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Cheap Eats near ATL Airport?

NYC hound will be staying at the Airport Hilton in Atlanta for almost a month (1031 Virginia Ave).

Looking for some good local cheap eats. Nothing too fancy. Mostly lunches and early dinners. BBQ and the like.



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  1. Assuming you have a car...a few of these places are within walking distance.

    The Brake Pad
    Manchester Arms
    Landmark Diner
    Grecian Gyro
    Irish Bred Pub
    Johnny's Pizza
    Chick fil-a
    Barbecue Kitchen
    Spondivits (let' hope they've improved the conditions since the recent oyster death)

    4 Replies
    1. re: rcburli

      Great! Thanks very much.

      I won't have my own car, but I'm sure I'll be able to catch a ride with someone else...especially if I've got all of the good restaurant gouge :)


      1. re: TipsyMcStagger

        Hi...kind of quickly looked at the list before I responsed. Noticed Chick fil-a & Schlotzky's.

        Not really looking for chain restaurants. I realize I wasn't clear about that.

        We're more interested in trying the local flavor. Places we can't find elsewhere.

        Thanks again.


        1. re: TipsyMcStagger

          You never know. When my brother comes from New England, Chick fil-a is "trying the local flavor."

        2. re: TipsyMcStagger

          You should check out Grecian Gyro. They've been around for a long time, and have been consistent every time I've traveled to Atlanta. You're talking $5 to get stuffed on a Gryo that's packed full of anything you choose.

          My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

      2. I second BBQ Kitchen.

        Don't know if the Casa Pollo is still around, but it was very good a few years ago.

        1 Reply
        1. If you're here for almost a whole month, plan on hopping on MARTA on getting into town to do some exploring. What types of food do you like most (or want to try while you're here)?

          6 Replies
          1. re: atlantachowhound

            I don't know how much time I'll have to go into town...I'll be pretty busy (and will try to get home on the few days I'll have off).

            Honesty, there very few foods I don't like. But I'm not interested in anything close to fine dining. BBQ is something that's always marginal in NYC, so I try to sample of much of that as I can when I'm down South.

            I never seek out pizza or bagels when I'm away from home because I'm always disappointed.

            I'm a big fan of exploring Chinatown here in NYC. How can you beat five dumplings for a buck! I like Japanese Ramen and Vietnamese Canh Chua and Pho.

            And of course, I'm always up for a good local burger. Or any kind of pub fare. I just don't like chain food at all. It's so funny to see the thousands of tourists here in NYC who are staring at Olive Garden and TGI Fridays in Times Square when there are hundreds of greats options just a few feet away.


            1. re: TipsyMcStagger

              This is Atlanta. Get in the car. Drive. If you want to eat like a local then do what we do---Drive.

              Drive early on to Tasty China in Marietta for Sichuan that rivals Spicy & Tasty and Grand Sichuan International. See many prior TC posts--both here and at atlantacuisine.com. I say go early on because you will want to go back.

              Also go to Frank Ma's Dinho in Chinatown Square in Chamblee for Soup Dumplings, Chive Dumpling, Shanghai and Taiwan specialties.

              The good news is that what you want is here.

              The bad news is that you have to drive because most of what you seek centers around Buford Hwy north of downtown. If you wait until after rush hour, say 7:15 PM or so, traffic moves pretty quick.

                1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                  catch the Marta train north to the Midtown station. Try Vortex (around the corner on Peachtree & 7th) for an awesome burger. Ecco on 7th for great house-cured meats and cheeses, loud hip bar scene. Change trains at 5 Points, East line to Decatur. If you like beer, the Brick Store Pub is for you.

                  1. re: aka frank

                    Ecco not so much for the cheap, though. It's very good, nonetheless.

              1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                I second the Harold's idea. Also consider Daddy Dz bbq on Memorial Drive, or Rolling Bones bbq on Edgewood Avenue. (both a little bit farther north, other side of I-20).

                For a good local burger and good beer selection, try the vortex bar and grill. They have a location in "Midtown" and one in "Little Five Points" which is a bit east of there. (Neither one's too far from Marta.)

                At the risk of inciting a discussion of what "southern cooking" is, mary mac's tea room on Ponce de Leon is considered an Atlanta instiution, although a lot of folks say other places are better. (at higher levels of price and pretentiousness, too, I might add.)

                And probably "the" Atlanta institution for cheap eats that I can't believe no one has mentioned, love it or hate it, is the Varsity (10th street near Ga. Tech).

            2. don't miss harold's barbecue ...15 minutes from the airport, near the u.s. penententiary

              1. Plenty of good suggestions above, so I'll confine my thoughts to just those places that you can walk to or take a short cab ride.

                Irish Bred Pub - less than 1/4 mile from your hotel. Rather smokey, decent pub food. In the same development as Landmark Diner which is a (fair) local chain.

                The Academy - A half mile or so from your hotel. I read mixed reviews about this restauirant but I've had nothing but good meals myself. Serving sort of updated southern food in a nice setting.

                Thai Heaven - about a half mile from your hotel (N. Central Ave in "downtown" Hapeville, you'll need to ask directions). Surprisingly good Thai food coupled with agonizingly slow service.

                Cafe on the Corner - S. Central Ave in downtown Hapeville. Lunch only. A bit pricey, but good sandwiches, salads, and a few hot entrees.

                Taqueria Dos Hermanos - 890 E Cleveland Ave, East Point. Need to take a taxi or bum a ride - not a neighborhood to be walking around in. Mighty fine tacos - especially the chorzo. Even better if you're stopping on your way back to the hotel after a night of drinking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SalMonela

                  First night here....ummm, Irish Bred PUB???

                  Not quite sure if the owners interpret the word "pub" to mean "club" but that place is hardly what I would expect (or have ever expereinced) in an Irish Pub....in NYC or Dublin.

                  A pub with a thirty foot open girder ceiling and a dance floor and DJ. Interesting.


                2. If you're stuck at the airport, try Paschal's in the Atrium. Best food at Hartsfield-Jackson!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aka frank

                    Just found out I'll b getting a car after all, so please keep the rec's coming for good, local, non-chain eats!

                    I'm looking forward to trying the Xiao Long Bao at Da San Yuan.


                  2. I've never been to, but heard that Oaxachuan Taquiera is good (6738 Tara Blvd.). Also google the blissful glutton - a good blog with lots of good ideas (and pictures)

                    1. Tipsy:

                      I second www.blissfulglutton.com and www.rowdyfood.com great atlanta food blogs.
                      They are Buford Highway foodies. Franks Ma's is great. There is also a great chinese place in Sandy Springs on Roswell Road off of 285 in the northern burbs called Canton Cooks it is like Frank Ma's authentic (order from chinese menu) If you like Pho' They are many on BH. Many great Korean places some are open 24 hours like tofu 88 and hae woo dae for korean bbq. But check out the blogs they list most of the greats. Don't forget to do the gravy and biscuits and oh yeah the grits while here. Welcome and ya'll come back now ya here.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: womenluvtofish

                        Thanks for the blog reco's. I've been looking at them and they've been helpful. We have a few days off so I'm back in NYC at the moment.

                        We've been working a lot in the evenings so we haven't had as many opportunities for dinner as we'd hoped but so far our favorite in the vicinity of the hotel (by far) has been The Manchester Arms. We've also had dinner at The Academy which was enjoyable, but we're hoping to find something a bit more authentic, at least in atmosphere, for a good southern meal. Mary Mac's Tea Room?

                        We also tried Malone's which has a decent beer selection but the food wasn't anything special. By the way, we chose Malone's after trying to park at Spondivit's and being told it's entirely valet parking. From the outside, our impression of Spondivit's was that the place wasn't anything close to special. Heck, it's thirty feet from one of the six trillion ATL Waffle House locations, so why the mandate for valet parking? We left out of principle. Okay, Spondivit rant over.

                        The best beer of our visit thus far was Brick Store Pub. We liked this place a lot. Another enjoyable pub experience was Manuel's Tavern. Both places were much superior to our Malone's evening. Oh, and as posted above, the Irish Bred Pub is a joke. There is nothing Irish or Pub about it.

                        Also had a quick lunch at Landmark Diner. Don't know what I was thinking but I ordered a turkey Cubano. Every Cubano I've ever had is a pressed sandwich. This was served on/in a pita. Should have played it diner-safe and gone with the burger. The desserts looked appetizing.

                        We also tried Gladys and Ron's. I tried to stay true to the menu and had a waffle with a couple of pieces of fried chicken and a side of mac and cheese. The chicken was the best of the three. The mac and cheese was sort of watery and the waffle was just okay.

                        We walked down the block to The Vortex for a few beers afterward, but we haven't eaten there yet.

                        I also tried The Varsity for lunch. I went there knowing it's a fast food joint and kept my expectations in line. I had a glorified burger, a slaw dog and onion rings. The onion rings were the stand out...much better than anything you'd ever find in a chain fast food joint. The burger was good as well. I'd skip the hot dog next time.

                        That's all that comes to mind so far. We'll be back in town next week for a few more days.

                        By the way, when is Atlanta going smoke free?


                          1. re: Spreadhead

                            Thanks. We'll add it to the list.

                            Forgot to mention we drove to Gray and tired Old Clinton BBQ. It was an enjoyable diversion.

                            We followed the GPS to two Harold's BBQ locations. Neither was open.


                            1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                              Taqueria la Oaxaquena is marvelous. Go 285 towards Augusta, take 75 South to Tara Blvd. Strip mall across from some kind of Fish Camp. Get their tlayudas and load up on salsas. No credit cards, no English, no brews.

                              On Jonesboro Road, you might like Dai Loi, take exit 55, Jonesboro Road, off 285, make a right, on right hand side. No brews, but there is a liquor store next door and you can bring you own (at least I did).

                              Exit 69, Federal Highway on 85, used to have a killer Thai Place in shopping center on the right, not sure if it is still any good -- ZabeLee.

                              You missed nothing by not waiting for Spondivits. Nothing.

                          2. re: TipsyMcStagger

                            The entire state of Georgia is smoke free. however there are some loop holes. If they serve anyone under 18 no smoking. If it is 18 or 21 and older only you can smoke so if you are an avid non smoker as I am beware.

                              1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                                No one under 18 allowed in the vortex!! We tried taking our kids there once when a burger craving struck, and were sorely disappointed to be turned away. Haven't been back since.

                                As for valet parking, Atlanta is certainly the king of valet parking cities. Not just fancy places, everywhere seems to have it. At least its usually 'free' (plus tip).

                        1. My husband is from the south and gives Harold's BBQ a thumbs up!

                          1. Definitely you need to take the MARTA to get around town. There is no way you're going to want to be confined to that area for an entire month! I just did a post about our trip there last week. We didn't really go to a lot of casual spots - but the locals like the Taqueria del Sol locations - one in Dacatur. Others too. Downtown there is a Gladys Knight Chicken N' Waffles spot just on the north side of downtown on Peachtree St. We didn't eat there but every time we drove by there was a CROWD out front waiting their turn in line to eat there. Looked very popular!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: shellie

                              Guess you haven't read the entire thread. We have a car and have already been to Gladys and Ron's.

                              We'll add Taqueria del Sol to the list.

                              Thanks :)