Burnt Fork BBQ Setting Up Shop in Old Jin Jin Space

A anonymous tipster alerts us to an interesting new restaurant opening soon in the old Jin Jin Chinese Restaurant at 614 Church Street in Decatur.

Josh Kramer is aiming for a November opening for Burnt Fork BBQ, which will feature “International Barbecue”, which means things like “Mexican barbacoa, Cuban sandwiches, tacos inspired by the cuisines of Korea,Viet Nam, Cuba, and the traditional USA types.”, according to the tipster.

Also of note: “Best news for busy families: he’s keeping the drive-through feature.”, says the tipster.

The restaurant takes it’s name from Burnt Fork Creek, which prior to 1960s was dammed up by Mason Mill Park and supplied drinking water to the city of Decatur.  According to the Burnt Fork Creek Watershed Alliance, the dam was blown up and the reservoir drained in the 1960s.

Man, I love a good restaurant/history post!

Photo courtesy of the Burnt Fork Creek Watershed Alliance website

47 thoughts on “Burnt Fork BBQ Setting Up Shop in Old Jin Jin Space”

  1. This sounds great. But this opening up so soon after Community Barbecue opening up makes me wonder anew about why restaurants always cluster in our area. I fear that when they cluster, they’ll all or mostly go under because of too much competition for the same client base. Examples are Ashbys, Jakes, Cold Cream for ice cream; Wordsworth, Indies, Little Shop, Blue Elephant for bookstores; all the new ethnic shaved ice places; all the new upscale yogurt places; Little Azios, Fellinis, Avellini’s, Avondale Pizza, Rocky’s, Athen’s Pizza for pizza; and now barbecue.

  2. @karass that’s not how it works. Opening like businesses near to each other actually aids in bringing in more people to the area. Shops and restaurants go out of business either because they suck, are no longer relevant, or don’t know how to manage their money. Do some research about your examples and you’ll find this to be true in every case.

  3. New dining ((and retail) establishments are often driven by fads and fashions. It would be boring if we did not have this darwinian competition. How you stay in business depends on the quality, pricing and customer service. The mediocre and the bad will fall to the wayside. That is why we are down to Little Shop (children’s niche) and Blue Elephant (good luck to them). Pizza is the same. Not sure how some of these pizza places stay in business, must be convenience over taste. I do have to say that one additional BBQ joint is not making a cluster. With Fox Brothers being the next closest good competitor, if Burnt Fork is good it should survive. A lot more convenient to get to than Community BBQ for me.
    My prediction for the next food bubbles to burst will be frozen yogurt and food vans. Also, I wonder if Decatur can support all these bars/pubs?

    1. Also, I wonder if Decatur can support all these bars/pubs?

      I have the same thought. Don’t get me wrong – I love many of these establishments and wish I could spend more of both my time & money in them – but at what point do we become oversaturated?

      It’s especially interesting given some of the demographics of our town. We have Agnes Scott, which is a good school but consistently ranks among the bottom of ‘drinking/party schools’ list, so its contribution to the pub scene is somewhat limited. Then we have the stroller brigades, who are mostly all home by 8 PM for kids bedtimes. Young singles, who typically keeps bars in business, don’t really seem all that numerous in Decatur. Despite these limitations, we have great options all over town – even Oakhurst now has 3 pubs to go along with its 2 Mexican restaurants, 1 Italian restaurant and 1 coffee/bar.

      And getting back to the BBQ topic, I think this sounds like a very interesting idea. The variety approach is welcome and shouldn’t directly compete with Community or Fox Bros.

        1. Sadly, ASC is far from a great school. It has gone down the toilet. Plus the original poster was talking about how it was not a strong drinking school, and said nothing about its academics. Clearly you must be a student there. I am sorry.

        1. Good point. I completely forgot about that excellent barbecue. It’s got the beer and music covered too.

          The drive-through feature may give Burnt Fork the edge with the mini-van crowd. Grabbing McDonalds or Chick Fil A gets old as one careens through town to pick up mulitple kids at multiple friends houses, after cares, or home and transport them to multiple destinations like sports practices, Scouts, music lessons, tutoring, and other friends houses. If Burnt Fork has a few kid-friendly vegetables or fruit to throw into the take-out order, it will definitely have the competitive edge.

      1. there some of us young singles in Decatur (some even in walking distance to the bars, to walk home). We are present, even if on here we aren’t as vocal on here as the “stroller brigades” (and don’t have opinions on CDS)…

        But places like Brick Store, MacGee, Marlay are still crowded well into the night, so doesn’t sem like a problem with them getting enough people coming in from nearby areas, even if you not we singles immediately in the area. 🙂


        Oh, and the old Decatur Water Works ruins in Mason Mill Park (with the aforementioned blown-up dam) are pretty cool to visit!

        1. Geez, dude. Isn’t it about time you settled down and made your mama a grandbaby or two? The stroller brigade awaits!

        2. Why on earth are you not interested in CSD????? I don’t understand. It should be at the top of EVERY list.

      2. I don’t know what you are talking about in relation to Agnes Scott. My friends and I spent 4 years completely hammered on something. But then again, I heard they changed recruiting standards for some reason after we left (and I am actually serious about that; I think my class was the last straw on a LOT of things around there!)

  4. With all due credit to darwinian competition, I think we have some obvious wide-open niches not filled and I applaud the entrepreneur that would fill any ot them:
    – Gelato, upscale ice cream shop
    – Independent movie theater
    – Good children’s shoestore like Coggins in Marietta and Roswell
    – Place with good lighting to hang out and get reading and work done from 6-11 PM
    – Anything opened past 7 PM on a Monday night

    I’m sure others can identify other unfilled niches. Just trying to help out the investors and entrepreneurs…..:)

    1. An independent movie theater would be dang hard considering the cost of Decatur real estate and parking needs. Not saying it’s in possible, but the margin of error would be VERY slim.

      I think we need to do a “profit margins” post, so people can get a general sense of how easy/hard it is to make a profit in certain areas. As I said to someone recently, thank GOD there’s such a huge profit margin on alcohol, otherwise there would be barely ANY “third-places” left in the U.S.!

      1. Hmmm. Independent movies. Let’s see what we can do.

        The thing about the pubs is, Decatur is officially a destination for great beer. What that means is that dozens and dozens of people come from outside of Decatur every night to keep those places in business. And the more places you have, the more people come.

        There’s more of a danger of the Decatur Square turning into a place for stupid drunks and people vomiting on sidewalks than there is for people to stop showing up and drinking here. When one of these places starts pushing Jaeger shot specials and beer pong nights, then you’ve got something to worry about. As long as we have responsible owners (which is exactly what we have), the more the merrier.

        1. Daren, this just proves that you’ve become an old fuddy duddy. In a few years, you will be like Sam Massell trying to drive the bars out of Decatur!

          God damn, I can’t wait for Trackside to reopen to meet my Jager (note the spelling) cravings!


            1. “Become an old fuddy duddy”? That happened the day I moved from midtown, where I was the first person to have his name on the bar at Smiths Olde Bar, to the quiet tree-lined streets of Decatur over a decade ago. Now I personify both fud and dud.

              So the independent film comment gets no traction? I guess I’ll just curtail those efforts.

            2. After reading all the comments about the Decatur Diner design choices and the endless “kid friendly” posts, I’ve had this recurring thought that it would be freaking awesome if we woke up one day to some kind of time warp and it was 1995 again. I imagine folks walking up to the square to go to Brick Store or Mac McGee’s and seeing…The Grog Shop!

        2. Independent film festivals in Decatur? We could host in the DHS amphitheatre, the Holiday Inn Conference Center … Beacon Hill, Clairmont Elementary, (Westchester too –the expansive lawn ..) The Seen Galery (art and movies!) Partner with Emory, Partner with Agnes Scott — the possibilities are endless …….whadyathink? I will volunteer — we’ll be the Southern Sundance …. : ] So I’m dreamin, but ya gotta start somewhere …

    2. Come on, shoes!!! We need you!!!
      karass, maybe you and I should go into business. Not that I know a single thing about running a business. But I do know my kids’ shoes and how tired I am of ordering from Piperlime then forgetting to return on time then being stuck with 1,000 pairs that don’t fit anyone’s feet.

      1. I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body or I’d be rich by now. I’m real good with the ideas and have predicted some trends but have no vocational calling to running a business, getting investors, writing a business plan etc. Terms like “margin of error” or “price point” put me to sleep. Contracts and legal documents intimidate me. But I am positive that a Coggins-style shoe store somewhere within the Perimeter, east of 285 would do well. I would be willing to work on merchandise selection, advertising, customer service, if someone else would work on the business side of a high quality, wide selection children’s shoe store.

  5. It’s an interesting location for this restaurant, a little off the square, but very convenient for those of us on the North side of town. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Community Q. Someone recently told me their chicken is great, so I’ll give it one more try, but so far the only thing I’ve really enjoyed is the Mac & Cheese. Plus, I can’t get over the fact that they are a BBQ restaurant that doesn’t serve beer. Something just doesn’t seem right about that.

    1. Re Community BBQ: Given how crowded they are already, I wonder if they could handle the beer crowd…. We like their barbeque but barbeque preferences are real individual. We also like their cole slaw, black-eyed peas (not always available), and some of their dessert specials, like apple or peach stuff. The mac and cheese is a little rich for my taste but the kids like it.

      1. I have been way turned off by Community BBQ. I call for take out, they aren’t serving; they out of something; they are too crowded. I have yet to eat there. Besides, Community and Fox aren’t in Decatur; neither is Maddie’s! This is Decatur’s only current BBQ!

        1. Nellie, Bellie, c’mon. Maddies may not be COD, but it’s what, 200 yards from the city limit? In all honesty, I can’t stand their ‘cue, and I go there every so often just to cure a craving for some almost-spicy Fat Matt’s sauce. But non-Decatur? For shame!

          On Community, though, I agree. And I have actually eaten there. It was just extraordinarily “ugh”! Give me Fox Bros. or give me BBQ death!

          1. I’ve never been to Maddie’s and never thought about it until I wrote that (friend of mine owned it when it was Rockin’ Rob’s a hundred years ago); frankly. I don’t go to that side of Decatur much at all. But my point is that people were talking about all the BBQ places IN Decatur when there actually aren’t any. When I eat out, I try to go places inside the city limits so I am supporting local businesses, not outside. 200 yards is outside. I make that choice very consciously. I don’t boycott places outside, obviously, but I try to spend money within the city limits first. I think a number of people do that. It’s not snobbery; it’s simply a conscious desire to support the businesses supporting my neighborhood, my city and my schools before I support others- giving them the first shot at my dollars.

            That said, my mom’s husband makes the best BBQ pork ever. I have a 3 pounds in my freezer for next week and i will be picking up Fox Bros. bean pints cause you can’t beat ’em!

    2. People seemed to be raving about Community. Maybe because my expectations had been so high, but we got ribs and the mac, and thought it was just OK. It tasted pretty much like all the other bbq I have had. Won’t be going back.

  6. Josh is a long time Decatur/Druid Hills resident and his BBQ is legendary with anyone who grew up around here. His idea is way different than Community or Fox Bros. I am really looking forward to the venture. I expect it will be like nothing else.

  7. I”m out there with Spaceman. Josh’s Brunswick stew will make you jump up and

    holler “Howdy.” He makes a pretty meal cole slaw, too. I hope he has a good banana pudding

    to top off the meal. Lucky for me I can walk over and it is downhill.

  8. Personally can’t wait for the Mexican barbacoa tacos and all the rest. I second the recommendation of his wonderful brunswick stew, tasty breads and cole slaw! I hope he does a peach cobbler too…

  9. The new place sounds yummy and the name is great. But I’m surprised at the negative comments about Community Barbecue and Maddy’s. Now I’m wondering what good barbecue tastes like. Maybe I haven’t been exposed to really good barbecue and my standards are too low. Both places seem a lot better than good old Dusty’s over by Emory which was my first exposure to southern barbecue. (Elsewhere in the country, barbecue generally means barbecued ribs or a Sunday afternoon social event where a Dad struggles with the grill and pours some kind of ketchup/vinegar sauce over some meat).

    1. There is no such animal as “Southern BBQ”, so feel badly. It’s completely regional. If I recall Dusty’s, the flavor there was more Memphis/Mississippi with the heavy vinegar sauce and very little smoke in the meat. There used to be a great KC place in a trailer in Grant Park, but it is gone. I think Fox is Texas-influenced. Remember the Brunswick stew is mostly a Georgia thing! I love Daddy D’s- that’s purely Georgia, I think! I am so freaking hungry I am going to eat my keyboard.

  10. If you want good Southern BBQ, go over to Northlake Mall and find the Hickory House down a side street. Order a combo plate with Brunswick stew. I prefer the outside pork chopped but that is a matter of personal preference and quality of your dental work.

  11. well, if i’m reading it correctly…i don’t think this place will be competition for any BBQ places anyway. it sounds like something totally different & something we’re lacking in Decatur (or anywhere near). international bbq, etc is nothing at all like southern bbq…just take a trip up to some buford hwy bbq joints & you’ll see!

  12. BBQ preferences are highly idiosyncratic. One can state his or her favorites, but there is no point in arguing about it. I like to stay close to home, but Maddy’s (very good) apparently lost their liquor license and Community (even better) never had one and has little ambiance; they’re take out only options for me. Josh describes his concept with knowledge and passion. Burnt Fork (great name!) has my attention. I just hope it has beer.

    1. The tipster told me that they intend to have regional beer on tap as well as wine. Licensces are being applied for.

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