More Songs About Buildings and Food

Regarding Atlanta, we are done. After writing about 720 different restaurants in the metro Atlanta area, we have moved to Tennessee and, unless something really amazing demands to be eaten and documented, we think it’s time to stop talking about Atlanta and pay more attention to other places.

I like to say that I travel a lot, but other than moving away and going to college when I was seventeen, this is the first time that I’ve ever lived anywhere other than Cobb or northern Fulton. The truth, if pressed, is that it’s been a little daunting for me. It’s been exciting, sure, but also a teeny bit scary. And this is just ninety-odd minutes up the road. I’d be in a real mess if we moved to Toronto or Boise or someplace.

Marie has taken a position with a company in Chattanooga, and, after looking around madly for a place to live – the market just isn’t all that friendly to families of four with lots of bookshelves – we signed a lease on a nice little triplex not far from I-75. We ferried boxes for what seemed like forever, but we’re all settled in now.

For those of you who haven’t been with us for long, Chattanooga has been one of the cities we’ve visited most often, and we’ve written about a few dozen restaurants here already. We intend to have more material about our new home base, and we suspect that our coverage of Nashville, Knoxville, Huntsville, Johnson City, and Kentucky will improve over the coming years. I’m really looking forward to exploring the cities and towns within the triangle formed by I-24, I-75, and I-40. I hoped that this region of Tennessee has dozens of dozens of small barbecue places and old dairy bars and really old community restaurants that hobbyists have not really written about, and we’ve found a few. We hope that you’ll enjoy reading the stories we put together.

Will we miss Atlanta? Sure, a whole lot! Atlanta’s a pretty good place overall, even if we don’t miss the traffic one stinking bit. Some really wonderful friends live in Atlanta and we hope they will come visit us. (Special note to our really wonderful friends: COME VISIT US!)

And of course we’ll miss the great restaurants, so since this is allegedly a food blog, here’s my list of some Atlanta-area places where we love to eat, in no particular order, that I will most miss having nearby. When we do come back to Atlanta, and we will, it will be most likely that we stop at one of these places for a meal.

Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, Atlanta
There are some who claim you can hear angels as you taste this chicken. Could be. PRO TIP: Take a cab or slip that parking attendant a twenty or something.

The General Muir, Bocado, and Fred’s Meat and Bread, Atlanta
The next time George Motz thinks that he needs to write a book about hamburgers in Georgia, he needs to have a nice sit-down with Todd Ginsberg. PRO TIP: If they’ve got that blueberry soda in stock at Fred’s, order one.

Batavia, Doraville
Bring lots of friends and get ready for some neat spicy sensations at this awesome no-frills Indonesian restaurant and grocery. PRO TIP: Skip the buffet and order lots of different things from the menu to share.


Ann’s Snack Bar, Atlanta
Chattanooga does have Zarzour’s, which is awesome, but for sheer, over-the-top belly-busting burgers, the late Ann Price created something utterly unique. PRO TIP: Follow the rules, be on your best behavior, and bring cash.

Gypsy Kitchen, Atlanta
Yeah, I hear you haters. You’re wrong. This place is silly and fun. PRO TIP: Park somewhere else and take a cab. Just about everything about “The Shops Buckhead Atlanta” is embarrassing and awful, but the parking is especially pathetic.

Varasano’s Pizzeria, Atlanta
Atlanta’s got more good Neapolitan-style pizza places than players on the Falcons roster, but Varasano’s, which is nontraditional, original, and makes pies according to very modern recipes rather than a long list of international codes and charts, is better than them all. PRO TIP: Make reservations for an earlier dinner, beat the crowd.

Del Taco, several places
You know what I’ll enjoy about driving to or through Atlanta in the future? The 24-hour drive-thru at exit 271, because even if we’re heading from Tennessee to Saint Simons Island before sunrise, I can spare six minutes and get a couple of tacos. PRO TIP: Help your old pal Grant out, would ya? Tell ’em to open in Chattanooga, okay?


The Majestic Diner, Atlanta
I really didn’t eat here all that often, but man, I was glad to know that it was always here. PRO TIP: It took them decades to start serving chili. It was worth the wait.

Man Chun Hong, Doraville
I’ll miss Buford Highway, generally, but this is my favorite restaurant on the whole corridor, by a hair over about six others jockeying for silver. PRO TIP: The Shan City Chicken is on the Sichuan menu, which you have to ask them to bring you.

Old Brick Pit, Chamblee
One of the few barbecue places remaining in Atlanta from the seventies, which is sad but not surprising since Atlanta is a town bent on burying the culinary past unless it hits the right PR notes. This is a place I crave often and it never disappoints. PRO TIP: Get your meat dry, with the sauce on the side.

Heirloom Market Bar-B-Que, Smyrna
As Atlanta’s old barbecue traditions fade into history, Cody and Jiyeon have blazed the trail forward. This place is amazing. PRO TIP: When it’s nice, arrive promptly at 10.55 am so you can park, and then drive your meal to the other side of the interstate, to the Chattahoochee, and eat on the river’s bank.

Cheeseburger Bobby’s, Marietta
Our semi-regular Tuesday night spot, in part because the food’s pretty good, and in part because the staff is amazing. We really miss you, Jessica! PRO TIP: Double stamps and two buck kids meals on Tuesdays.

Bell Street Burritos, Atlanta
Not only is the food here great and reminds me of college, the music that Matt plays can be broken down into two categories: music that I already own, and music that I will buy within the next week. PRO TIP: Ask for your beans to be triple-drained. No, quadruple.

The Rotisserie Shop, Kennesaw
The only reason you don’t eat here weekly is that it’s in Kennesaw. If it were in Ponce City, you couldn’t get a table. That’s great that you live on the Beltline and have access to ninety-nine good restaurants. This place is better than every one of them and the owners are wonderful, wonderful people. PRO TIP: Ignore the menu. I always order from the evening specials and have never been disappointed.


Brandi’s World Famous Hot Dogs, Marietta
Friends, I know Gunshow’s good and everybody likes Ticonderoga Club, and that new place with the beverage program is supposed to be amazing, but this, this is my favorite restaurant in the Atlanta area. I have had many, many, many chili dogs here over the last twelve years, and enjoyed many, many books at the counter. Brandi, if you’re reading this, we will miss you and your girls so much. It’s been a pleasure. PRO TIP: Some sort of Hot Dog Club For Men meets here on Monday and Thursday mornings. You won’t find a parking place then.

Over the next three chapters, we’ll share some new favorites in the Scenic City that we’ve enjoyed as we’ve moved up here. Then next week, we’ll share the stories from the last Georgia / Alabama barbecue tour that we took before moving. The week after that, we’ve got a brand new series of Food From Fiction! Then it looks like about two solid months of Tennessee stories.

And to all our Atlanta blogging friends, the friends we love and the ones we just read and never met, do come explore eastern Tennessee with us! We’d love to see you and show you around. Drop us a line!

Finally, if you’re not reading our family-friendly classic TV blog, Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time, you’re really missing out! We’ve been doing it for over a year and are having a ball. Shows currently in rotation: Isis, Shazam!, and the new Thunderbirds are Go. Check it out, and thanks so much for reading!


Snort. “Beverage program.”

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20 thoughts on “More Songs About Buildings and Food

  1. I’ve loved reading about where to eat in Atlanta, so I know I’ll love whatever you share about Chattanooga. I graduated from high school there and returned to work there in 2000. There’s a lot to do and a lot to see, but the traffic is way better than your old Georgia stomping ground. Welcome to the Volunteer State! And may you make many memories here!

  2. You named several of my favorites here – Gia’s among them. But ignore the chicken and eat the spaghetti. It may be the best sauce in town. I think the first time we met y’all for dinner, it was there. Good luck in the frozen north! You’re two hours closer to the glory of hot chicken.

  3. Welcome to Chattanooga! Having read your adventures I was excited to see your relocation to the area. Looking forward to seeing the places you find and explore in my stomping grounds!

  4. I hope you increase your Chattanooga restuarant blogs quickly. The 2016-17 season is the last year of travel softball for my youngest daughter before she goes off to college. We play in Chattanooga a few times per season. Your blog has lead us to many great restaurants in Chattanooga over the years.

    1. I’m glad to hear it! We’ve got three new stories coming this week, and a couple more from the area before the end of the month. I hope they give you some good ideas! Also be sure to check out Chattavore, Local Milk, and Grey is the New Black. They have some great ideas around this area as well.

  5. I always look forward to your blogs. I am somehow sad that you have moved. I will still be checking my email everyday for new food adventures from your new home. I do not get to visit many of the restaurants you go to but, I live vicariously through you and your family. I was at the Hickory House at Northlake today and thought of you. Look forward to a long road ahead of new reviews. Good luck to you family in your new home.

  6. I’ll give you a great Chattanooga tip: Opa’s on River Street has the best Greek food in town. Check it out sometime!

    1. I have heard that! I have also heard that they have recently reopened after a few months’ closure for renovations. I may have to make my way to the North Shore pretty soon…

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