Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Swallow at the Hollow (3/10) - 1072 Green Street, Roswell, GA 30075

M-Tu: Closed
W-Th: 11a-2:30p, 5p-9p
F: 11a-2:30p, 5p-10p
Sa: 11a-10p
Su: 11a- 9p

The Swallow at the Hollow might take the cake for the most aesthetically pleasing barbecue joint in all the land.  The building is slightly tucked away off a side street, and the brick chimney / tin roof combination creates a rustic and authentic ambiance that is ideal for taking it easy with friends over a table of smoked meats.  Had the weather permitted, I imagine that there would have been a fairly large crowd gathered outside, creating an atmosphere quite similar to the Salt Lick in Austin (Driftwood), Texas.  Instead, it was cold and wet, so I briskly made my way indoors to round off my afternoon of heavy barbecue consumption.

The interior perfectly matched my expectations.An acoustic band was playing in front of a packed house, and I got to enjoy the show from my barstool with a Terrapin Rye Pale Ale in hand.  I took in the scene and watched the cooks behind the counter reheated smoked meats over direct flame prior to service to better anticipate what kind of barbecue would be served.  I perused the menu and carefully negotiated a way for me to order a combination of meats without paying for the full price cost for their combination platters.  The waitress put me down for a sausage, a side of brisket, and a side of pulled pork.

I thought everything was looking well at The Swallow at the Hollow and I was excited to end the day on a high note.  Then it all came crashing down.  My sausage in the rawest of states was dropped on the direct heat grill.  As it was searing over the heat, I watched as the cook smashed it with a spatula, compressing the link to draw out the interior juices onto the fire.

1.  Who wants delicious grease pulled out from their sausage?  Definitely not this guy. And what was the point?  To hurry the cooking process?  You can't hurry good food.
2.  Although I am a fan of all salted and cured meats, I thought it was obvious that sausages ordered at barbecue joints should not be better served over a plate of linguine and marinara sauce.  The sausage was spicy and edible, but definitely out of place.

I then transitioned my attention towards the other two meats and I immediately came to the realization that my meal was not going to improve. The brisket was monochromatic, especially dry, and devoid of any bark or crust.  The meat would easily crack in half in merely picked up a slice from the end.  The pork was also dry, possessing the texture of a dish that might have been left out a bit longer than preferable.  The smoky flavor of both meats was noticeable, but not enjoyable enough to overcome the consistency of the food.

Had the food been great, I could easily imagine getting excited about a return visit to The Swallow at the Hollow.  The place has a unique name, a great vibe, live music, a decent draught beer selection, and an overall great look for a barbecue joint.  As cliche as the saying is, it's true -- 'you can't eat atmosphere'.

Swallow at the Hollow on Urbanspoon


  1. Until I was guided to SATH's ribs, I was unimpressed also. Now, on our rare visits - I only order ribs. They have never disappointed.

  2. Definitely agree. I recently started the hunt for Georgia's best BBQ and Swallow will not be making the cut. You can see my journey here: gabarbecue.blogspot.com


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.