Big Al’s Gourmet Butter Burgers, Atlanta GA

My friend David works a mile and a bit south of a burger place called Big Al’s, which opened at the beginning of the year, and told me that it’s so popular at his work that nobody’s having lunch anywhere else lately. One Friday in April, I figured that he’d sold me and met him at the space, which is on the ground floor of a parking-crunched two-story retail center on Peachtree, along with a Firehouse Subs and a CamiCakes. Continue reading “Big Al’s Gourmet Butter Burgers, Atlanta GA”

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Maki Fresh, Atlanta GA

Every once in a while, you get so much conflicting information in one go that you seem certain to short-circuit. That’s what happened when our old friend David said that I needed to meet him for lunch at this quasi-Japanese fast casual place run by the team behind the Zoës Kitchen chain that makes a startlingly good hamburger. David usually knows what he’s talking about, even if the information sometimes defies common sense, so a couple of Fridays ago, I drove over to the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center to see about this burger. Continue reading “Maki Fresh, Atlanta GA”

Gusto! Wood Fire Grill, Atlanta GA

A couple of weeks ago, I met my friend David for lunch at a new place in Brookwood Hills with a neat shtick. Raging against the trends of cooking over gas, which even many of the barbecue joints in Atlanta do, Gusto! loudly and proudly grills their chicken, mushrooms, and shrimp over wood. If this takes off, it will certainly lead to awkward questions. If these guys can successfully cook over wood – there’s a small stack of hickory right in the middle of the restaurant to emphasize the point – then everybody can. Get your acts together, ‘cue joints. Continue reading “Gusto! Wood Fire Grill, Atlanta GA”

Varasano’s Pizzeria, Atlanta GA (take two)

I’m afraid that I unwittingly insulted the awesome Jeff Varasano when we visited for dinner one Sunday evening a couple of months ago. Marie and the three year-old and I were at Varasano’s Pizzeria along with Marie’s mother, enjoying some quite fantastic pies. Jeff was making the rounds, asking how people were enjoying things and doing Rubik’s Cubes in under thirty seconds. As party tricks go, that’s a pretty impressive one. I told Jeff how much I enjoyed that recent interview with Serious Eats, and then, because I got tongue-tied, I spittundled out something about Vingenzo’s, up in Woodstock, that sounded like I was saying Jeff’s pies were second-rate to those. Not so. Continue reading “Varasano’s Pizzeria, Atlanta GA (take two)”

Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta GA

I have a perfectly valid excuse for us never trying the celebrated burger at Holeman & Finch before now. We’re in bed by ten and I used to work Sundays. So there.

Many of our readers seem to hail from Atlanta and are, therefore, possibly familiar with the last six years of silliness surrounding this sandwich. For the benefit of the rest of you, it’s like this. There’s this gastropub that grills exactly two dozen burgers a night, at 10 pm. If you want one, you show up before 9 and hope you made it. They also offer it on Sundays, where the wait can stretch from half an hour to three. I tend to agree with Jimmy from Eat it, Atlanta: this has gone on a bit long now. Continue reading “Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta GA”

Bell Street Burritos, Atlanta GA

Will the third time be lucky for Atlanta’s best burrito? Heck, we hope so. Matt Hinton, the owner of Bell Street Burritos, has had a run of bad luck that would make anybody else throw in the towel. After starting up as a stand in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, each successive location has closed before it could really turn itself into a solid neighborhood favorite. Landlord issues shuttered the first two, on Howell Mill and in the Irwin Street Market, and Hinton has weathered the storms with grace and calm, with a super team in place to serve guests. Continue reading “Bell Street Burritos, Atlanta GA”

Jalisco, Atlanta GA

In January, I wrote about the popular Nuevo Laredo Cantina, and noted then that every three or four months, I get a little peckish for El-This-Los-That Atlanta-styled “Mexican” food. The story goes that the red sauce-and-cheese style of Mexican food – the sort of place where, in the late 1980s, we all gorged on cheese dip – was brought to Atlanta by the founder of the local chain of Monterrey restaurants around 1974. Continue reading “Jalisco, Atlanta GA”