Some of Atlanta's best restaurants are still to come...
What draws most people to the Atlanta BeltLine - besides fresh air, exercise, street art and people watching? The restaurants, of course! And during the looong quarantine, you might have missed a whole ton of new restaurants opening on the BeltLine. But no worries, summer is almost here, COVID seems under control for the moment, and people are out and about in Atlanta again. So find out what you missed, and know that there are plenty more restaurants coming.
Here's a run down, by location, of what opened the past few months, and what you can look forward to when you're back out on the BeltLine again. We're focused just on the Eastside Trail for now - because there are so many restaurants coming - and will feature other parts of the BeltLine in future posts. And if you want to get a sampling of BeltLine restaurants that we have already vetted for you, come on our Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine.
PONCE CITY MARKET
Street food is only getting more popular, and two new restaurants are offering it Vietnamese style (read below about the other one, Lady Ha). Vietvana, located in a new annex next to Anthropologie at Ponce City Market, serves pho any way you want it, with beef, chicken, meatball, tendon, filet mignon, tripe, brisket, squid and more. Or go meatless.
This is another restaurant by the owners of Botiwalla, which serves Indian street food in the main food hall. They are offering rotisserie chicken, made with spices from another company they created, Spicewalla, which sells savory spices in the Ponce City Market courtyard.
Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This new stall in the main food hall serves crepe cakes, with layers of crepes and fruit in between. You can get your cake plain or with strawberries, matcha green tea, or even vegan chocolate.
Read more in Atlanta Magazine
When you want to impress your date, or business colleague, or hey, even yourself - this could be your new spot. With a vibrant pink and green interior, Eater Atlanta calls it perhaps the most beautiful restaurant in Ponce City Market. Menu items include steak frites, Georgia trout, octopus and schnitzel.
For months, paper parasols have lined the columns and ceiling in the new annex at Ponce City Market, long before this new restaurant launched. What a way to make an entrance! Umbrella Bar, a Korean street food restaurant, was supposed to open just last week. (I mistakenly thought the umbrellas were for Vietvana, which is open and delicious - check out my previous blog post). Umbrella Bar plans to serve food you would find at a Korean Night Market. That would be meat on a stick (chicken, shrimp, fish balls, tofu and more), corn dogs, Korean sushi, slushies and lemonades. And my personal favorite - spiral potatoes on a stick.
Read more in Atlanta Magazine
Looking for Things to Do in Atlanta this Weekend? Come on our Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine.
Look across the BeltLine from Ponce City Market to find another Vietnamese street food restaurant, Lady Ha, located in Ford Factory Lofts. It's all in the name, Lady Ha claims. Yes, but it's also in the food and drinks they serve. You can find bubble teas, smoothies and virgin mojitos - along with comfort/street food like banh mi, pho, duck salad, Vietnamese-style tacos and wings and more.
The Trader Joe's shopping center is being revamped with offices, retail and a new entrance to the BeltLine. FROGS and Ah Ma closed, making way for an oyster bar by Chef Pat Pascarelli, owner of Grana and White Bull in Decatur. Look for lots of risotto dishes and an enticing atmosphere.
Opening: Was targeted to open February 2022
This restaurant and bar has long been an upscale option for travelers at Atlanta's airport. It is now taking over the former Hazel Jane's spot at Edge apartments, continuing to serve "Southernational food inspired by world travels" (says their website). According to Eater Atlanta, they will serve "poke tacos, collard green ramen, coffee-rubbed lamb ribs, and its popular sushi rolls using fish flow in from Japan. A menu expansion at the Beltline restaurant sees new dishes added, such as hot drunken chicken and mochi waffles, Szechuan-style short ribs, and tempura scallops with curry cauliflower puree."
Opening: Any day now
It was Cold Beer by Kevin Gillespie, serving fancy small plates. But with everyone staying in their homes during COVID, this restaurant in the Edge apartment complex on the BeltLine got less traffic, or maybe just less demand for upscale dining. So they closed and reopened as Slabtown, now serving their own take on bar food - burgers, the Closed-on-Sunday chicken sandwich (wink, wink), nachos, Cuban sandwiches, etc. Btw, Kevin Gillespie was recently named a finalist for the James Beard Best Restaurateur award (applause here). Fun Fact: Slabtown was a red light district on nearby Decatur Street in the 1800s and so named because houses there were built with left over slabs of wood.
Who else brings back a stash of bagels when they visit New York? Now, there's no need to hop on a plane to get them. You can find the Beeline Bagels cart on most Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., just off the BeltLine, near Barcelona Wine Bar. The bagels are made by Niki Hetchkop, the daughter of "Jewish New Yorkers" (so says her website), who taught herself how to make them. True bagel lovers know they must be boiled and baked to be authentic. And these are. They come with sesame, poppies, salt, everything, plain and cinnamon, according to Atlanta Magazine, plus multiple kinds of cream cheese. "The bagels are “rip ‘n’ dip” style, meaning they are designed to be torn into bite-sized pieces and dipped into cream cheese, rather than sliced and schmeared." Perfect for walking on the BeltLine.
We stop here for dessert on our Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine because these are the best beignets you'll find in Atlanta. And in fact, more than one of our tour guests has claimed they're better than Cafe du Monde in NOLA, the gold standard. These beignets are large and fluffy, topped with a generous helping of powdered sugar (which you might wear home, just saying). The owner, George, perfected his beignets while working at the former Huey's, known for its creole food. You can also get chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, and coffee imported from Ethiopia, which is where coffee was reportedly discovered. While Yay! Beignet has been open a while now, it's tucked away in the Irwin Street Market, and if you haven't discovered it, you definitely should.
Check out their Instagram pics
Hungry now? Get a sampling of different restaurants on the BeltLine, and learn the stories behind the street art, by joining our Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine.
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder and CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking Food and Art Tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. To sample some of Atlanta's best restaurants and street art, come join us on a Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine. Follow on TikTok and Instagram @bitelinesatl.