Pippins Serves Up Big Flavor in Small Spot

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Pippins Serves Up Big Flavor in Small Spot

Pippins Serves Up Big Flavor in Small Spot

A small spot in McDonough continues to make a big name for itself.

Ron Pippin opened the Original Pippin’s BBQ in 1986 in a small shed in McDonough, stirring up so much noise that he decided in 1988 to open up a permanent space near the McDonough square, where it still stands today on Sims Street.

“He didn’t want anything big,” recalls current owner David Curry of Pippin, who was known for hunting, fishing, and award-winning barbecue.

At age 17, Curry, a lifelong Henry County resident, worked next door when Pippin opened the shed and would walk over for a burger each week.

After working at Ford and then the Atlanta Auto Auction for most of his life, Curry and his wife Nicole decided to start their own businesses – they opened a Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery in Conyers in 2016, then in Eagles Landing in 2018.

Over the years, when Curry was the Henry County Tax Commissioner from 2009 to 2019, he met with Pippin from time to time.

“I used to joke with him, ‘Aren’t you tired of cooking BBQ?’,” Curry recalls.

Eventually, after Pippin had some health issues in 2018, he and Curry “shook on it” and the Curry family took over ownership in January 2019. They eventually sold their other businesses in 2021.

“It’s not meant to be a five-star restaurant,” Curry admits. “I just hope it’s an escape. We hope it’s good ole Southern comfort food with a really great meal and customer service.”

The current building sits in a small section of a shopping center with a small lot that can fill up with customers at certain parts of the day. Curry says the busiest time is lunch, but the restaurant is open until dinner with options for dine-in or to go.

Offering pork, chicken, beef brisket, and ribs on a plate or bread, nothing is precooked or frozen.

“We cook our meat fresh daily,” Curry explains. “We prepare everything daily.”

The baked beans recipe comes from Nicole’s family, and the Mac ‘n Cheese recipe was tweaked by the Curry family.

“The coleslaw is one that Ron came up with as a kid,” Curry explains, adding that the old Covington location and the current Conyers locations were not owned by Ron but by family and friends with different recipes. “He didn’t like his mom’s, so he said he had to come up with his own.”

Curry feels that the pork is their best seller — smothered in mild, hot, sweet or vinegar BBQ sauce or Worcestershire sauce — but admits that their brisket and Brunswick stew have a “big fan base” too.

Pippin’s also sells chicken salad, salads, and desserts like banana pudding, brownies, and apple pies.

“We eat there at least once a week,” admits McDonough resident Donna Renfroe, who lives part-time in Alabama. “As soon as I get back home, I go to Pippin’s.”

She and her family have been eating it since moving to the town about 30 years ago. Now, as empty nesters, she will get food for her and her husband Scott or meet friends there for lunch.

“When you go, you know you’re always going to see somebody you know,” she says, adding that the chicken and sides are her favorites. “It’s fresh — you can tell comparatively to other BBQ, and it’s always good.”

The restaurant also offers family dinners, bulk orders, and catering, recently serving more than 400 people, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, at the second annual 10th Congressional District BBQ.

By Michelle Floyd