5 Must-Try Atlanta Restaurants
When it comes to dining out, we want it delicious and we want it unique. We're lucky to live in a town where the bizarre and the tasty often coexist in harmony. Check out these new Atlanta offerings.
What was once a transformed popcorn cart and then a food truck is now a freestanding, full-service sit-down restaurant. Jim Stacy, king of the gourmet corn dog, promised eager acolytes a soft launch and opening party on Halloween night in 2013. After countless days of little rest and the occasional all-nighter, Stacy delivered the goods. The gut-renovated establishment in historic Avondale Estates was packed to the gills, serving up all-beef corn dogs, foot-long frankfurters, mouthwatering pastrami sandwiches and plenty of booze creams (adult egg creams) and shaketails (spiked milkshakes). The food truck/corn dog wagon is still for hire and Pallookaville is now open for regular business. We don’t expect those deep fryers a cooling off period anytime soon.
Smoke Ring in Castleberry Hills is a new barbecue joint that opened its doors in late September. It’s near the Ferris Wheel and a great meeting place for Braves or Falcons games or just when you want to get your fix of really great meat. Order up half a chicken, some spare ribs, baby back ribs, pork belly, brisket or pulled pork. They make their own sauces including a mustard sauce made from whole grain Guinness mustard, a white barbecue sauce and an ancho chile red barbecue sauce. Vegetarian options include the Ultimate Grilled Cheese with pimento cheese and grilled onions, a smoked portobello sandwich and salads. And there are always the sides to load up on like fried okra, fried green tomatoes, smoked salmon cakes and chicken wings. The bold will want to check out the selection of moonshine and bourbon. And they serve only domestic beers but they are ice cold and pair great with this distinctively Georgia 'cue.
Paging Dr. Bombay! After all these years, Atlanta finally has its own dedicated drag bar and restaurant called Lips. Oh, sure, Blake’s in Midtown has their fair share of shows and if you were lucky, Sister Louisa served you a cold one at the Local, but there’s never been a full-on, glammed-out drag-o-rama in the city. Located on Buford Highway, Lips is the brainchild of Yvonne Lamé, who was once a regular at the famed Studio 54. Ever since Miss Lamé pulled on her first pair of stockings she dreamt that she’d someday have her own club with “a color palette equal to a drag queen's jewelry box that had exploded.” Partnering with restaurant and show designer Brenda Starr, the dynamic duo transformed a raw 7,000-square-foot space into an absolutely fabulous venue complete with crystal chandeliers, disco balls, screamingly bright fabrics and a sparkling stage. There’s a minimum on food and, naturally, plenty of champagne.
After a night at Lips, head over to Juicy Jenny Community Juice Bar & Superfood Emporium and ask them to whip you up a hangover cure. Located in Buckhead near Souper Jenny, Juicy Jenny serves bottled juices, made-to-order smoothies and plenty of organic items like hummus, black bean cakes, kale salads and daily roasted vegetables. There’s also a vegan lunch bar. The juice bar is the third business venture of Jenny Levinson, who also owns Cafe Jonah and the Magical Attic in Buckhead and has plans to expand Souper Jenny into Decatur.
The long-awaited Sobban in Decatur is finally cooking with gas. The “Southern Korean” outfit started serving up their delectable fried chicken with sweet chili ginger sauce about a month ago, worked out a few kinks and now look like they’ve been doing it for years. We think you’ll definitely want to try the surf and turf pairing of grilled short rib, tempura shrimp with house made kimchi sauce. Vegetarians should check out the sweet potato side, the braised daikon radish or the miso kale – all served Southern style. Leave room for the chocolate tofu ice cream and the Korean pear compote. If you get really lucky, Chef Jiyeon Lee will be in the house. Lee was once a Korean pop star. Folks are now singing her praise for her unique Kal Guk Soo that cannot be found anywhere else in the country. Chef and co-owner Cody Taylor, formerly of Heirloom Market BBQ and the Ritz-Carlton, joins Lee in the kitchen.