The Majestic Diner, Atlanta GA

One of Atlanta’s signature restaurants, the Majestic has been sobering up drunken twentysomethings for about eighty years now. It seems like exactly the sort of place that, if I was traveling, I would wish to visit in some other town. In point of fact, it is reminiscent of the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, New Hampshire, and I can imagine food lovers in other cities putting the Majestic on their to-do list just as Marie and I did when we drove through New England last year.

Surprisingly, though, it just never occurs to me to eat at the Majestic. I’ve driven past the place hundreds of times on my way to somewhere else. I’m pretty certain that the first time that I ever stopped in was in late 2007, when Neal and I went down to the Landmark to see The Life of Reilly, a terrific film that recorded the great Charles Nelson Reilly’s final performance in his one-man play.

The Majestic, I realized then, is an absolutely perfect place to sit with an old friend late in the evening and talk about the film you’ve just seen. Its presence in the strip mall that houses the Plaza, Atlanta’s oldest running movie house and last independent cinema standing, is just the most wonderful bit of planning anybody could ask for. Whether you’re looking for a quiet sitdown and a cup of coffee after something impenetrable and foreign, or you’re needing to come down after watching the Lips Down on Dixie crew perform Rocky Horror, the Majestic’s doors are always open. It’s real estate like this that brings a brief twinge of envy into my suburban situation. When you live this far out and have to arrange evening plans around PTA meetings and band practice, it’s not quite so easy to enjoy a movie and a late meal without some advance planning.

After far too many years of not visiting the Plaza – the kids and I did go to an exhibition of rarely-seen wartime cartoons there a few years back, but as I recall, we ate at the Zesto in Little Five Points beforehand – last weekend, I got a hankering to see the Silver Scream Spook Show’s presentation of Godzilla on Monster Island. My son and I had a terrific time, completely unprepared as we were for the low-budget lunacy of the costumes and craziness before the film. I did guess, however, that expecting Marie and our daughter to sit through a Godzilla movie – especially a 1970s Jun Fukuda Godzilla movie – was a little much. I suggested that we all have lunch at the Majestic and then they could go shopping while my son and I enjoyed the movie.

We’ll all argue until doomsday who had the better afternoon, but we all agree that lunch was pretty great. My son had woken late and so had breakfast after everybody else, and so he just enjoyed a “Ponce de le Orange” milkshake which was fantastically tasty. Marie had a great chili dog and I had a Majestic Special, two patties with cheese. Oddly, Marie and I ended up ordering an unplanned reversal of the lunch we’d had the week before at Green Acres in Carnesville.

The Silver Scream Spook Show is performing again in October. Maybe I can convince the ladies they need to see that, and maybe I’ll have one of those orange milkshakes when we go. I had a sip of my son’s, you see, and it was really good.

Other blog posts about the Majestic:

Atlanta Etc. (Aug. 27 2010)
Watch Me Eat (Feb. 18 2011)
Chopped Onion (Apr. 2012)