Summer in Georgia is high season for tomatoes. For home gardeners, ripe tomatoes are the crown jewel of the household plot. People obsess over them, take extreme measures to protect them, and cherish the sweet, juicy fruits of their labor. As any Southerner will note, you can’t find good tomatoes at the grocery store. You have to grow them yourself, or find someone who knows what they’re doing. For a taste of that expertise and dedication, without the hassle, order the Appalachian tomato pie at Revival in Decatur.
Kevin Gillespie’s well-established comfort food restaurant has become a downtown Decatur favorite thanks to simple, perfectly executed Southern dishes, like the tomato pie. It’s a true summer delicacy, piled high with fat slices of beautifully irregular red heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes are excellent, and almost impossible to improve through cooking. They’re nicely warmed and dressed in the pie, topped only with a scattering of onions and radishes. They’re obviously the star of the show.
Still, the chefs at Revival have done well to put in extra effort on the pie, after restraining themselves with the tomatoes. A buttery, flaky crust is weighted down with a savory, cheesy pie filling that adds richness to this vegetarian dish. Sweet onions, another of Georgia’s proudest agricultural products, cut the acidity of the tomatoes. A handful of herbs adds a little extra sophistication and color.
The tomatoes dominate, though, as it should be in a tomato pie. In these days of industrial agriculture, where pale, bland tomatoes are the norm, this humble dish has gone the way of handmade shoes and blown glass: a relic of the past, now elevated to an art form.
Revival. 129 Church St., Decatur. 470-225-6770, revivaldecatur.com.
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