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Cheap Eats in Atlanta

We'll be spending a few days in Atlanta this August with our 11-year old daughter, and we're looking for some good, inexpensive places to dine. What are your recs for great breakfast, Southern comfort food (fried chicken, mac and cheese, etc.), Mexican, burgers and sammies, and pizza/pasta? Our daughter is looking forward to going to the American Girl Bistro for a meal-have any of you been? We don't really care if the food is just okay, it's just something fun for her to do. Thanks for your input.

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  1. Eats - pasta bowl and meat & 3 kinda place www.eatsonponce.net
    Fellini's - probably my favorite pizza in ATL www.fellinisatlanta.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: bigtuck

      Both Excellent recommendations, however, dont expect to see many "american girl" shoppers represented... Expect a bunch of Tattoos and Piercings on some great people eating great food.

    2. Really depends on where you are going to be in Atl, steph.

      1. The main thing you need to bring to American Girl is lots of cash. Not for the food necessarily, but for the merchandise. My brother took his daughter there last night and just did the dessert sampling. Nobody seemed particularly thrilled with the food, but then again it was really all about the dolls. If you just do shopping at AG and want to eat elsewhere, there's every sort of food in the vicinity. I like Locos for burgers...it's one of the few places left that will give you as rare as you like. Ordinarily, you'd get a lot of burger reccos on this board for Vortex, but I think that's a little bit of a mature (scary) crowd for an 11-yr old, especially in the evening.

        You should do the Varsity, preferably the downtown location. Cheap, indeed, and probably interesting for your daughter. Get a hat, watch some TV, be harangued by the counter help. This board seems to agree that at the Big V you want to avoid the burgers; stick with the dogs, fries/rings, FO (frosted orange - a drink) and the fried pie.

        For the rest, it would really help to know where you'll be staying as great places are scattered all around.

        2 Replies
        1. re: martyparty

          We'll be staying in the Buckhead area. And believe me, I don't plan on spending any money on AG merchandise, as my daughter doesn't really even play with hers anymore.

          1. re: martyparty

            The Vortex avoided the smoking ban by going 18+ only. The 11-year-old will get turned away at the door.

          2. For breakfast, Silver Skillet on 14th (other side of the interstate...14th St bridge is out, take 17th and loop around). The White House in Buckhead on Peachtree is about as old school Atlanta as they come. Also try Thumbs Up on Edgewood. La Fonda is relatively good Mexican, great for families, many locations. Felinni's for pizza is a good bet too. Try George's in Virginia Highland for good burgers....very family friendly. "Splurge" at Mary Mac's for fried chicken and mac-n-jac, it's old school Southern and family friendly. And Osteria 832 on N. Highland has excellent pizza and mains.

            1. let's see - somewhat inexpensive tasy food near Buckhead:

              Roaster's (comfort foodish) on Lenox and Taqueria del Sol (pretty good taqueria) on Cheshire Bridge. Taverna Plaka is a fun Greek place across from Taqueria del Sol, but it gets really loud later. Fat Matt's Rib Shack is OK BBQ/blues joint (I personally think its a little overrated). One Star Ranch has Texas BBQ. Only the beef rib is really worth getting excited over, and it's not cheap. Black Bear Tavern has good burgers. I concur with Fellini's for pizza/calzones.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nazan Yar

                I looked on restaurant.com because they have those cheap gift certificates, and some of the menus looked okay. Could any of you look at the website (I only looked at the Buckhead area) and let me know if any of them are worth buying a gift certificate? We're just middle-class, okay, working-class, folks, who enjoy really good food but don't want to spend a ton of money.

                1. re: stephw1

                  I probably would not go that route. There are plenty of good and interesting places to eat around there without breaking the bank. I recently fed a family of 5 at Taquria del Sol for $20 (without alcohol). If you are OK with it, I would suggest these types of restaurants if you want to save money. Roaster's is a little more expensive - you could feed a family of 3 for $45 for dinner including tax and tip. The Varsity, Jr. is over there as well. Rusan's is pretty good, fun, and inexpensive sushi.

              2. Nazan Yar is right - the Atlanta suburbs are sprawling and where you stay will greatly affect where you go. However, some "central" places:
                Pasta - Osteria di Figo -www.figopasta.com (select the pasta, select the sauce. Not 5-star, but tasty and cheap!
                )Cheap, good eats all over ATL, including pizza, pasta, and southern cooking -

                Have fun while you are here :)

                1. A visit to the AG Bistro isn't as bad as it sounds and won't break the bank. For lunch, it's like $13.50 per person and it is a 3-course meal. Think you can check out the menu online, but the portions are pretty sizable and you will definitely walk away full or with leftovers. If she has a doll, you can get its hair done for about $10 - $15, which gives her a little bit of the experience, without breaking the bank. For pizza, our family is a bigger lover of Mellow Mushroom Pizza than Fellini's. A little more relaxing place to enjoy and there's one in Brookhaven, just up the street from Buckhead. Where are you coming from? Atlanta's mexican food scene is pretty pathetic if you are coming from the southwest. Roaster's is a good kid-friendly place with chicken, "veggie plates" - your choice of veggies and mac and cheese (never knew mac and cheese counted as a veggie until I moved to the South). Great people watching these days too. We also enjoy Shane's Rib Shack on Roswell Road - large portions and the BBQ is actually pretty good (but not in a NC authentic style).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: atlantachowhound

                    We live in Asheville, where there are a Mellow Mushroom (not a big fan) and a Shane's, which is okay for what it is. Having grown up in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, it is definitely not true NC-style BBQ, but it's not bad. We'll be staying on the Marietta side of Atlanta, if that helps. Thanks.

                    1. re: stephw1

                      If you're on that side of town, head down I-75 to the West Paces Ferry Exit and grab a bite (breakfast or lunch) at OK-Cafe. It's a great Southern-style joint where the waitresses wear white uniforms with little blue aprons. Great comfort food and kid-friendly. There's also a very large Mexican restaurant off of 75 called Pappasito's (think they are out of TX?). Have eaten there once a long time ago (we don't get out that way often), but have heard from others on this board that it's good. Have a great trip!