“Our menu reads like a classic barbecue menu. Our seasonings and a lot of our specialty sides and the way we incorporate ingredients is what makes us different,” Taylor said.
Taylor brings his Southern upbringing to the table, and Lee brings her south Korean roots. Taylor’s family dates back 150 years in Texas, his birthplace. He was raised in the Smoky Mountains and moved to Georgia in 1996.
Lee was born in Seoul, Korea. A rising pop star, she recorded four No. 1 albums in a row and sang at the 1988 Olympics. She disliked the limelight and moved to the U.S. to pursue a new creative direction in culinary arts. After graduating from culinary school, she worked for restaurants such as ZUMA, Repast, Eugene and Hotel St. Regis Atlanta.
Lee and Taylor met in 2008. They both shared a passion for food.
“We use certain seasonings, ingredients (and) techniques to make it our own style of barbecue,” Taylor said. “We have lot of regional Southern influence in the sauces and seasonings. (The restaurant) is very much Southern American.”
The pair recognized that many of the ingredients used in Korean food and Southern barbecue were similar. Though neither worked in a barbecue restaurant before opening Heirloom Market BBQ in 2010, they successfully developed their own unique style.
“We did it by touch,” Taylor said. “We have the south Korean twist to it.”
One of their famous dishes is the spicy Korean pork sandwich. Only seven months after opening, Garden & Gun Magazine named the sandwich as one of the best barbecue sandwiches in the Southeast. They have also received accolades from publications such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Magazine.
Heirloom Market BBQ offers traditional items like macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, Brunswick stew and baked beans but adds their special touch to other sides. Taylor said, “Some of the items you have to ask, ‘Is this Southern or is it Korean?’ because it’s kind of a mix between the two. We put a chef’s touch on a lot of the sides.”
He said the fried side items may seem traditional, but they are not. For example, the fried green tomatoes are fried in a Korean Tempura batter that contains cornmeal and served with Kimchi mayonnaise rather than ranch dressing.
“There’s a little twist to (the menu), but it’s going to be very familiar,” Taylor said. “We stay close to barbecue, but we do it a little bit different. We put a lot of effort into the food.”
Hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday. Catering is also available. For more information, visit www.heirloommarketbbq.com or call (770) 612-2502.