Carefully wrapped cuts of meat and sausages and encased salami fly over the deli counter at Rocco's New York Italian Deli as staffers craft the homemade Italian entrees that compose this traditional deli’s menu. Owner Adam Kahn draws upon his family’s recipes to craft a selection of meat, cheeses, and desserts available by the pound and savory dishes that burst with classic Italian ingredients like a tomato vine when rent is due. Almost every morsel is made from scratch, from the sweet crust of Grandma’s cheesecake to the homemade bread made fresh every morning to ensconce the deli meats in a selection of hot and cold sandwiches. The deli also sources some specialty items straight from Italy to showcase the country's flavorful pepperoncini, piquant Reggiano parmigiana, and tart limonata, lending customers a taste of authentic Italian treats without needing to install a gelato-cast statue of David.
Mojo Pizza N' Pub has topped its signature New York-style sesame crust with house-made sauce since 1998. Each pizza is baked on a pizza stone, including the Muffaletta with pepperoni, smoked ham, olives, and pepperoncinis, and the Mardi Gras, which tosses smoked bacon, Italian sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions around the necks of enthusiastic onlookers. In addition to pizza, Mojo creates eight salads, such as Greek and chicken Caesar, douses chicken wings with teriyaki sauce, and assembles beef lasagna in house. Beers from 13 rotating taps join wine and cocktails behind the bar, whose libations complement slices both indoors and on the outdoor dog-friendly patio. Mojo Pizza N' Pub hosts trivia nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and plugs in an array of video games to entertain younger diners.
Thanks to its diverse dishes and sundry dining settings, The Porch at Collier wears many hats. There's its traditional dining room, where romantic couples luxuriate in the dinner menu's delicate pastas and house-smoked chicken amid plum-colored drapes and flower-topped tables. There's the lounge, which surrounds friends with wicker lamps and leafy plants as they revel in televised sports and sip one of 12 draft beers, and the café, whose neon-lined walls peppered with framed photographs create a classy atmosphere in which to savor the late-night menu. Finally, there's the eatery's namesake—an expansive rooftop porch—lined with wooden tables—that lets diners enjoy gourmet lunchtime fare or attempt to topple Icarus' record for getting close to the sun. Each of the restaurant's contemporary American creations is crafted with local, sustainable ingredients and a minimal dependence on artificial preservatives, ensuring that dining experiences are both decadent and eco-friendly.
Crescent Avenue in Atlanta’s Midtown is a great little row of restaurants and bars, with a full range of options from Irish pubs to upscale seafood. On the most casual end of the scale is a Florida beach-themed spot called Flip Flops. There is a pizza kitchen offering pies or pretzels, but it’s best to show up at Flip Flops later in the evening for drinks with friends instead. If Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (the song or the restaurant) puts a smile on your face, then you will feel right at home at Flip Flops, with its tiki island décor and patio seating. There’s ample space to meet up with friends for a drink before heading to one of the destination restaurants on Crescent Avenue, but beware: Flip Flops does have a serious frat party reunion vibe. Just go with the flow and you should have a great time.
Visiting Bone Lick BBQ is as much about the experience as it is about the food. Inside, a skee-ball machine from 1945 stands alongside classic tabletop arcade games, and old school rock n' roll spins atop a record player (patrons can even bring in their own vinyl and get a complimentary PBR for their effort). Further entertainment comes in the form of TVs above the bar and the occasional live act, including comedy every Wednesday evening.
Even with such a fun, laid-back atmosphere, the food still shines at Bone Lick. Its chefs rub beef, pork, and chicken in secret spice blends, then cook them for hours on end over hickory and pecan woods. While the meat cooks, the chefs stay extremely busy—they make everything on their menu from scratch every day.
They bake corn bread, braise collards in pork, and blend jalapeños into mac 'n' cheese. They also whip up homemade pickles and cider slaw to lay atop pulled-pork sandwiches on griddled texas toast. Even the cotton candy, funnel cakes, and Granny Pearl's pecan pie are made in-house, though no one knows how Ms. Pearl keeps sneaking into the kitchen unnoticed.
At the bar, which is made from recycled shipping pallets, mixologists concoct creative cocktails, such as bacon old-fashions. They also send out crisp Georgia drafts and American-crafted whiskies.
Vespucci’s Pizza and Pasta is a great lunch spot in Midtown Atlanta for anyone craving real New York-style pizza. Located close to the Woodruff Arts Center, the small, casual eatery also makes for a convenient place to fill up before or after a trip to the High Museum, or on a break from work. They blend their own sauces in-house, and infuse the flavors into everything from pizza and pasta to calzones and panini. In warmer weather, there are a few patio tables out front, with a faux-rustic indoor atmosphere that’s heavy on black and white photographs and old Italian signage. There’s a lot to be proud of here: Vespucci’s is still family-run after more than fifteen years, and remains one of the few proudly un-corporate establishments left on Peachtree Street. It also works well as a place to meet up with friends for a drink after work.