It’s a source of pride that friends and strangers ask me for Atlanta restaurant recommendations. From dives to fine dining, the simplest fare to the most exotic international cuisine, I try to sample it all.
With so much great food from all over the world in all types of settings, could it be possible for me to pick my favorite all around restaurant in Atlanta? Well, friends and neighbors, this is not a question I take lightly. I’ve thought long and hard about this and have an answer.
If you are a tourist or Atlantan, I will give you my truth. The best all-around restaurant is THERE, a bar and eatery found in the Brookhaven suburb in the Greater Atlanta Area. Bill Brown, the owner of THERE, likes to call the place a Gastropub, which is a bar that serves high-end food and beer. I’ve eaten there a number of times and have had the chance to order a lot of different things. I have yet to order anything that didn’t bring me great joy.
Paul Leslie, on the patio at „There”
THERE was in large part inspired by the pubs of New York and London. To describe the mood of the place, I would just have to say that it’s just so versatile. You could be in a suit and tie and your date could be in a little black dress having dinner before going off to the Fox Theatre in Midtown Atlanta and you would not feel over-dressed at all. Similarly, I have wandered in wearing shorts and a t-shirt and was greeted just as warmly. It’s very hard to accomplish a place that is relaxed, but classy. I think relaxed and classy is what we should all aspire to. Am I right?
All of this and I haven’t even gotten into the food yet. I’ve ordered salads there, several appetizers from seared pork belly to calamari. I don’t know how they consistently deliver such scrumptious food. They do.
I consider myself a cheeseburger connaisseur. I’ve looked high and low for the elusive best burger in Atlanta. I realize what I’m about to tell you may make you skeptical. Well, I’m the biggest skeptic out there. When I see a bar and grill with the words “best burger” written in a menu or chalkboard in whatever city I am in, I immediately cringe. It’s just almost always false and it’s a claim thrown around casually.
Enter the “There” burger. There are great cheeseburgers to be had in Atlanta. Honorable mention goes to the Grindhouse Killer Burgers locations and the Asian-inspired Ssam Burger as well as the truly delicious hamburgers found at Illegal Food in Virginia Highlands neighborhood. However, I have to say that the tremendous work of art that is the There burger puts them all to shame. At the urging of Atlanta bartender Matt Hardeman, I tried it for the first time after he said it was the best burger he had ever had. Of course I was skeptical. My expectations were exceeded. In order to keep it simple, I chose the There-made garlic fries as my side.
The chef delivered my plate to me personally and asked if I needed any condiments. I believe putting ketchup on anything really good is a sin so I asked him for some honey mustard. Although they didn’t have any, he told me he was going to make me some. He did and even the honey mustard was super tasty. A word to the wise, the garlic is not subtle at all. If you don’t really like garlic, you should get something else.
I’ve also tried the “There” Bison Burger and found it extremely delicious and a pleasant change of pace from the beef. Both burgers give you the option of choosing from a lot of great sides. If you like onion rings, they make a mean onion ring. If you really want to do yourself a favor though, you should order their Brussels sprouts. They’re a delight.
I’ve given “There” distinction as the best Atlanta place because of consistency, the relaxing environment and how on point they are at all hours. I’ve showed up at opening time for their Sunday brunch and enjoyed great food while hearing the exceptional Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. I’ve also visited “There” when the kitchen was closed. The bartender made a top-notch gin martini. They usually have selections of beer that you cannot get anywhere else.
Stop by. You’ll feel right at home. I don’t know how they do it at “There.” I’m just glad they do.
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Semnat de Paul Leslie