Popular Atlanta BBQ restaurant destroyed by fire; owner vows to rebuild

ATLANTA — A popular Atlanta barbecue restaurant was destroyed in an early-morning fire Wednesday in northwest Atlanta.

Channel 2's Darryn Moore was the first reporter at the scene at B's Cracklin' Barbecue off Bolton Road.

[DOWNLOAD: WSB-TV's News App for breaking news alerts]

Firefighters tell Channel 2 Action News that the fire started around 2 a.m. in the pit area. The owner tried to put out the fire but it spread too fast.

Channel 2's Kristen Holloway was at the scene Wednesday, where she talked to owner and head chef Bryan Furman. The restaurant has been on many "top restaurant" lists for Atlanta. Furman was just named as a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast.

Furman said it's unclear what started the fire, but he's just focused on his employees. He said he lives close by and saw the flames after his wife got an alert on her phone that there was smoke in the restaurant.

He raced over to the restaurant where he said he saw the fire in the back of the restaurant.

"I grabbed the fire extinguisher and I was in front of the pit door because (the fire) was contained in the pit," Furman said. "I was spraying, but it wasn't doing anything."

Furman said for now, he's mainly concerned that his employees are ok.

"(I'm) just making sure my employees are taken care of. They get paid every week," Furman said. "They depend on me and I depend on them."

This is Furman's third location: He also has restaurants at Phillips Arena and in Savannah. The Savannah restaurant burned down in 2015 but is now back up and running.

Furman said he lost all of his equipment in this fire, but he's optimistic about building back.

"I’m in a better situation than I was last time, because I was just starting my business then, so I feel like I’m in a better place," Furman said. "I don’t think it will be that hard."

Furman told Holloway that the next step is to rebuild.

A GoFundMe has been created following the fire.


Video shows heavy flames and smoke coming from the restaurant in the early-morning hours on Wednesday.

Roads outside the restaurant were shut down as crews worked to put out the fire.

[PHOTOS: Popular Atlanta BBQ restaurant destroyed in fire]

Furman told Moore that at first, firefighters had a hard time using a fire hydrant because they said it was faulty, but they were soon able to start putting water on the fire.

It took more than four hours for the fire to be put out.

Patrons can stay updated on when the restaurant will reopen on their Facebook and Instagram pages.