Earlier this summer, my mom and I went out to dinner in Downtown Roswell. We were planning to go to our favorite pizza place, Diesel, but we couldn’t find parking easily. While we were driving around trying to decide what to do, we caught a wonderful whiff of something that smelled faintly familiar, delicious and perfect for our rumbling tummies. It was the smoke wafting in the air from Swallow at the Hollow. We immediately changed our minds and followed our nose to this old favorite barbecue place of ours. It had been years since we had eaten here, but Swallow at the Hollow has been a Roswell landmark since before we moved to Georgia in the 90s. I can remember when I was young, my friend Lindsey’s parents took us out to dinner there and tiny little 7-year-old me ordered a full rack of ribs that (to everyone's surprise) I easily put away without a problem. I was a total carnivore when I was a kid, needless to say.
I’m not sure why we hadn’t gone in a while, maybe because the restaurant is tucked back in a nice little corner, sort of hidden from the rest of the downtown scene. The delicious smell is the only thing that gives away its hiding spot. But, even though I've been missing out, the food hasn’t changed at all. It’s still as mouthwatering and completely satisfying as ever. And the atmosphere at Swallow at the Hollow hasn’t changed a bit either. It’s relaxed in southern fashion, and most nights there’s live music and plenty of people eating on the picnic tables out front.
My mom and I ordered a couple of beers and an appetizer to start. I went with a Blue Moon, which I really only like if it’s on draught, and it was perfect for a cool summer evening. My mom got a Stone IPA, which comes from a brewery in California that we when to when we visited my brother last Christmas. We also got an order of fried green tomatoes, which my mom really loved but I wasn’t crazy about. I’ve adopted sweet tea and grits, but fried green tomatoes are a southern favorite that will never make its way into my book. Besides, I was saving room for the main event anyway!
My mom and I split a rack of ribs that came with two sides and Texas toast. Let me tell you about these ribs. They are magical. The meat slides off the bone and melts in your mouth, the smokiness is just right and the sweet sticky barbecue sauce compliments the whole thing and will make you do a happy dance in your chair. These are seriously the very best ribs I’ve ever had. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to order something different on the menu, but I’ve heard great things about all of the food. The sides speak for themselves, too. We ordered the macaroni and cheese, gooey and cheesy with just the right kick of pepperiness. We got french fries too, but they ended up being neglected for the most part.
I wish we had room for dessert, because the pies they serve come from Greenwood’s, another well-established restaurant that’s right across the street. I guess I’ll just have to go back for it next time! Which will hopefully be soon, because I’ve made myself hungry all over again by writing this post. No joke, if you’re ever near this place (or even if you’re not), you need to make your way over there and get some of these ribs so you can die happy. You can thank me later!