Feeling unfulfilled by their respective careers in banking and accounting, Josh Sagarin and Sean Keenan decided to start from scratch and open a restaurant that brought a small taste of the Crescent City's flavors and spirit to the heart of Atlanta. Money was tight as the friends got closer to the opening date in 1996, so they decided to cut some costs by scavenging Josh's parents' attic and collecting stacks upon stacks of old newspapers. Front pages with the best headlines earned frames and spots on the walls, and the rest were used to create a makeshift, newspaper m?ch? covering for the unfinished cement floors.
Things have changed a bit since those days. Front Page News now features two restaurant locations within the Atlanta area, and the newsprint-blanketed floors are a thing of the past. Tired of constantly patching the well trodden spots, Josh and Sean invested in slate floors as soon as possible.
In keeping with the friends' passion for New Orleans cuisine, the menus at Front Page News feature a broad selection of familiar classics, such as jambalaya and gumbo brimming with local Georgia chicken, okra, and peppers. These regional influences are even present on the burgers, which feature grass-fed, wet-aged beef patties topped with everything from grilled andouille sausage to fried green tomatoes and roasted red peppers.
A drink list complete with local beers on tap and potent cocktails is also on-hand to help quench thirsts. Front Page News even earned a spot on CBS Atlanta's 2012 list of the Best Bloody Marys In Atlanta, which praised the restaurant for its spicy renditions of the classic drink. For diners who would prefer to experiment a bit more, the restaurant features a build-your-own-bloody-mary bar during Saturday and Sunday brunch complete with 100 ingredients. Live local bands play every Friday and Saturday night starting at 10 p.m., and customers can join the the free Royalty Rewards Club to receive discounts, bonus points, and gift certificates in the mail.
GME Sports Lounge and Grill's walls boast more than 40 flat-screen TVs and six projector screens?all of which, of course, ensure fans don't miss a minute of the big game, unlike a toddler who dislikes sports. Patrons can cheer on their favorite team while cheersing over buckets of beer, pitchers of long island ice tea, and rum punches. They can also communally fill their bellies with a number of shareable pub grub platters, including plates piled high with nachos, tater tots, and spicy wings. But those who want a hearty meal all for themselves can dig into cheeseburgers, turkey burgers, and fried fish sandwiches.
At Big Kahuna, recently named one of the "Best new restaurants of 2013" by Jezebel Magazine, the surf culture of Southern California meets the warm embrace of Southern hospitality. Retro long boards hang from the restaurant's walls, and alfresco dining—with its fresh breezes and sounds of nature—evokes soaking up a sunset from a Malibu beach house. Just as Big Kahuna's ambiance blurs the lines between cultures, so, too, does its menu. Diners can reel in all-natural burgers, steak churrasco, rice bowls with grilled veggies, baja fajitas, and fresh seafood, including ahi tuna, or imbibe beach-inspired cocktails such as surf-tinis and margaritas. Their emphasis on hospitality extends beyond the restaurant, with two hours of validated parking available during lunch and five hours during dinner, allowing guests enough parking time to eat dinner and see a show or game.
The Derby Sports Grille Pub's crew of cuisine crafters delivers a capacious menu of pub favorites and beverages. An appetizing arrangement of cheese sticks bathes in a marinara concoction ($6.50), and battered buffalo shrimp inhabit oceans of mild, medium, or hot sauce ($6.95). The deft cooks stack up the Derby Melt, an 8-ounce burger cushioned by marble-rye bread and melted swiss cheese ($8.95), and diners can dollop mounds of barbecue-infused pulled pork and coleslaw on waiting buns ($7.95). Order a mealtime multiplicity of wings engulfed in sauces both classic and inventive, such as teriyaki, lemon-pepper, or sweet and sour⎯all served bone in or out ($6.99 for 6, $7.99 for 10, $13.99 for 20). Any of these meals can be enjoyed with a mug of beer, a glass of wine, or a derby hat filled with cognac.
Cartoon skulls color the ragged wooden sign outside Matador's, creating a rustic, yet playful, atmosphere where cuisine from the Michoacán region treats taste buds to an authentic taste of Mexico. Pulled pork, tilapia, and tofu are just a sample of what's stuffed into the tortillas of 14 types of tacos, which sate south-of-the-border cravings quicker than a deep-fried bolo tie. Combination plates and vegetarian options round out the menu at the restaurant's two locations, both of which offer spacious patio seating. At the newer Glenwood Park location, patrons can relax in a separate bar area as flat-screen TVs glimmer across intoxicating bottles of top-shelf spirits.