Since opening several months ago, the Krog Street Market has caught the imagination of many writers in our hobby. While not at all identical, it’s a similar set-up to the long-established Sweet Auburn Curb Market, offering stall spaces, and, in a couple of cases, full table service opportunities to local chefs with neat ideas. One of Ford Fry’s concepts, Superica, has a packed patio, The Cockentrice has been getting rave reviews, Gu’s Dumplings is providing temporary relief for people who are still bereft that the Bistro on Buford Highway closed and hasn’t yet formally announced its relocation, and Craft Izakaya is also drawing in crowds and mobs.
In April, I was blessed with some good fortune and was asked to work a table at the Inman Park Festival one Saturday afternoon. While the thought of all these restaurants has been making me giddy and I’ve considered eating my way from one end of the reclaimed industrial space to the other, my schedule had a much more sensible outcome. I parked opposite the market, had lunch, worked the crowd for six hours, and stopped back by for supper.
While I’m pretty confident that any of the picks here would have been great, both my meals came from Todd Ginsberg’s places. Along with his business partners Shelley Sweet and Jennifer and Ben Johnson, who are all known to Atlanta’s food lovers for their work at The General Muir, West Egg, and Bocado, the stands are located next to each other. I had fabulously good meals at each place, and honestly couldn’t tell you which of the two I enjoyed more.
I didn’t leave with a usable photo of my sandwich at Yalla!. The light was low, I’m still learning the quirks of this newer camera’s focus, and I’m mostly incompetent when it comes to pictures anyway. I wanted you all to see the beautiful tarragon and lime soda and the chicken shawarma pita. I had exactly one sip of the soda, loved it completely, and saved the rest for the table after I hoofed it to my place at the festival to drink in the warm sun over a few hours, where I then lamented not having a gallon jug of it.
Anyway, as for the chicken: Yalla! serves up middle Eastern food, and Ginsberg spent some time in Israel last year, learning more about the region’s cuisine before he was comfortable serving it up. There are dozens of choices, and so many beautifully tasty sauces, and a simple pita and a drink didn’t come close to scratching the surface of what you can do here. You can also get the little pita super-sized into a much larger wrap. You certainly cannot eat your way from one end of the market to the other if you get one of those monsters. I wish that I’d come with a group and shared lots of food with lots of friends, but I’ll tell you, for a quick lunch on the way to work, this super-flavorful pita was outstanding.
And then came dinner…
I sat down at the counter of Fred’s Meat and Bread with a book and a bottle of Frostie cherry limeade. While the stand next door hand-mixes some what you might call grown-up sodas, at Fred’s, you’ve got your choice of about a dozen small-market bottled options. I had such fun talking with Chef Todd for a few minutes that I completely forgot to buy the bottle of NuGrape that I intended to bring back to Marie. She loves NuGrape.
Everything on the menu at Fred’s has a champion. Look around and you’ll see people raving about the ribeye cheesesteak, or the “almost vegetarian” cauliflower and eggplant banh mi, or the Korean fried chicken sandwich, but I went with the burger stack, which is very, very much like the darn-near perfect burger that Chef Todd perfected at Bocado. It is, of course, completely fantastic and juicy and excellent in every way, and is among my favorites in the city.
I made a small mistake in the side cup. Regular hand-cut fries are available for $3.50, or you can get them with a whole freaking mess of add-on seasoning and a sauce for an extra dollar. The cumin fries with Harissa mayo were pretty good, but a little bit of cumin goes a long way, and I will happily try a different seasoning mix next time.
Heck, I couldn’t wait for the next time. I didn’t quite know how I would force myself to try a different restaurant at Krog Street. I didn’t.
Last week, Marie and I had lunch here, and I went back to Yalla!, ready to enjoy another of these terrific pitas, and, this time, get a non-blurry photo of it.
Marie had the burger from Fred’s Meat and Bread, She had them switch out the American cheese for Provolone, and she took off the pickles for some fool reason, but it still knocked her out. “Oh, my,” she said. “This might be the best burger in Atlanta.” Might? There’d be no doubt if she’d kept the correct cheese and the pickle.
On this trip, Yalla! had a strawberry lemon soda available. It was good, but I preferred the tarragon and lime. Marie got a bottle of Capt’n Eli’s Blueberry Pop and lamented that we can’t get this at the grocery store. I didn’t notice this flavor at Fred’s when I had supper there in April, but I did notice that you can get a bottle of Pure Sodaworks’ Apple Pie from them now. That’s good news. As if you needed another reason to go to Fred’s. I love Frostie’s Cherry Limeade, but I can get it at Big Lots. Pure is a rare, special, and excellent treat.
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