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Dec 13, 2007 10:09 AM

Atlanta - southern food - accessible by MARTA

We have a twelve hour layover at your local airport, and were hoping to take advantage and explore a bit of the city and especially the local food. Many on previous boards suggest that for the real deal you have to head out of town a bit. But can anyone suggest some places that are reasonably easy to get to on your subway system? We have plenty of time, so it doesn't have to be close to the airport, just not too complicated a journey. We love home cooking, BBQ, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, the more down-home the better. And feel free to recommend an attraction or a favorite bar, for a pre-transatlantic tipple... Thanks.

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  1. Your best bet is probably going to be Mary Macs Tearoom An Atlanta institution for over 60 years, it has gone through it’s ups and downs, but I understand that recently it’s been pretty good. Exit at the North Avenue MARTA station, walk one block north to Ponce de Leon Ave and then four short blocks East to the corner of Ponce de Leon and Myrtle Streets. This is traditional Southern cooking with lots of fried bits and gravy so check your diet at the door.

    4 Replies
    1. re: SalMonela a long, long term resident, and given your MARTA restriction, this is your best bet. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE go to Glady's Knight's Place downtown. First, it is NOT SOUTHERN AT ALL, it is overpriced, overhyped, and a drain on the wallet. Unbattered fried chicken that's so garlicy it stinks, and grits that are at best served in the Dunkin' Dine(also a venerable eating establishment). I say this especially if you are a tourist.....go to Colonnade or Mary Mac's....stear clear of the downtown so called "Southern grits 'n chicks" places. Even Pitty Pat's Porch....if still open. Spend your bucks where you'll get CHEAP Southern cookin' at it's best! Sadly, Aunt Fanny's Cabin closed all too soon!

      1. re: Deepster

        Just wanted to add that the Colonnade would be a short "taxi" from the Lindburg Station. But, go for it.....watresses my seem rude, but they are only good hearted. Fine dining for what it's worth.

        1. re: Deepster

          All depends on timing of the layover because I don't believe The Colonnade is open for lunch anymore.

          1. re: rcburli

            Ditto previous comments.
            Can't say enough good things about the Colonnade has been an Atlanta institution for 30 years (1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE). Arrive between 4-6? and enjoy their "early bird" special of a meat, two vegs, desert (chocolate pie like mom's), corn & wheat muffins and all the sweet iced tea you can drink for $ only though (ATM on site). Expect an eclectic crowd of an interesting mix of alternative life style 40ish and 70+ youngsters.
            Take MARTA ($3.50 RT) to the Lindbergh station (30 minutes from Airport); cab to restaurant <$7 they're plentiful at Lindbergh.
            My 2-cents.

    2. If you want upscale/contemporary Southern, go to South City Cafe in Midtown

      1 Reply

        Take MARTA to the Arts Center station. Walk south (right) down W Peachtree one block to 14th street. Turn left and walk one block to Crescent Ave and turn right. It's on the right.

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          1. re: tennreb

            If you are stuck at the airport try Pascal's Not great but it is actually authentic.

        1. BBQ Kitchen in College Park
          Silver Midtown Grill in Midtown (just reopened after being open for ~60 years, then briefly closed)
          Star Provisions for the lunch counter (and general cook/foodie browsing); fancy-schmancy but very good and worth it
          Watershed in Decatur (walkable at maybe 3/4 mi from MARTA station w/ lots in between)

          The first 3 would require a cab from a station (1st from College Park station, other 2 from Midtown). There's lots to do around the Midtown station- High Museum, Piedmont Park, etc. Probably not so much in College Park.

          For drinks, there's Trois at 14th/Peachtree (near Arts Ctr station and High Museum), The Brick Store in Decatur (a beer Mecca), or Prince of Wales pub at 14th/Piedmont.

          You could also do any number of other restaurants in Virginia Highlands and wander amongst the shops/bars. It'd be a pretty good cab ride from Midtown station, then walk about (hopefully w/ decent weather).

          2 Replies
          1. re: ted

            Do the restaurants you mention above serve typically southern food?

            1. re: guide boy

              The first two are closest, I think, to what you'd expect in a diner around the south.

              Star Provisions is the store paired with Bacchanalia restaurant- basically one of the top restaurants in town. Whether what's on the menu is 'typically southern' or not, it's a big step above your typical meat + 3 veg and cornbread. The shop has kitchen tools, cheeses, and meats, plus various decorative stuff. It's very nice, but I don't spend a lot of time/cash there. Ditto for Watershed. All of the chefs involved have led the charge back to simple/Southern and local/organic food in Atlanta. But it's more of a high art format.

              None of the bar suggestions are particularly southern.

          2. I agree with the vote for Mary Macs Tearoom. Had it twice in as many days when visiting Atlanta a few months ago on business downtown without a car but with access to MARTA, and it was as pretty much as good as it gets - def. stands up favorably to anything I can get here in NC. It's much better than it was in 1990 (the last time I had been there). I particularly liked their meatloaf, collard greens (which you'll also get as an "amuse bouche" complimentary appetizer of sorts if you eat in - they call it 'potlikker'). Found the yams to be a bit too sweet, but the banana pudding was just right. Nice quiet and friendly "down-home" atmosphere too to unwind a bit from your travels.

            ALSO: if you find yourself not able to leave the airport, there's a vendor in the Concourse A food court called "Paschal's - A Southern Tradition." It's surprisingly authentic Southern food - totally belies the prevailing quality of airport food. When I was living out in CA, I'd connect through Atlanta just to get my Southern food fix there. Put it another way - if Pascal's were some random cafeteria-style restaurant in my hometown, I'd go to it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mikeh

              Pascal's was closed for remodeling as of last Sunday- it might have reopened by now, but I would be sure to have a back-up plan...

              1. re: Clarkafella

                not sure how MARTA accessible it is, but Fox Bros.BBQ opened on S. Dekalb?? a few months back and was REALLY good both times we went.Great 'Q and the Mac and Cheese is worth eating a meal of by itself.

                1. re: Spreadhead

                  Three Words, Busy Bee Cafe. They have been around for 60 years.