Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

Review by: Roadfood Team

You can count on live music on weekends at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, a bbq joint north of downtown, but most come here for the big slabs of smoky ribs, sided by Brunswick stew.

Atlanta is chock-full of restaurants of every conceivable cuisine and price range. But when it comes to Southern classics like barbecue, visitors might need to do a little roadwork, getting off the beaten paths of Buckhead and Downtown. One such place is located at the upper edge of Midtown, near Piedmont Park. The name alone is luscious: Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. Housed in a flat, tiny old Krispy Kreme donuts building, the Rib Shack seeks to bring a bit of the old Mississippi Delta and Southside Chicago to the “New South’s” undisputed capital.

What to eat at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

The meat of choice is charcoal ribs, and the music of the house is strictly blues. Some purists are likely to carp that the place does not technically serve barbecue since, in their minds, hard hickory or oak burned over the course of hours is the only way to cook pork. If one can get over that nicety, he or she will be in for a treat. But first, patrons have to stand in a long line that goes well out the door, especially on weekend nights. Except for impatient types (who need to stick to fast food in the first place), that is itself a good sign of good things to come.

Inside, tables are jammed close in; expect to sit close with strangers and maybe get friendly with them (during the warm months, some outside tables are available for al fresco ‘cue). The menu is limited but to the point: slabs of ribs, rib “sandwiches” (three ribs and two slices of white bread), rum-spiked baked beans (specialty of the house), chopped pork sandwiches, Georgia-style Brunswick Stew, barbecued chicken, sweet potato or pecan pie, lemonade, sweet tea, and, of course, beer. Trust this reviewer, one doesn’t need anything else.

This reviewer likes the rib sandwich, with three fibrous but delectable hunks of pure porky goodness. Much like at the legendary Rendezvous and some people’s backyards, the charcoal lends a more intense carbon sense to the palate than does hickory. The tomato-based sauce is on the hot side and rather sharp, perfect for dipping, rather than dumping on the meat.

The beans won’t set an alcoholic off, but one can taste the rum, especially since the sauce is so thin (lower on the ketchup than the beans at most barbecue places generally). Sides like collard greens (cooked with a touch of sugar, believe it or not) and macaroni and cheese seal the meal as a true comfort-food winner.

Fat Matt’s doubles as a hangout for area blues music fanciers. The acts are all local and the only “cover” is a tip jar passed around during the set. Music lovers who don’t have the stamina to stay up all night like college kids will appreciate the fact that the shows generally start early, around 8 or so.

If one wants “authenticity,” Fat Matt’s is probably not for him or her. But if one simply wants good, unpretentious Southern-style fare in a fun setting, the Rib Shack will surely please.

Original post by Mark Stroud

What To Eat

rib slab

Rib Slab (1/2)

Rib sandwich

barbecued chicken

brunswick stew

rum baked beans

pork sandwich


Fat Matt’s Rib Shack Recipes


What do you think of Fat Matt’s Rib Shack?

Nearby Restaurants

Silver Skillet

Atlanta, GA

Bon Ton

Atlanta, GA

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Atlanta, GA

Manuel’s Tavern

Atlanta, GA

The Varsity

Atlanta, GA

Victory Sandwich Bar

Atlanta, GA

Article’s & Guides Tagged Victory Sandwich Bar


Connect with us #Roadfood