J’s Southern Smoke – a place to dine in, pig out in Cumming

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CUMMING, Ga. – Word of mouth goes a long way in this digital age.

That’s what Micah Shapiro has experienced in getting the word out about J’s Southern Smoke Restaurant, 101 Colony Park Drive, Suite 100 in Cumming.

“We’ve been very lucky and very successful in this location,” Shapiro said. “It’s word of mouth. We’ll have folks eat here on a Monday and they come back on a Tuesday with four or five of their friends.”

Pulled pork is their No. 1 seller.

“In Georgia, it seems like pork is king in barbecue,” Shapiro said. “Behind that, we sell a ton of brisket. We sell out of brisket almost everyday.”

On a recent Tuesday, business was steady. Tom Dill, who works nearby at North Georgia Wellness, said he comes to J’s at least once a week for the brisket and says the barbecue here is top notch.

“It’s one of my favorite barbecue places and the value – for $6.50 for lunch – it’s unmatched,” Dill said. “I have choices all over, but this is it.”

While many restaurants don’t make it past their first year in business, Shapiro, of Alpharetta, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Sarah, and his dad, Marvin, took a cautious approach when it came to getting started.

Barbecuing began as a recreational thing. Also, friends assured them they needed to open a restaurant.

“We would have a yard sale and we would sell barbecue,” said Shapiro. “We tended to sell more barbecue than anything else.”

They catered for the first two years before delving into the restaurant. Now, their restaurant is also used for catering private events. Just recently, they hosted the Democratic Women of Forsyth County meeting.

“We’ve done weddings, birthdays, poll parties, brisses [Jewish rite of circumcision], you name it,” Shapiro said.

And just as quickly as word of mouth has spread, social media sites are also abuzz over their food, especially their sauces. The Trip Advisor website ranked J’s No. 5 out of 91 restaurants in Cumming.

On each table, there are four sauces: sweet, a vinegar base, a mustard base and a spicy sauce.

“We try to cover all of barbecue,” said Shapiro. “Vinegar and mustard sauce are from [South] Carolina; sweet comes from Memphis and spicy, in my opinion, is a Texas barbecue sauce.”

Nothing comes pre-sauced at J’s.

“We should be able to cater to your taste,” Shapiro said. “Doesn’t matter where you come from in the nation, we should be able to please you with our barbecue.”

For more, call 678-499-2859 and find them on Facebook.