The slightly cavernous interior at 1190 N. Highland Ave. was always a problem for its previous occupant, Vine. The intimacy needed for fine dining was difficult to create in such a space, and even the broad patio, a huge asset in this Virginia-Highland neighborhood, seemed too unrefined for $30 entrees.
The space is practically perfect for a barbecue joint, however, particularly one that's full of happy eaters, as D.B.A. Barbecue is most evenings. Vine's subdued and slightly dowdy wine country décor has been replaced by barnyard chic - rough wood on the walls, Americana, neon and metal signage. It's too bright and clean to look like a real 'cue dive (à la Daddy D'z), but it does manage to feel friendly and neighborly. And in the warmer months, that patio is going to be ... qu'est-ce que c'est ... smokin'.
D.B.A. (a play on "doing business as usual") had a bit of a rough start the barbecue was almost universally reported as underwhelming. So owners James Ehrlich and Matt and Lee Coggin brought in new chef Drew Kirkland. Kirkland had been working as chef de cuisine for Kevin Rathbun and brought with him his Lang smoker. I never ate at the restaurant prior to the changes, but in its current state, D.B.A. is turning out big piles of tasty meat, along with classic Southern sides done right.
(Photo by James Camp)
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