I <3 Decatur.
My friends and coworkers know I am a walking PSA for the quaint Atlanta "suburb." (I use the word suburb in quotes because Decatur is officially a suburb since it's not in Atlanta proper… but it's really pretty "in-town," as it's a mere 1.5 or 2 miles from the "leaving Atlanta" sign on Ponce). See:
I've already admitted I'm biased, but if you've been to Decatur, what's not to love? We have a cute downtown with with loads of neat boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and pubs. There's a MARTA train stop right in the downtown city square. Other city amenities include a well-kept public library, dog park and playgrounds. The vibe? I describe it as somewhere in the middle of Virginia-Highland and Little Five Points — but a little family oriented. We're a super quick drive (10 minutes or less) from Virginia-Highland, Little Five Points, Edgewood and Emory.
I encourage friends and colleagues all the time to check out Decatur for dinner, so it's about time I post a list of some of my favorite Decatur eateries! Without further adieu…
Eating in Decatur – Savvy in the City's faves (note: there are so many great places, it was hard to pick just a few to talk about here)
Leon's Full Service. Image from LeonSpeakers.
Leon's Full Service. Leon's is possibly my favorite restaurant in Downtown Decatur. It's owned by the same folks as Brickstore Pub (or BSP for some) — more on them later. Leon's restaurant space is a converted service station with a killer patio and a bocce ball court to boot! Leon's has a great beer menu with many drafts to choose from, and according to friends and the press, the seasonal cocktails are quite thoughtful and delicious as well. What to order: pub frites with dipping sauces (faves are masaman curry and cucumber yogurt dill), bacon in a glass with peanut butter on the side, veggie loaf (trust me – my husband is not a veg and he always orders it), warm chickpea/cherry/basil side dish. Entrees range from $11 to $21 — reasonable for what you get if you ask me. Note: they don't take reservations. (See reviews here.)
Feast. Feast has one of the most romantic/cozy dining areas in Decatur. It's space has character and charm with its exposed brick, open ceiling, drapes and industrial lighting. Sitting at the bar is a treat, too, as it opens up to the kitchen and a toasty wood-burning pizza oven. What to order: mushroom "chips" with gorgonzola dipping sauce. any of the wood fired pizzas, lamb burger (if it's on the menu, which changes regularly). I'm also a big fan of the dark and stormy cocktail (ginger beer and rum – yum). Entrees range from $12 to $25. (Reviews here.) UPDATE Feb. 25: Feast has unfortunately decided to close its doors. My thoughts are with the owner Teri Rogers as she battles breast cancer for a second time. I really enjoyed Feast and will miss it.
Brick Store Pub. Known for its extensive beer selection, Brick Store Pub is also a favorite for Decaturites (and across Metro Atlanta) for its thoughtful pub fare. Brick Store Pub is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 beer bars in all the US. Good thing (or bad thing?) for us, we live within safe walking distance from this establishment. I'm especially a fan of the Belgian beer bar upstairs for its interesting, rotating selection (e.g., St. Bernardus 12, La Chouffe, etc.). What to order: "jaws" (breaded fish tenders), charcuterie/cheese plate, bowl o' currey (enough for a meal at $4.50), shepherd's daughter's pie. Most expensive entree is $14 but most are $8 to $10. Beer prices run the gamut, but you're sure to find something to fit your budget and your tastebuds with the something like 250 options. Notes: if you want to drink a brew while watching a ball game, you'll need to go elsewhere. BSP is TV-free. Also, reservations are not available. (Reviews here.)
Burger from Farm Burger. Image from Cheese-Burger.net.
Farm Burger. My brother-in-law always insists we go to Farm Burger for lunch or dinner when he's visiting. And I'm glad he does! I'm not even a big burger person and I drool over this place's divine patties. FB's quick casual format (wait in line to order/pay then grab a table) makes the place even more casual/approachable. Be prepared to wait in line though. Like many restaurants in Decatur, FB is all about organic, locally sourced goodness. What to order: #1 (original Farm Burger with smoked white cheddar, caramelized onions, "farm burger" sauce), fb fries, sweet potato fries, market salad with goddess dressing. Burgers are around $10 (sides are extra). Note: you will get a dirty look if you order your burger any more done than medium. Just listen to the people and order it medium! Reviews here.
Iberian Pig. Pig reminds me of bacon, and how can anything related to bacon be bad? Yeah, that's what I thought. The Iberian Pig is a Spanish tapas restaurant with a modern twist. The restaurant's namesake is the black-footed Iberian Pig, which is a delicacy (and an expensive one at that) when slow cured. Don't be deceived by the Pig's two floors of dining space… it fills up fast. What to order: mushroom flatbread, cured meats/cheeses, pork cheek tacos, caborito carbonara. I've heard great things about the mixologist (fancy name for bartender) at Iberian Pig but am yet to taste firsthand. Maybe I will when we eat there in two weeks with friends! Most entrees are $17 to $30 but you can also split small plates/tapas that are $5 – $13. (Reviews here.)
For brunch, you can often find me at Sweet Melissa's. A giant breakfast menu with all the classics, bustling dining room, friendly wait staff, live band on the weekends jamming out to Allman Brothers and the like… what more could you ask for? Sweet Melissa's is exclusively a lunch/brunch place (save for special events/parties). What to order: most anything, though I'm partial to kind of an off-the-wall thing (the tahini tofu, which is a scramble of tofu, ginger and veggies). The husband is a big fan of Sweet Melissa's omelets. (Reviews here.)
My favorite takeout option is Las Brasas. Las Brasas is a Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken joint that's quite unassuming looking with its small, painted red cinder block exterior. Don't judge a book by its cover! Las Brasas is regularly written up by Atlanta's top food critics. Why? Because there's a lot of heart, soul and tenderness (literally!) in the food that comes out of this family-owned establishment. What to order: quarter chicken special with sweet potato fries, chicken salad (ask for the creamy/spicy sauce as your dressing), chicken salad sandwich, lomo saltado (only available on Thursdays and Fridays — it's a traditional Peruvian dish of stir fried steak, onions, tomatoes and french fries). Entrees are $5.00 to $10.00 and a great solution for a night you've worked too late and ran out of time to cook dinner. (Reviews here.)
What are your favorite spots in Decatur?