Firepit Pizza Tavern in Grant Park serves grilled chicken pizza with a white sauce base. Beverages include beer, cocktails and some 20 wines by the glass. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

11 metro Atlanta food tours to take this year 

Atlanta isn’t exactly known for its walkability, but there are plenty of little pockets in the metro area where you can park your car and try out several worthy bars and restaurants within a few blocks of each other. Try one of these self-guided food tours for a one-stop shop for dining and drinking.

Parsons Alley in downtown Duluth has dining options for a variety of tastes. If you’re in the mood for barbecue, Dreamland gives you plenty of options. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: For the AJC

Parsons Alley in Duluth

While Atlanta is possessed of any number of postcard-perfect town squares, one suburban downtown that has been wholly transformed in recent years is Duluth. In particular, the Parsons Alley development, a warren of shops, restaurants and public spaces at the corner of Main and West Lawrenceville streets, is a culinary destination in its own right. From oyster bars to coffee nooks, here’s a look.

The menu at Barleygarden Kitchen and Craft Bar claims to serve “The Best Hot Dog You’ll Ever Eat.” It would make our critic’s top five, but check it out for yourself. CONTRIBUTED BY WYATT WILLIAMS
Photo: For the AJC

Avalon in Alpharetta

Since opening in Alpharetta, Avalon has claimed its spot as one of the OTP hotspots to eat, shop, play and work. Many intown concepts — like Antico Pizza Napoletana, Bantam + Biddy, Bocado Burger and Farm to Ladle — have made their OTP debut here, seizing a market that was ripe for the taking: affluent and cultured residents living in the north Fulton burbs who are craving on-trend, intown dining experiences minus the drive.

The Single Order Sampler is an excellent way to taste a variety of dishes at Bole Ethopian Restaurant. The sampler includes portions of Bole tibs, Bole awaze tibs and numerous vegetable and lentil preparations atop injera bread. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

College Park

Eating in College Park is an all-chill, no-frills experience. Nothing about this place is contrived. Rather, it’s a refreshing pocket of Atlanta, one filled with people who couldn’t care less about the tragically hip — and overpriced — Inman Quarter, or the glitz and glamour of Buckhead. Here, it is locals, and perhaps airport workers, just looking to fill up.

The 100% Lump Crab Cakes at Spondivits contain zero filler. What’s the secret? A little bit of heavy cream, just enough to help moisten and bind it, before setting the mix into ring molds. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

East Point

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the First Baptist Church in East Point was a filming location for “Stranger Things.” This city located just southwest of Atlanta and bordering Hartsfield-Jackson airport is full of character. In its historic downtown district, on streets like White Way and East Point, Sunday churchgoers waiting to get into places like Thumbs-Up Diner may share the sidewalk with panhandlers. There’s no high-brow dining here, but who needs that when you’ve got dinky shack Taco Pete? Good grub? Most of the time. Attitude? Always. Here are seven dishes that match the spunk of this city.

Grilled Faroe Island salmon over a spinach salad at Volare Bistro in Hapeville. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Food gems in this city range from a back-when soda fountain inside a fourth-gen pharmacy to ethnic eateries that line both sides of the railroad tracks running through the center of town to a historic Chick-fil-A with a Disney-esque dwarf door.

Is it truly a visit to Paschal’s if you don’t have some of its signature fried chicken? LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Castleberry Hill

Residents of Castleberry Hill need no reminder that the eat-drink-be-merry scene in their neck of the woods has picked up momentum. But when was the last time you stuffed your face in this storied downtown neighborhood?

If you’re checking out Clarkston’s food offerings, one tasty option is Kathmandu Kitchen & Grill’s veggie thukpa soup. CONTRIBUTED BY MIA YAKEL
Photo: For the AJC


In fact, between 1980 and 1990, the city lost half its white population. By the 1990s, Clarkston had been designated by asylum programs as a perfect place for refugee resettlement. On each visit home, I barely recognized it anymore. Only the buildings remained the same. Lord’s moved, then sold the pharmacy; the bank became a church. My great-grandmother’s house, where my father was born, was sold to the Methodist church.

The Southern Breakfast at Panbury’s in Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a pie filled with chicken sausage and scrambled eggs. (Wyatt Williams)

Lunch in downtown Atlanta

Good luck, trying it all. I thought I’d taken a pretty thorough tour after spending several days scouting out the best lunches, but after I was done I got an email tipping me off to a Latin place that I’d skipped, Buenos Dias Cafe. She said the pupusas were great. Maybe next time.

The lunch crowd fills up Pho Hoang Long in Pat Mell Shopping Center on weekdays. Contributed by Wyatt Williams
Photo: Yvonne Zusel/Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Pat Mell Shopping Center

The first thing you’ll notice at Pat Mell Shopping Center, a little strip mall on the northeast corner of Pat Mell Road and South Cobb Drive in Marietta, is the remarkable number of taxi cabs.

Where idling taxis are found, good, cheap food often is nearby.

Fried rice at Miss Gogi Korean BBQ, which is prepared on the grill at the end of the meal. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: For the AJC

Peachtree Pavilion in Doraville

A burgeoning Atlanta food mecca sits quietly in Doraville, nestled among car dealerships and barricaded from easy access by I-285. Peachtree Pavilion, better known as the home of Super H Mart and BrandsMart USA, is home to an exciting lineup of restaurants and food purveyors that belie the shopping center’s generic name.

Tacos are one of the reasons to check out Muchacho on Memorial Drive. CONTRIBUTED BY JENNI GIRTMAN / ATLANTA EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo: For the AJC

Memorial Drive in Grant Park and Reynoldstown

Beyond the hassles of construction detours and traffic jams, there’s an enticing new wave of bars and restaurants to discover along a roughly mile-and-a-half stretch between Bill Kennedy Way and Hill Street.

Read the 2018 AJC Fall Dining Guide: Dining on Buford Highway 

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