Empire State South returns to Atlanta’s Georgian roots, serving up Southern-style comfort food with a modern twist. The chef/partner of Empire State South is celebrated Canadian chef Hugh Acheson, who won the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast. All of the heart-warming classics of Southern cuisine are here, from collard greens to grits, catfish po’boy and Benton’s country ham. On a sunny weekend, grab a seat on the outdoor patio overlooking the bocce ball court and order a lovely portion of pimento cheese with bacon marmalade followed by your choice of ESS’ deliciously meaty dishes, you can hardly go wrong with this menu. Simple, authentically Southern and full of flavor, ESS is the place to go to experience the modern South.
Packed with flavor and shamelessly hearty, a good home-style Southern breakfast is the best way to start the day. Home Grown’s specialty is its ‘Comfy’ chicken biscuit, an open-faced Southern style biscuit sandwich topped with crispy-but-juicy chunks of fried chicken drowned in delicious sausage gravy.
Address: 968 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA.
The General Muir pays homage to the classic New York Jewish deli and is named after the transport ship that brought owner Jennifer Johnson’s family, who had survived the Holocaust, to New York in 1949. Everything is made by hand in the shop, from pastrami cured and smoked in-house to hand rolled bagels to its freshly made desserts. In classic New York style, The General Muir specializes in bagels and sandwiches, its version of the Reuben comes with a heaped pile of corned beef, sauerkraut, Gruyère cheese on buttered rye. The pastrami poutine, a plate of fries, mixed with cheese curds, doused in chicken gravy and sprinkled with copious amounts of pastrami, also comes highly recommended.
Address: 1540 Avenue Pl B-230, Atlanta, GA.
Hankook Taqueria received Alton Brown’s enthusiastic seal of approval for ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Bang for the Buck’ for its Bibimbap. A rice-based dish with marinated mushrooms, zucchini, mung beans, spinach, marinated rib-eye, fried egg and topped with a healthy dose of Hankook’s house red pepper chili sauce full of heat with a tinge of sweet. A true hole-in-the-wall cheap dining spot, Hankook Taqueria has built a loyal following for its Korean-Mexican fusion menu which, in addition to the bibimbap, also includes sesame fries, gogi-nachos (chips, jack cheese, Korean rib eye beef) and Korean BBQ tacos.
Address: 1341 Collier Rd NW, Atlanta, GA.
Holeman & Finch’s burger is legendary. Said by some to be the best burger on the planet, H&F’s burger is one of the most desirable items in town. At 10pm sharp, the bullhorn goes off announcing ‘burger time’, only 24 burgers are served each evening. Each double patty burger is topped with melting all-American Kraft Singles, garnished with house ketchup and mustard, and sits atop a freshly toasted brioche from H&F Bread Co. next door. Served along with hand-cut fries, from start to finish, the H&F burger is a labor of love. For those who, for whatever reason, can’t grab one of the 24 weekday evening burgers, there’s good news. Holeman & Finch serves 120 burgers all day on Sundays.
Address: 2277 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA.
The Optimist exposes the breadth of Atlanta’s food, which is no longer limited to hearty Southern comfort. Catch a whiff of Boston’s wharves whilst downing a steaming bowl of She-crab soup or munching at a Maine lobster roll. Though land-locked, The Optimist shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way, bringing a classic seafood dining experience to Atlanta with an eye on sustainability and freshness.
Address: 914 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA.
SunO builds its icy delights on the many-flavoured SunO ice base, which is a milky sweet frozen blend that is shaved into a fluffy concoction. On top of this, any number of Western and Asian toppings can be added ranging from fresh fruit to sweet mochi balls and red beans.
Atlanta boasts of one of the largest Korean communities in the US, and that rich Korean presence is making its way into Atlanta’s signature dishes as wonderful culinary fusions are created. Honey Pig is a major factor on the Korean side of this culinary equation, bringing authentic Korean dishes to Atlanta. The centerpiece of each table is the communal grill on which anything from Honey Pig’s signature pork belly (samgyupsal) to assorted mushrooms and baby octopus can be infused with flavor. Be sure to save room for the tofu soup and kimchi fried rice to finish off the meal.
Not only does Flip Burger make a strong case for being the best burger in Atlanta, a heated contest in this burger-loving Southern city, what turns the competition in Flip Burger’s favor is its imaginative flair and unmatchable milkshake & burger pairings. Award-winning chef Richard Blais’ burger concept, This is a burger boutique that combines greasy spoon with fine dining and surely presents the most exciting burgers in the city. Creativity is central to Flip’s concept as ingredients as far-fetched as saffron pickled zucchini and soy truffle vinaigrette are incorporated into the boutique burgers. Flip Burger’s burgers range from the classic to the non-traditional, where chickpea patties and steak tartare star. Flip Burger is also famous for its much-hyped ‘Liquid N2 Milk Shakes’ which, as its name suggests, are frozen using liquid nitrogen and come in delectably rich flavors like Krispy Kreme, Nutella + Burnt Marshmallow and Foie Gras.
Address: 1587 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA.
H. Harper Station melds Atlanta’s old-time Southern charm with a modern flair, a combination that has turned H. Harper Station into the go-to place in Atlanta for creative, superb cocktails. Housed in a converted old train station, H. Harper Station in Reynoldstown is owned and operated by mixologist Jerry Slater, and by all accounts, the drinks do not disappoint. Whether stopping by to escape the summer heat or ducking in from the (mildly) cold winter, the hefty ‘libations’ menu offers something for everyone.
Address: 904 Memorial Dr SE Atlanta, GA.