Smoked Meat, Draft Beer and Big Portions
Atlas BBQ adds to Downtown Grafton
Grafton’s Downtown area is experiencing a renaissance. New restaurants and coffee shops have been making it a destination rather than a place to just pass through. One of these newer places is Atlas BBQ. Opened in 2012, Atlas has had some time to settle in and gain notice. Peak times can be very busy, so consider calling ahead. They don’t take reservations, but will put your name on the list, for quicker seating after arrival. Atlas boasts a respectable list of draft beers and domestic whiskey, so if you do encounter a wait, have a brew or bourbon to pass the time around the large U-shaped bar. A half-wall physically separates the bar area from the spacious dining area. A mix of tables with padded chairs and cozy booths provide a comfortable place to enjoy a meal. Service is prompt and friendly.
The best advice for first-timers to Atlas is “come hungry.” Portions are generous, prices reasonable and the menu is loaded with great choices. Start with the smoked buffalo wings ($7.95), smoked and fried whole chicken wings lightly coated in the house Buffalo sauce, accompanied by a creamy homemade bleu cheese dressing and crisp celery.
Lose the chill of a cool spring day with one the belly-warming soups on Atlas’ menu. The rich corn chowder ($4.25) is chock-full of bacon, potatoes and roasted corn. Flavorful smoked tomato soup ($4.25) is a favorite vegetarian option.
Fresh salads ($6.95-$8.95) and creative sandwiches with fries ($8.95-$10.25) are great alternatives to the barbeque items. But, let’s face it, if you are at a place with “BBQ” in the name, most people are there for barbeque. Atlas will not disappoint on that front.
The onsite smokers turn out beautifully smoked meat, made fresh every day. The baby back ribs ($17.95/half, $26.95/full) and St. Louis ribs ($15.95/half, $24.95/full) are both cooked to perfection, with tender, flavorful meat, not quite falling off the bone. It can be hard to get beef brisket done right, but Atlas does just that. Here the beef brisket ($14.95) achieves a most pleasing texture with an appropriate layer of crispy, charred fat. Sauce lovers take note—this is all dry rub smoked meat, none of it comes pre-sauced. On the table, diners will find a caddy filled with different house barbeque sauces representing different regions. It is fun to try them all to find the one you like best.
Desserts at Atlas are all made in house. It’ll be hard, but try to save a little bit of room for a slice of refreshing key lime pie ($4.95) or the creamy house cheesecake ($6.95).
1304 12th Ave., Grafton
Handicap access: Yes