Last year I attended the Roots Picnic in Philadelphia with a beautiful Black queen I dated when dating in person could be done worry free. The experience was horrible. I paid over $400 for the VIP tickets to hear artists singing along to tracks, there were no chairs and we were swept up in a mob-like stampede when 21 Savage ran off stage ducking as if he someone was shooting at him. To make matters even worse, the food was AWFUL.
Needless to say, my date and I were upset. To make up for the sorry experience, we decided to make our way throughout Philly by enjoying something the city is known for – its amazing cheesesteaks! We visited all the local favorites – Steve’s Prince of Steaks, Dalessandro’s Steak and Hoagies, Gino’s, and even stopped by Chubby’s. They were good, but pedestrian at best compared to Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, which isn’t even in Philly. Nope, one of the nation’s best cheesesteaks is in Downtown Atlanta.
Mr. D. Hayes created Big Dave’s six years ago cooking out of a Shell Gas Station with just one flat iron. Today, Big Dave’s is serving customers from a beautiful and spacious location with three giant flat irons on the first floor of the Healey Building located downtown at 57 Forsyth St. NW Suite 63, Atlanta, GA 30303.
Mr. Hayes was one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met in a city with too many snobby restauranteurs. A true CEO in the making, this brand has the potential to open several locations across the United States. His work ethic and down to earth personality were a breath of fresh air, along with his respectful approach to managing staff ensuring customers receive excellent service. The way he and his staff operates, make you want to root for them and seeing nothing but increase and more and more success.
Let’s get into what you came here for: The FOOD! We drove from Miami to Atlanta for our annual National Black Business Month Foodie Tour with high hopes, and this spot made the entire trip worth the time and money. I had a complete breakdown from eating just two of the Fried Chicken Philly Fries ($11.99). My entire body shut the hell down (Knees buckling and all) after tasting the homemade Cheez Whiz smothered over heaps of golden fried chicken seasoned so well a fight might break out if someone tried to take it from your plate.
The flavor integration was pure decadence and downright delightful. Just image the best chicken philly you’ve ever had deconstructed and spread around a bed of French fries (not those random Restaurant Depot fries either. These fries were good as hell). This sandwich was so damn good I was upset I was getting full, because I wanted more. If you’re feeling free with your fatness, go for the same thing but get it “Dave’s Way,” with even more toppings to enhance the already heavenly dish.
Now for the absolute best cheesesteak I’ve had in my entire life! The Big Dave Cheesesteak ($9.99) was transcendent chaos of impeccably seasoned seared angus beef piled to the highest possible level on a soft and fluffy bread roll cooked with bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, all equally yoked together by a baptism of molten cheeses. Lord Jesus have mercy on my body because I didn’t care about how many calories or even how I was looking eating this sandwich. I didn’t care about my increasing waist line at all. I didn’t care about Corona. I didn’t give af about anything but pushing this sandwich down my throat! It was worth it! As I write this article, I’m reminiscing and salivating for another one. Each cheesesteak whether fried chicken or beef, is a no-frills sandwich wrapped in foil paper struggling to containing the avalanche of greasy goodness and paper thin shaved meat married to outstandingly grilled veggies and house made cheese wiz waiting to bless your palate.
We tried every cheesesteak and the beef was my favorite. The fried chicken is amazing, but I prefer the fried chicken fries. I also recommend ordering your sandwich with as much cheese as you can (mild provolone, American, and of course Cheese Wiz). We also had some of their classic philly shaved ice, perfect for kids as they wait for their sandwich.
The very last thing we ate, tried its best outdo the damn cheesesteaks. This man created one of the most soulful eggrolls imaginable. We watched his staff fill our beautiful roll with seasoned salmon, grilled veggies, and cheese. The wrapping for the egg rolls is either made in-house or from a producer who exclusively created them for Big Dave’s. A basic wrap would not be able to withstand the fryer without bursting open. The flavor is so unique and soulful that it is honestly difficult to describe in detail. Each bite kept getting better and better until it was gone, which made me sad because I wanted more.
Atlanta is an amazing city and I am so excited that Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks is now a part of its food and drink tapestry. It’s a space that can one day become a true landmark and city staple like Gino’s in Philadelphia due to the intelligently designed offerings and space.
In our five years of traveling and eating throughout the United States, Big Dave’s goes down as one of my most memorable eateries along with the title of BEST CHEESESTEAK IN THE SOUTH! When visiting Atlanta, make sure Big Dave’s is one of your first stops. If you live in Atlanta, I envy you.