restaurant while its interior was being built.
Thackwray said building the tables by hand, instead of hiring someone to do it, actually gave him a deeper appreciation for the restaurant.
“Paul’s philosophy on these tables never really kicked in until we had to build one,” Thackwray said. “As an owner, you have to build your own tables. You can’t contract it out because Paul’s idea is ‘When you build your own tables, you care about what you put on the tables.’”
There is bar, table and booth seating available in the restaurant, which will also offer live music from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Menu: ’Cue Barbecue’s Lawrenceville location has all of the traditional staples of a barbecue restaurant, including ribs, brisket and chicken, but Thackwray said the menu includes some items which help it stand out among the BBQ crowd.
“We have a unique menu because we have some signature items,” he said. “You’d never think of opening a barbecue menu and seeing a baloney sandwich or a barbecue pizza. ... We do have the basics, (but) one thing we do that a lot of other people don’t do is we offer sliced pork.”
So far, the ribs and sausages have been popular items at the Lawrenceville restaurant.
“We make our sausage in-house, and we almost can’t keep up,” Thrackwray said.
The menu includes some platters such as the smoked beef platter, smoked pork platter and a half-bird platter.
The restaurant, like other ’Cue Barbecue locations, rotates through seasonal side dishes, such as roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet green beans. It’s currently serving a corn casserole, but it is about to move into summer squash casserole and green beans once the harvest starts to come in.
The restaurant also offers cobblers, which Thackwray said will be rotated among other types of cobblers throughout the year as well. Right now, there’s a peach cobbler being offered, but Thackwray said it’s proven to have some staying power, which will keep it on the menu longer.
“(The peach cobbler) has been ridiculously popular,” he said. “We almost can’t keep up. We probably go through 15 pounds of peaches every day just to keep up with the cobbler so we’re going to stick with peach cobbler for a little bit longer before we change over.”
Something You May Not Know: Before they moved to the Atlanta area, Thackwray and Nguyen lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While they lived there, they worked in food service for the casino industry in Gulfport and Biloxi. They then came to work for ’Cue Barbecue at its other locations before they got the chance to open a franchise location in Lawrenceville.