Big Daddy’s website says, “We are a Soul Food restaurant serving food that until now you could only get at home from your mother.” My mother never cooked spare ribs this succulent or fried chicken so crisp-crusted or yams so sweet or red velvet / Key lime cake so colorful. Nor was my mother as friendly as the staff at this magnificent cafeteria not far from the Atlanta airport.
The choices are daunting: so many tempting things to eat, so little space on the tray to hold them all. Among entrees, ribs and fried chicken are essential. Big spare ribs are slow-cooked to a fare-thee-well, so tender that when the server tries to grab a few with his tongs, he frequently winds up lifting the bone straight out of the meat, then having to return to pick up hefty ribbons of nothing but rib meat. The chicken seems to have twice as much crisp, crusty skin as most fried chickens. It is vibrantly seasoned: succulence incarnate.
O, the side dishes! Earthy rutabagas, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, collard greens cooked with or without smoked turkey, carrot soufflé, yam soufflé, cornbread dressing, etc., etc., etc. Then there’s dessert. Georgia peach cobbler is smoky-good, but apple cobbler is even better; banana pudding, available with or without whipped topping, is a classic; and there is an entire case of rainbow-hued layer cakes.
The price is low, the quality is high, the service glows with genuine warmth. Big Daddy’s Dish is a gem.