What To Do On A Luxurious Weekend In Atlanta, GA

First image...
Kevin Ouzts, who butchers and cures his own meats, at Cockentrice...

ATL's Return To Its Roots

Atlanta was long about big-city dining, but now the focus has shifted.

... toasting up an old-fashioned at Revival ...
... and chickpea and potato cake at Spice to Table.

By Susan Puckett
Photography by Andrew Thomas Lee

Originally appeared in November 2015 issue of Virtuoso Life

For years, Atlanta restaurants flourished by embracing big-city dining trends, but lately, community-minded chefs are looking to their own surroundings and personal histories for inspiration. In repurposed warehouses and renovated homes, they’re infusing cherished Southern recipes with global flavors and boundless enthusiasm. Stay for seconds – this scene has confidently reclaimed its soul.  


Former Top Chef star Kevin Gillespie’s latest restaurant occupies an early-1900s house near the historic town square of Decatur, a bustling in-town suburb. The √† la carte menu stays true to his Georgia roots: Fluffy, piping-hot corn bread arrives in napkin-lined baskets. Fried chicken, meat loaf, catfish, and grilled quail pay homage to his grandma’s cooking, as do the field-fresh vegetables, passed around family-style in mismatched bowls. Even the bar offers comforting surprises, such as a potent Chatham Artillery Punch and mint juleps infused with house-made peach brandy. 129 Church Street, Decatur; 470/225-6770; revivaldecatur.com.

Little Bacch 

Bacchanalia, Atlanta’s most critically acclaimed restaurant for two decades, has a new sibling. Tucked underneath it, this cozy Westside spot reimagines Continental classics such as oysters Rockefeller, cheese souffl√©, and, most dramatically, a roasted heritage chicken rubbed with foie gras. Salad greens come from the chef-owners’ family farm, and bartenders mix and pour Corpse Reviver No. 2s and Prohibition era-style cocktails tableside. 1198 Howell Mill Road; 404/365-0410; starprovisions.com.

Krog Street Market 

This 1920s Inman Park warehouse has morphed into an adventurous food hall with full-service restaurants and walk-up counters. At Superica, Ford Fry pays homage to his Tex-Mex roots with tamales, ceviche, whole roasted Gulf snapper, and plentiful rum, mezcal, and tequila cocktails. Kevin Ouzts butchers and cures his own meats for charcuterie at his restaurant, The Cockentrice, and adjoining butcher shop, The Spotted Trotter. Craft Izakaya serves sushi and charcoal-grilled yakitori and seafood, plus a great sake selection, while the open market’s stalls turn out everything from Israeli falafel to Chinese dumplings, bean-to-bar chocolate, and local beer. 99 Krog Street; krogstreetmarket.com.

Spice to Table 

Asha Gomez’s new patisserie blends the flavors of her homeland – the state of Kerala, on India’s southern coast – with those of the American South. Line up at the counter inside the loftlike space for samosas, kati rolls, seasonal roasted vegetables, creative salads, and a few hot specials. Her famous carrot cake owes its distinction to her mother’s jolting spice blend, and she still serves the fried chicken that became a signature at her now-defunct Cardamom Hill restaurant: marinated in herbed buttermilk, deep-fried to a crackly crunch, and festooned with flash-fried curry leaves and drizzles of coconut oil and mango puree. 659 Auburn Avenue NE, Suite 506; 404/220-8945; spicetotable.com.

Where To Stay In Atlanta

There are four Virtuoso properties in Atlanta.

How To Eat Like A Local In Atlanta: 'Cue And Stew

Forget about pigeonholing Atlanta’s barbecue into a particular sauce or smoking technique. The one constant on the city’s menus: Brunswick stew. Though its origins are hotly debated, there’s no denying its lengthy association with political pig pickin’s and social gatherings throughout the state’s history. Ingredients vary – nonnegotiables include smoked pork, tomatoes, and corn – but lima beans, okra, and potatoes may turn up. At Community Q near Decatur, classically trained chef Dave Roberts cooks up a meaty, smoky stew that hews closely to purist versions he helped stir at many a church fund-raiser growing up. 1361 Clairmont Road, Decatur; 404/633-2080; communityqbbq.com.

A Virtuoso Advisor Tip On Atlanta

“Decatur is packed with restaurants and bars that are perfect for a night out. Before dinner, check out Kimball House, an excellent craft-cocktail and raw bar. Afterward, head to one of Atlanta’s longtime favorite music venues, Eddie’s Attic, to catch up-and-coming artists.”  – Christie Carden York, Virtuoso travel advisor, Atlanta

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