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Old South Bar-B-Q, A Community Staple

Serving Authentic Southern Flavors for Over Half a Century

In a world where trends come and go, Old South Bar-B-Q has withstood the test of time, serving as a cherished culinary landmark in Smyrna for over five decades. Smyrna’s oldest operating restaurant was established in 1968 by Helen and Jim Llewallyn, and has become an enduring symbol of Southern hospitality and authentic barbecue cuisine. 

Joy Llewallyn, the current owner and operator, carries on the legacy of her parents with unwavering dedication. "My Daddy always called it 'Momma's Baby,'" she reminisces, emphasizing the restaurant's roots as a female-owned and operated business. From the very beginning, every aspect of Old South Bar-B-Q was a labor of love. Her mother, Helen, was the driving force behind the kitchen, meticulously crafting each dish with love and care, while her father, Jim, designed the menus, logos, and handcrafted the tables and booths that still grace the dining room today.

What sets Old South Bar-B-Q apart are its steadfast commitments to preserving the original recipes and techniques that have been passed down through generations. From the tender, fall-off-the-bone spare ribs to the succulent pulled or chopped pork, and the lean black angus beef, each dish is a testament to the Llewallyn family's culinary heritage. The Brunswick stew, a local favorite, and the vinegar-based coleslaw, a tangy delight, are prepared just as Helen Llewallyn did decades ago.

Joy's husband, Paul Banks, plays a vital role in the daily operations, diligently opening the restaurant each morning and ensuring that every dish is cooked to perfection, embodying the family's dedication to quality and customer satisfaction.

While Old South Bar-B-Q has adapted to changing times by introducing new sauces and side dishes like the beloved fried okra, mac-n-cheese bites, and the aptly named "Jimmy's Hickory Fries" (a nod to a loyal patron), the restaurant's ambiance remains untouched. Joy has meticulously preserved the decor, allowing patrons to step back in time and relive cherished memories from their childhood visits.

Step inside, and you'll be enveloped in a warm, down-home atmosphere where Joy greets each guest like family, oftentimes with a welcoming hug. The walls are adorned with collages of customers, past and present, creating a sense of community and nostalgia that resonates with locals and visitors alike.

Despite facing challenges, such as the recent construction and traffic pattern changes that have impacted accessibility, Joy Llewallyn remains steadfast in her commitment to preserving the legacy of Old South Bar-B-Q. "I love this place," she says, "it has been a major part of my life for most all my life." With no immediate succession plan in place, Joy's dedication to ensuring the restaurant's future is unwavering, driven by her love for the customers who have become like family over the decades.

Old South Bar-B-Q is more than just a restaurant; it's a living embodiment of Smyrna's rich culinary heritage and a testament to the enduring power of family, tradition, and a passion for serving up delicious Southern comfort food, one plate at a time.

Old South Bar-B-Q
601 Burbank Circle
Smyrna, GA 30080

If heading west from I-75 or Cobb Parkway, take the right lane after Atlanta Road onto the local access road. After the second overpass, make a U-turn. Then, turn right onto Burbank Circle. Old South Bar-B-Q is at the end of Burbank Circle on the left.

Coming from West Cobb, head east on Macland Road to Windy Hill Road. Cross Austell Road and South Cobb Drive, staying in the right lane. Take the local access road; Old South is at the bottom of the hill on the right.

"Our recipes and decor remain unchanged since 1968, ensuring Old South BBQ feels like home for everyone."

Pull Quote 2 --

"I love Old South and all the customers! They have been a huge part of my life and all feel like family to me."

  • Joy Llewallyn and her husband, Paul Banks

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