A fire broke out in the pit at B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue in Riverside in northwest Atlanta around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Channel 2 News. Owner Bryan Furman apparently tried to put out the flames before firefighters arrived, but the fire quickly got out of control and spread through the restaurant.
An app on Furman’s phone alerted him to the fire. He could see the flames from his home in Riverside coming from the pit house located right behind the restaurant. Furman tells Channel 2 reporter Darryn Moore, he arrived soon after receiving the alarm on his phone to find the cook who tends the meats overnight missing. He tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but it spread too fast.
Over 35 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze, 11Alive News reports. A portion of the roof collapsed. Further reporting by 11Alive indicates, fire officials are investigating whether a non-working fire hydrant near the restaurant hindered them from dousing the flames earlier. The fire was finally extinguished around 6 a.m.
In an interview with Channel 2 news reporter Kristen Holloway, Furman says his immediate concern is for his 35 employees and making sure they get paid while the restaurant rebuilds. Even after losing all of his equipment in Wednesday’s fire, he remains optimistic, “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. I don’t think it will be that hard.”
No one was injured. Officials are still trying to determine what caused the fire.
The community and fellow Riverside neighbors and businesses are now rallying around the Furmans. A GoFundMe page was established Wednesday in order to assist the Furmans and their employees, who are currently out of work. The campaign hopes to raise $5,000.
This is the second fire Furman and his wife and business partner Nikki Furman have endured. Their Savannah restaurant on Coffee Bluff Road burned to the ground in 2015. The couple rebuilt the restaurant and reopened nearby on White Bluff Road with the help of the community just four months later.
The Furmans opened a second, much larger B’s Cracklin’ a year later in Atlanta. The restaurant is now one of the most lauded barbecue restaurants in Atlanta and the South. B’s Cracklin’ was named Restaurant of the Year in 2017’s Eater Awards and is on several “best of” barbecue lists. In 2018, an outpost of B’s opened at State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks basketball team.
B’s Cracklin’ plays host to pop-ups like Erika Council’s popular Saturday biscuit breakfasts, dinner series such as The Plate Sale from Staplehouse alums Mike and Shyretha Sheats, and serves as a neighborhood gathering place for meals, fundraisers, and meetings.
Furman was just named a James Beard Awards semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast.
2061 Main Street NW, Atlanta. bscracklinbbq.com.
Update: March 6, 1:15 p.m.; This story was updated with new information regarding the GoFundMe campaign.
Update: March 6, 9 a.m.; This story was updated with new information concerning the fire’s origins in the smokehouse and events prior to the arrival of the fire department.