Updated: Nov 4, 2021
On a cool, crisp early Autumn morning, we took off for Villa Rica. It’s about 35 miles West of Atlanta but takes almost an hour to reach because of traffic. Elvis had to make a trip to his dog boarding spa out that way, and we thought he’d like a good hike before checking in.
We hiked the Clinton Nature Preserve Loop. Although we didn’t spot any F.O.B.s or find Hillary’s server, we discovered a very nicely maintained trail. A few eroded places made us feel like we were walking stream beds, and there was a lot of granite, making stretches of the trail look like a natural parking lot. The downside to this trail is there are many paths to follow with few markers. We finished in time to whisk Elvis away from his beloved Fio and begin his vacation in the countryside.
From the dog spa, we caravanned into Villa Rica to Evan’s Barbeque Company. Their tagline is “Upscale Barbeque With A Twist.” We wanted to see what was so upscale and twisty here.
The “upscale” part comes from E.B.C.’s credentials. You don’t go to many barbecue joints where the owner graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, worked at the 21 Club in N.Y.C., and spent four years at the Capital City Club in Atlanta. And where the other owner worked under Danny Meyer, Bobby Flay, and Rocco DiSpirito in N.Y.C. while studying Criminal Justice. Evan is their son’s name, and we have no information on his formal culinary training. We suspect the young fellow enjoyed a shot of barbecue sauce in his formula bottle.
The “Twisty” part is the fun turns on the menu: Fried Barbecue Eggrolls, Pork Nachos, some refined and thoughtful sandwich combos, and the day’s special of broccoli and squash casseroles. Plus, a Smoked Cobbler!
There’s also an excellent selection of what they term “Crafty-ish” Brews.
Our waitress Kaitlyn was delightful and super helpful in pointing out what we should be sure to try. And she tolerated Guy’s Arnold Palmer formula specifying 30% unsweet tea. I hope she made it 32% just to mess with Mr. Persnickety.
Evan’s is a cute, funky compound surrounding a large, canopied patio. We insist on outside seating these days, and most barbecue spots deliver. The main building is the hub with an old-time drive-up window for takeaway. Another building appears to be the kitchen, and another houses the restrooms, which a few Trailheads described as “interesting.” I’m not sure what they meant by that, but I suspect they weren’t talking about bidets. E.B.C. has lots of cool design features, character abounds, and, as always, The Dude abides.
Now on to the food. We started with Fried Green Tomatoes with a spicy remoulade sauce and Fried Barbecue Eggrolls, because well, you know––fried. The Pork was full of low and slow flavor, and Evan’s heaps a good helping of it. The Ribs were big and meaty, loaded with smoky love.
The sauces dressed the meats beautifully. While the sweet sauce was good, we loved the hot sauce. The slaw was almost soupy and added a nice sweetness to the meal. The Brunswick Stew was perfect for a day with a bit of chill in the air. The squash casserole would make your grandma proud, the collard greens were stellar, and the cornbread delivered the goods. While Trailheads love Cobbler and a smoked cobbler was intriguing, we left no room for it. Poor planning on our parts. Another time!
We’re hoping Elvis needs another spa outing soon so we can return and graze more upscale barbecue with a twist.
Villa Rica has always been a place to drive by. Evan’s Barbeque Company makes it a place to drive to.
Rating: Four Ribs*
Evan’s Barbeque Company
342 West Bankhead Hwy, Villa Rica GA 30180
*About Our Barbecue Rating System
Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they’re dishing.
Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy.
Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: we have acclaimed designers in our group, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.