“For some reason, every time he wants to go out to eat, he wants to go to Mable’s,” the Decatur resident said. “Their food is really good.”
Apparently, lots of other folks agree.
Mable’s BBQ and Smoked Meats won not one, but three awards in CrossRoadsNews’ 2012 Best of East Metro Readers Choice Award Contest.
The Lithonia restaurant, which has been located on Snapfinger Road since 2006, was voted “Best Soul Food Restaurant,” “Best Ribs,” and “Best Takeout” in the contest’s Dining Out Category.
This was a happy surprise for Debra Franklin Rolle, a Phenix City, Ala., native who owns Mable’s with her husband, Cliff.
“They say we’re one of the best-kept secrets in Lithonia,” she said.
Mable’s is named for Rolle’s mother, Mable Franklin, a mother of seven who is still at work, baking cakes at Mable’s.
“Growing up, she was an excellent cook for her family and she cooked for the homeless at church,” Rolle said. “She was a baker, and she had a [barbecue] sauce that was so good we wanted to come up with a recipe for it.”
When they mastered it, 20 years ago, Rolle and her husband began preparing the sauce and selling it to friends.
On Oct. 14, 2006, they fulfilled their dream of opening a restaurant using Franklin’s sauce and recipes.
The restaurant was originally envisioned as a takeout eatery, with four tables to accommodate people waiting for their orders.
“But now it’s a comfortable, down-home place,” she said.
People like to dine in and chat with other diners, making new friends as they eat.
Mable’s also caters for large or small groups, with an expanded menu and delivery available.
The restaurant’s menu includes ribs and rib tips, pulled or whole chicken, chopped pork and chopped beef brisket.
Among the side dishes are baked beans, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, collard greens, cabbage and Brunswick stew.
For dessert, there is a rotating selection of cakes, pies, cobblers and banana pudding. Three of the biggest dessert sellers are Key lime cake, strawberry cake and the Italian cream cake.
Called-in orders are welcome, and that’s exactly what St. Fleur and her boyfriend, James Williams, like to do so they can get their food more quickly.
St. Fleur, an attorney in Fulton County Probate Court, was one of the readers who voted for Mable’s.
She’s been visiting the restaurant for about two years, she said.
St. Fleur said food is always served hot at Mable’s and tastes like it was made to order. Her boyfriend loves the ribs basket while she goes for the barbecue chicken.
“It’s good soul food,” St. Fleur said. “The desserts are really good.”
Rolle was pleased to hear that comment and said she welcomes more customer reviews.
“I encourage comments,” she said. “I tell my customers, ‘If something’s not right, let me know.’ I consider it all constructive feedback. We strive every day to make it better than it was the day before.”
Mable’s BBQ & Smoked Meats
Address: 3316 Snapfinger Road, Lithonia, GA 30038
Hours: Tuesdays through Thursdays 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Web site: mablesbbq.com.