The Loop – all things travel, food, entertainment by Lisa Irwin, long-time San Franciscan and native Irishwoman.
Rias Bluebird – breakfast – southern specialities – brisket breakfast/ pancakes etc.
(The coffee shop I mention below – Octane – is around the corner – good idea for a first-fuel stop if there’s a wait @ Rias)
BarTaco – Inman Park – perfect for lunch. Great tacos & drinks. Nice area to walk around.
Seriously good pizza – perfect place to take the kids – it’s a huge mess hall type place – super casual – but the pizza – incredible –
I mean Naples good!
Gus’s Fried Chicken – lunch or dinner – this is an outpost of the Memphis restaurant – it’s not in a pretty part of town – but the fried chicken is the absolute best. And all the southern fixings – greens/cornbread etc. are just as good. Do not miss if you love fried chicken!
Staplehouse – dinner (Bon Appetit’s best rest. of 2016 – if interested try to get reservations before your trip). It’s a wonderful restaurant – not fancy white tablecloth – but relaxed – the food is exceptional – and there’s a whole social “giving kitchen” attached to its foundation – a wonderful place to eat & support.
Gunshow – dinner – Southern dim sum – sounds weird – but it’s totally delicious, inventive & fun. It’s loud, boisterous & fast paced – but the food is terrific. The have great cocktails – made tableside – from a rolling cart – fun!
Probably fine with the kids – if you go early –
Holman & Finch – dinner (they have an infamous hamburger)
Revival Decatur – Dinner – Southern Soul Food Elevated – They do a great Sunday Supper – “grandmas specials” – fried chicken etc.
Miller Union – dinner – farm to table – using southern ingredients.
-Ponce City Market –
like our SF Ferry building – but bigger – tons of fantastic food options – also shopping – so a fun place to spend a day, an afternoon or evening.
Backs up against the belt-line – which is my favorite place! A repurposed railway line that’s been turned into a lovely walking/running/biking trail – see below for the audio tour info. – even if you can’t get the audio tour to work it’s a fun place to take the kids to walk & explore. There’s bike rentals – easy & flat &
there’s also a park on top of the market -it has water slides & fun activities for the kiddos. Endless entertainment here!
A smaller version is Krogg Street Market. Great food vendors. Fantastic cheese-steak at one of the vendors – “Freds”.
-Octane Coffee –
Grant Park Location
this one has great coffee & is attached to a fantastic bakery – “little tart”
-Brash Coffee – this place is adorable – in a shipping container – similar to the Ritual in Hayes Valley – except in ATL the staff & service is 100million times better. (And they have a chocolate chip cookie that’s divine!)
-Revelator Coffee –
This speciality coffee is all over the south – kind of like a cooler southern BlueBottle – there’s one in Nashville, Birmingham, NOLA – I think there’s one in Charleston – and there’s 2 in ATL. Highly recommend – all the cafes are super design-y & cool. Great coffee.
King of Pops
– it’s going to be hot as balls – and these things are life savers – fun flavors, locally made & owned – the original is slightly off the beltline, there’s also a stand in Ponce City Market ( & they happen to make “grown up slushies – if the need arises!)
-MLK Center – highly recommend that.
-The CDC – very interesting – some really scary exhibits on germs & pests gone wild!
-The Carter Presidential Library
-High Art Museum – lovely modern art museum.
– Beltline Audio app – a terrific detour type app – highly recommend –
-Paris on Ponce – a massive wear house off the beltline has furniture & various other store – don’t miss the Moulin Rouge room – very cool.
Callie’s Hot little biscuit –
go for breakfast – or a tea time snack – biscuits galore –
they are delicious, have them plain with butter & jam, with an egg, with fried chicken or ham – with pimento cheese – have them any way you please – but have them often & have one for me!
Hominy Grill – breakfast or lunch – all the Southern specialties.
Minero – lunch or dinner –
Tacos – with a southern flare – the tortillas are home made & delicious. (There’s also one in ATL – but this one is better)
Lewis BBQ – lunch or dinner –
This guy came from Austin (La BBQ) – he absolutely knows how to fire up the barbie! If you like brisket – this place has one of the best – tons of other meaty options ribs/sausage etc. & all the usual sides.
Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters – dinner –
Oysters – go get ’em!
It’s a quirky place – probably better seafood places in town – but the atmosphere is fun.
Fig – dinner –
Try get a reservation before you go. This one is definitely not a kid-friendly spot, but probably one of the best restaurants in the South. Everything is on point – food/drinks/service – you will have a fantastic dinner. Do not miss.
Coffee: Kudo Coffee – little cafe – they have a nice outside patio where you can enjoy your cafe.
If you can – get a copy of Sue Monk Kidd’s ” The Invention of Wings” read it en route – or while you’re there – and then visit –
The Aiken Rhett House
The book & a visit to the house will give you an incredible sense of place & time. It’s a wonderful insight into the history of the city & the in general the Southern relationship with slavery & its repercussions.
Secondary mention – Pat Conroy “South of Broad” he writes & describes the South & its multitude of characters like no other. This one has a host of those colorful Charleston personalities.
If you’re interested this is a highly recommended adventure – Alphonso is a delightful man – and you’ll leave him having made a new friend (& learned much)
Gullah Tour with Alphonso Brown
Atlanta is young & hip – the people are genuinely kind & helpful. Lots of Southern politeness. There’s so much to do – despite the sprawling freeways there’s lots of green spaces – my favorite quote about Atlanta from the beloved Pat Conroy –
“Atlanta is a place where they built a city and left the forest intact.”
So try and explore them – Grant Park, Inman etc. the Beltline was a huge highlight for me & really gives a sense of the forest within the city.
Charleston is architecturally pretty & atmospheric – walking around is very pleasing to the eye. The historic foundation takes restoration seriously here!