Starting with the double capital L spelling of its name, and the cheeky motto, “Where nobody knows your name,” LLoyd’s Restaurant and Lounge is a decidedly quirky place.
At their other restaurants — Victory Sandwich Bar in Decatur and Inman Park, S.O.S Tiki Bar in Decatur, and Little Trouble at Westside Provisions District — co-owners Ian Jones and Caleb Wheelus have often emphasized drinking as much as dining.
At LLoyd’s, the bar is certainly a big part of the scene. too. And with chef James Kitchens (who came to LLoyd’s from Lure) in the kitchen, the combination of Southern diner and bar food aims for some serious fun.
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Look for starters such as fried mozzarella sticks, jumbo shrimp cocktail, spinach and artichoke dip with Ruffles potato chips, and a wedge salad. Hefty sandwiches include fried bologna, shaved rib-eye cheesesteak, fried chicken, and a double patty knife-and-fork cheeseburger that resembles a Big Mac on steroids.
The featured entree is griddled meatloaf with all-you-can-eat mashed potatoes. But blue-plate specials with a rotating selection of meat, fish or poultry come with a choice of two sides, like mac-and-cheese, Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard.
Weekly dinner specials, with snow crab on Mondays, prime rib on Tuesdays, and fried chicken on Wednesdays, weekday happy hour with $5 martinis, vespers and Manhattans, and weekend brunch round out the menu, offering a bit of something for everyone.
Central to the concept is the look, which evokes the vintage Americana of roadside diners and beer joints mixed with ’70s rumpus room schlock in details such as diamond-shaped windows, knotty pine paneling, generic landscape paintings, and dangling multicolored swag lamps.
Last week, Jones sat down at a booth to talk about LLoyd’s, which as it turns out was named for the bartender in “The Shining.”
“Atlanta has a lot of really great nice restaurants. But what I’d rather do is see a historic restaurant or some place that’s been around for a while and has that lived-in feel,” Jones said. “I’m less concerned with cutting-edge cuisine as I am with experiencing something about the environment.
“So we were trying to build a place that not only evokes that but becomes that. People say it reminds them of their grandparents’ basement, or the house they grew up in in Chicago. We get a lot of Middle America references, which is great. And I love those roadhouse, supper club, diner-like places, too.”
Asked about the menu, Jones said, “You know, it’s kind of what you want when you’re boozing. The shrimp cocktail is great if you’re drinking a martini. You can never go wrong with fried cheese or spinach dip or a big blue cheesy salad.
“With things like sandwiches, we’re trying to do the best version of simple bar food. Actually caring that the lettuce is crispy or actually grilling steaks and slicing them for our cheesesteaks. I don’t ever want a frozen burger patty or pre-breaded stuff coming in here. We hired a great chef. And chef Kitchens is hilarious to say. But things like the meatloaf are actually his family’s recipe. So far, we’ve gone up to five extra servings on the mashed potatoes. That’s hilarious, too.”
Talking about the bar, Jones said, “Our bar is a bar. We don’t have a drink menu. But what’s a neighborhood bar that can make drinks as good as a fancy bar? How’s that feel? It feels good. And it’s fun.”
As to what’s next, Jones said there’s a Victory Brands coffee shop in the works, located near LLoyd’s in the Dickey development.
“It will be called the DeKalb Athletic Club, which makes no sense, whatsoever,” he said. “It’s just us being goofballs, again. We’re getting some great coffee from Radio Roasters over in Avondale. But we’re also going to do Cuban coffee with Bustelo. So you can get a fancy cappuccino or a really sweet cafe con leche.”
900 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta. 404-228-7227, lloydsatl.com.
More images from a First Look at LLoyd’s Restaurant and Lounge