For more than two decades, American Roadhouse has crafted classic diner meals from fresh ingredients and carefully guarded special recipes. Burgers decorate patties with toppings such as sautéed mushrooms and blue cheese, and the B.L.A.T. sandwich adds ripe avocado to the usual BLT lineup of bacon, lettuce, and ketchup packets with a handwritten apology note. Today, a second location in the Pencil Factory Lofts spreads the Roadhouse’s edible gospel to new mouths, tacking on a private dining room and outdoor seating for diners who want a sunny spot to undergo photosynthesis during dinner.
High above the bustling shops and bistros of Virginia-Highland, The Warren City Club members toast the view on a third-level garden terrace. Tiled in stone and surrounded by Atlanta's cityscape, the patio's rustic French doors lead to exclusive stomping grounds furnished with rich wooden furniture, aged brick walls, and no fewer than five roaring fireplaces. These elegant environs are housed in a turn-of-the-century building, and its timeless appeal is matched by cuisine prepared by Johnson and Wales–trained chef William Taylor.
While most must pay an entry fee to enjoy Chef Taylor's singular suppers such as the Captain Crunch–crusted Atlantic salmon or seared sea scallops over butternut-squash risotto, members enjoy unbarred access to any meal. Their status also grants them exclusive deals at local businesses including floral boutiques and personal trainers, and invisible "Members Only" jackets handcrafted by imperial tailors. Non-members hoping for an admission-free taste of the high life can attend Sunday Brunch, or drop by the Open House on the first Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Locally sourced produce and meats mingle with imported Thai spices on Surin's hefty menu, which considerately calls out spicy dishes with 0–3 chili-pepper symbols. Embark on an epicurean adventure to Southeast Asia with a helping of fancy Thai sausages ($6.50) or a suitcase filled with the tender beef fillets and spices of the nuer nom tok ($9.50), served with crisp cabbage leaves for wrapping. Shrimp and asparagus offer companionship to the star crustaceans of the soft-shell crab dish ($18), and egg, broccoli, and garlic exhibit their friendliness by offering to french-braid the flat noodles of the pad see-u entree ($10.50). Chefs can whip up Thai curries in three levels of spiciness, the highest of which comes with its own tongue-cooling ice sculpture melted into a water glass.
Fontaine's is a popular place to grab a few drinks and net a hearty bounty of seafood that can be eaten or later traded for rum and spices. Your Groupon can be used toward the daily and happy-hour specials, including $3 Stellas and half-priced peel-and-eat shrimp by the half-pound (normally $9.95) on Mondays; $5 for a dozen raw house oysters on Tuesdays; $3 Guinesses and half-priced crab legs on Wednesdays; all of the above food prices apply on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and free mermaid arm-wrestling tournaments on Seadays. The everyday menu sports a variety of starters, specialties, sandwiches, and oysters. Get a baker's dozen raw from the Gulf of Mexico for $10 and a baker's half for $6. Practice your shucking with a dozen ($10.50) or two-dozen ($20) steamed in the shell. Fontaine's has chicken ($12.95) or shrimp and scallop jambalaya ($14.95) by the plate, and salads ($4–$14.25) by the bowl.
Having worked a desk job for five years, licensed massage therapist Gina Manley is familiar with the aches involved with sitting all day in a stiff chair. That was one of the reasons she left the corporate world to become a massage therapist. But those five years weren't in vain; it was an experience that taught her that massages aren't just for wealthy people who are sore from swimming in their champagne-filled swimming pools. Rather, massages are a legitimate tool for promoting better health. She demonstrates this belief with her specialty Swedish and hot stone massages, designed to help achieve health benefits that range from boosting circulation to squeezing out toxins.
Noche crafts refined small plates that mix Southern cuisine with Spanish cooking styles. A wide selection of tapas lets disparate diners bond over passed plates of chicken empanadas with pineapple-mango jubilee ($6) and coriander grilled lamb-chop lollipops ($9). Warmed tortillas wrap a selection of traditional tacos and atypical creations such as lobster tacos with oaxaca cheese ($7) and the fried chicken-filled, queso-doused trailer park taco ($4). Green-eating grazers, meanwhile, can divide portions of fried green tomatoes ($5) and vegetable tostadas layered with goat cheese and cilantro pesto ($6). Noche's chefs also outfit classic comfort food with Spanish accents, pairing pan-seared crab cakes with poblano cream ($9) and mixing shrimp and grits with grilled chorizo and jalapeño jack cheese ($8).