One of the most unique aspects of Atlanta is the big city/small town feel. We’re one of the largest and most metropolitan cities of the south, yet all throughout the city are close-knit neighborhoods and charming pockets of small town southern charm. One of those areas is Decatur, Georgia. At just six miles east of downtown Atlanta, Decatur is quite close to the city center, yet undeniably possesses that lovely local appeal. While there is an endless list of noteworthy restaurants, shops and establishments, here are a few eateries that have a little extra something special. 1. Leon’s Full Service If you tell someone you’re going to Decatur, they will immediately tell you that you must go to Leon’s. It has literally happened to me every single time I go. But with good reason. Leon’s Full Service has delicious food, a comfortable and clean atmosphere and top-notch cocktails to match. Whether you want to sit down for a quick lunch, or have more of a drawn out, in-the-moment experience in mind, Leon’s is the place for you. 2. No. 246 Right next door to Leon’s is No. 246. This tasty eatery is the epitome of modern charm. Its attractive, upscale design indoors is met with a simple, relaxed outdoor patio dining area in the back of the restaurant. The best part (besides the food, of course)? There’s a ping-pong table for guests to enjoy as they wait for their food, creating an entertaining, yet relaxed atmosphere. Check out No. 246 for brunch—you won’t regret it. 3. The Café at Cakes & Ale Bakery Chances are you’ve heard of Cakes & Ale if you live in Atlanta. The restaurant is well known to most residents, but the owners also opened a bakery where they serve coffee, baked goods and light bites from breakfast to lunch hours. The pretty set up is enough to make you walk in, but guests stay for the perfectly customized coffee and fresh treats. Do yourself a favor and try the banana bread at The Café at Cakes & Ale. 4. Revolution Doughnuts A doughnut craze has swept the nation, and I can’t say I’m upset about it. This doughnut (and cronut) obsession has brought tons of new businesses to fruition, including Revolution Doughnuts. What makes this place special is that all of their treats are made from scratch, in house, with organic and local ingredients. A farm to table concept doughnut has been created and it is available right here in Atlanta. What are you waiting for? Join the craze! Photos by Johnny Cheng Photography.Read More
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Living in Atlanta, with year-round farmer’s markets and restaurants around the metro area highlighting the bountiful resources in the area, there’s no excuse not to eat healthy. Whether you’re fulfilling a New Year’s resolution or just making an effort to eat healthier, check out these restaurants to get a delicious meal that you can feel great about. Chicken is a great way to get some extra protein in a healthy diet, and the city’s Bantam + Biddy restaurants in Midtown and Ansley Park go the extra mile by serving all-natural, pastured poultry products in their meals. Diners have a choice of house made sauces to pair with their rotisserie chicken, in addition to a constantly rotating selection of sides to complete the experience. The spicy red piri piri sauce is a personal favorite. Don’t miss the chopped pastured chicken liver and their selection of salads. Yes, even their salad dressings are made in-house. An Alpharetta location of Bantam + Biddy will join the pair of intown locations in the fall. Atlantans may have become aware of chef Todd Ginsberg when his burgers hit the scene at Westside restaurant Bocado, but it’s the Jewish inspired fare at The General Muir near Emory that’s attracting rave reviews from national publications. Save the sinful poutine with chopped pastrami for a cheat day and dive into the vegetarian reuben, a sandwich made with coriander rubbed smoked beets, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and gruyere. Hungry eaters in search of the all-important Omega 3 properties of salmon can’t go wrong with a salmon platter at breakfast, choose from salt cured nova or lox. Dinner options change often and if a seafood special is on the menu, be prepared for a treat. A brewpub isn’t typically on the list of go-to restaurants for healthy eats, but Wrecking Bar in Little 5 Points is anything but typical. Chef Terry Koval, known for restaurant gigs around town, most recently made a name for himself with meat-centric fare at Farm Burger in Decatur. Koval has embraced vegan and vegetarian fare that pair well with the brewery’s beers. A variety of flavorful dishes featuring tofu, seitan and produce direct from area farms are spotlighted every Tuesday at the brewpub’s vegetarian nights. When it comes to eating late at night, healthy options dwindle considerably. Atlantans have come to appreciate the healthy cuisine available at R. Thomas Deluxe Grill in Buckhead for decades and count on them for having the same hours as the ubiquitous Waffle Houses, open 24 hours a day. Breakfast is served at any time of the day and night with organic eggs. My personal favorite is Thai Express bowl made from quinoa and a variety of vegetables with their signature spicy peanut sauce and chicken. A vegetarian option is available as well. Southwestern dishes, salads, pasta and dessert round out an wide-ranging menu.Read More
While Dallas’ pizza scene may not be mentioned in the same breath as New York slices or Chicago deep dish anytime soon, the area has nonetheless made great strides over the past decade to churn out fantastic pies. Whether you’re into authentic Neapolitan style or you like your pies topped with newfangled ingredients like chicken and ranch dressing, there’s a Dallas pizzeria out there for you. For slices with a wafer-thin, crackery crust and a robust, spicy tomato sauce, beloved dive bar Louie’s on Henderson Avenue in East Dallas is the place to go. The nondescript white building may look unassuming, but the pies have a loyal cult following that keeps the parking lot packed on a nightly basis, thanks in part to a coveted appearance on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Pitchers of beer and slightly surly service are a charming part of the Louie’s experience, as is the zippy Italian sausage that seems to top nearly every pizza that emerges from the pint-sized kitchen. If authentic pies from the motherland are what you seek, look no further than Olivella’s, a tiny but charming hole-in-the-wall located near Southern Methodist University. Owner Charlie Green brought in a Naples native to train the staff when he opened his pizzeria back in 2007, and it shows. The pies are about as real-deal Neapolitan as you can get, cooked quickly in a rocket-hot, wood-burning oven that gives the crust an irresistible char. There’s also a thin, crisp-crusted Roman-style pizza that’s served up in long rectangles. Customers can keep things traditional with the Margherita pizza, or order the fan favorite The Dream, made with housemade mozzarella, tangy gorgonzola, pancetta, chicken and jalapeños. Plenty of pizzerias in the city claim to be New York-style, but Zoli’s New York Pizza Tavern owner Jay Jerrier went the extra mile and brought in a consultant from a popular Brooklyn slice joint to help perfect the pies at his casual, counter-service Oak Cliff spot. Three different pizza categories are offered by the slice: the typical chewy-crusted New York-style, the thicker-crusted, slightly fluffy Grandma with sweet pomodoro sauce, and the extra-thick Sicilian with a robust, anchovy-laced finish. No need to feel bashful about asking for a side of ranch dressing here – Zoli’s makes its own jalapeño ranch in-house.Read More