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Apr 16, 2014 01:21 PM

Need a bit of guidance for trip to atlanta

Hi there,

I am helping out in planning for a friend's bachelor party. We are a fairly large group (12) from Toronto, all young professionals staying from Friday night to Monday. I'm not going to bother trying to get reservations or worry about lunches/brunches because who knows when we will be up and ready to go so Im mostly focused on dinners.

Here is what I am thinking:

DINNER - Either try our luck at Fox Bros or make a reso for dinner at Wrecking Bar
DRINKS - Porter Beer Bar then head on to Old Fourth Ward for Joystick Game Bar and other bars

Our place is relatively close to east atlanta so making a reso at the Shed At Glenwood or maybe going to Holy Taco then doing Octopus Bar etc. could be an option, but I think the L5P route might be more fun.

This is where I am a bit stumped. I think the move Saturday is Decatur but the big dining option for Decatur seems to be Cakes & Ales and Im not sure it can accomodate 12 people or if its the right food and vibe for 12 guys.

Of course the other big draw of Decatur are the cocktails at Paper Plane and Kimball House, so should we just have dinner at one of those places or is there somewhere else even better?

Dinner booked at Empire State South
Post Dinner Drinks- ??

Being from Toronto this recent thread was super helpful. We would be mostly looking for southern food, BBQ,fried chicken, burgers and Mexican. Was looking at maybe going to General Muir for their Fried Chicken on Friday but it seems really out of the way to anything else and with 12 of us using Uber or taxis want to avoid jumping around all over the city.

Any guidance you guys can give would be great, thanks so much. Am especially looking forward to any foodiebuddha recommendations, his advice in the other thread seemed right on the mark for my own tastes.

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  1. thanks for the kind words yo!

    where are y'all staying? sadly, BoccaLupo *probably* won't be able to accommodate you.

    As for Decatur - check out Brickstore as a dinner option. The food isn't outstanding or anything but the beer list is and i think it will have a nice vibe for you guys.

    Also - what's your budget for this rendezvous, I might suggest a few other places?

    6 Replies
    1. re: foodiebuddha

      We are staying near Daddy Dz BBQ on Memorial Drive SE. Regarding BoccaLupo, much like the other gentleman from Toronto, going to an Italian place in Atlanta no matter how delicious, would be a tough call as Toronto is pretty well represented in that cuisine.

      So we are mostly focused on Southern/New Southern, BBQ and Mexican or any other unique to Atlanta experiences.

      Budget wise we are considering Empire State South to be the "fancy" dinner for the weekend, so other meals should be a lower in price then ESS will be.

      Hope that helps!

      1. re: themiguel

        For ESS, ask for the table outside. Would be perfect for you. They have a bocce court right there.

        As for Decatur, No. 246 or Leon's would fit your vibe much more than Cakes and Ale (although Cakes and Ale isn't bad).

        1. re: themiguel

          You should definitely hit up Heirloom BBQ. It's gone to take-out only and I realize you are a big group - but they have a standing table on their patio so you can just eat there.

          I just went today for lunch - here's their Spicy Korean Pork sam:

          Here are their tacos:

          What's so cool about Hierloom is that it's korean flavored bbq (in addition to traditional options). It's run by a couple - he's Caucasian and she's Korean. So it's literally Korean BBQ. I don't know of another place like it. It's easily my favorite bbq in the city.

          Fox Bros is the other spot i would consider for you - it can handle your group, and while it's got plenty of problems ... given what you guys are looking for this would be a good bet. It's very convenient. The owners are super cool dudes and their frito pie is a must.

          Mexican / Tex-Mex has some decent options - nothing world class but more than a handful of places that i enjoy. Based on the fact that you guys are a large group, I'd recommend that you check out El Rey Del Taco on Buford Highway ... it's a little bit of a drive from y'all and i do prefer a few other spots in that "traditional taqueria" category - but it will be your best bet due to the nature of your group.

          Much closer in town there are places like Bone Garden & Nuevo Laredo. The former drifting a bit more towards traditional Mexican fare and the latter being straight up Tex-Mex. Both are very close to one and other ... so do a little searching on the net and see which one fits you better. Quality wise - i think the food is better at Nuevo simply because it's consistent and while there are no stellar options - i don't think there are any dogs on the menu.

          Two other options to consider: Taqueria Del Sol is a "tex-mex..ish" spot with a few locations around the city. May not be the easiest for a large group but the food is always fresh and as consistent as any place.

          Mibarrio would be another option - it's small and family run, solid albeit not spectacular (noticing a them to my notes?) but if mexican is a must and convenience is a factor - this is the best place near where you're at.

          New Southern is a sadly, the mantle which our city so badly wants to rest on and yet comes up so very short. It's a crutch we stand on - Empire State South and Miller Union are your two best bets. Both are in hoods where you can find a few other things to do afterwards so i'd check out their menus. ESS is a little more lively whereas MU is a little more refined. If you do ESS make sure to get their jars, it's the best thing on the menu.

          At the price point they are at - our "new southern" restaurants are all highly disappointing to me but i'd be totally comfortable with either ESS or MU given that you probably don't have much to compare where you hail from.

          Definitely do decatur - you've seen my notes and happy to provide more if you want any.

          Stay very far away from anything run by Ford Fry (JCT, Optimist, 246, St. Cecilia, King & Duke) ... though if you hit up MU Optimist is a nice looking space with a lot of energy so get a drink or something. Bocado is right in that hood - and that's where i'd go to get a burger. Vortex is also fun albeit very different experience and not anything you can't find elsewhere.

          Definitely do oysters ... look for Sublime Doughnuts if you're into something funky there - cafe agora in Buckhead would be a great budget friendly option .... spend some time on buford highway if youre travel companions are up for it. The varsity because you just kinda have to :-


          Definitely hit the Clermont lounge one night and let me know if you have any questions. I'm much easier to find via social media and email but i check in on here once a day.

          1. re: foodiebuddha

            Wow quite an indictment on Ford Fry's lineup....too expensive/flashy for what you get?
            I had a stellar meal at the Chef's Counter at 246.

            1. re: rcburli

              I agree that such an indictment is a bit overboard. My view is that there are some outstanding menu items on the Ford Fry menus (eg, Lamb Belly or Octopus starters at King & Duke; Chicken mains at JCT) and that others are just solid. I also admit that I haven't been to them all.

              On the whole, I find them to be "safe bets" (and I don't mean that to be damning...), with good atmospheres/vibes, solid cocktails, etc. Particularly for a crowd. Just my two cents!

              1. re: rcburli

                The chef's counter isn't an option for a group that size and be that as it may - Fry's restaurants on the whole are overpriced traps. There are holes in every aspect of his operations that exist at every location. For anyone coming to visit our city, there are much better options.

                True that most of his restaurant's have a good dish here or there; but a patron having to spend several hundred dollars at each restaurant in order to find those is not my idea of a good time.

                This is a forum, so I'm not going to explore every nuance of each restaurant but for the most part, you can find my opinion on his operations if you just look around the net.

        2. No. 246 in Decatur is a great option, IMO. So is Leon's full service like others have said. General Muir is actually not far from downtown Decatur either (it is in Emory area).

          Another option for L5P is El Muir - great hole in the wall Mexican.

          I like the Porter - good choice there. ESS is a favorite as well.

          1. You should check out 6 Feet Under on Memorial for drinks

            1. The Porter, Octopus Bar, Kimball House, Paper Plane and Joystick are all DEF must if you can! With those you get the best of both: Great drinks and Great food, but with a chill environment.

              Bone -Garden Cantina, outside of the mom and pop places on Buford Highway (thats the closet to authentic Atlanta has to offer) is great for Mexican, and downing some margaritas.

              I'm assuming L5P stands for Little Five Points? If thats the case you should stop into The Porter during the day. I'm not a beer drinker, but they do have a pretty extensive beer list, plus non-pub fare food which is a plus.

              As for fried Chicken, my spot is Busy Bee's on MLK. Small place slight wait (Especially Sundays), but VERY worth it. Glady Knights is another option for fried chicken. Its good, but there is always a long wait there which to me has never been worth the 30-45min of standing wait time.

              Also, don't sleep on The Iberian Pig in Decatur. Good drinks and Chacuterie.

              Last thing, if ya'll are looking for a little party time, before or after Octopus bar, a block over, go to Graveyard Tavern. Depending on the night, it'll be an experience.