Thumbs Up Diner, Atlanta GA

The problem with mile-long to-do lists, like mine, is that I cannot remember how on earth some of the things that have been on there the longest got there in the first place. Take Thumbs Up Diner, for instance. I haven’t been in Decatur in months, but one time I was there, I pointed out the Thumbs Up location there – it is one of five in the Atlanta area – to Marie and told her that I had heard you can get a really good breakfast here and that we need to stop in one of these days. Not long afterward, our friend David, who’s always looking out for a good place to eat, forwarded me a link to the restaurant’s web site. “Yep,” I said. “It’s on the list!” So are, if we’re honest, something like fifty other places. I have really got to get up to Cincinnati to take care of the three or four places up there I want to try.

The problem, as ever, is finding the free time and the pennies to make it to any place at the same time that my enthusiasm and curiosity push a place up to the top of the wishlist. It helps that Thumbs Up has a location about a mile from where I work, and so, with a short day last week, I decided to drive over to the Marietta Street location for a late breakfast. It has a beautiful view of the midtown skyline, except some guy at Georgia Tech decided to stick the backside of some big athletic facility in the way.

I spent what seemed like a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted. I hear that their pancakes and waffles are really good, and thought about trying one, but I went with one of the house specialties, The Heap, instead. This is a skillet filled with cheesy potatoes, scrambled eggs, onions and peppers, and I added chicken. I’m very glad that I resisted the temptation to get a waffle with it, because the Heap alone was considerably more food than any one person needs, and I was not able to finish it. It wasn’t at all bad, but it needed some salt and pepper and Texas Pete hot sauce to bring things to life. It came with a very tasty biscuit. That, I did finish.

My little breakfast was a very pleasant getaway. I didn’t learn anything much about the diner; even if the waitresses weren’t busy refilling coffee throughout their near-full house, I really just felt like relaxing in a nice, reasonably quiet place and watching the world pass by. Sadly, there’s not a lot of pedestrian traffic on this stretch of Marietta Street, so I couldn’t do much in the way of people watching. But for sitting back with a good book and watching the world go by, this is a fine place to do it. Might have to do it again sometime soon, now that it’s no longer collecting dust on a to-do list.

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