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This Atlanta throwback sandwich comes with an incredible view

The 9 Mile Station patty melt is an updated version of the old-school diner specialty.
The 9 Mile Station patty melt is an updated version of the old-school diner specialty.

Credit: Henri Hollis

Credit: Henri Hollis

Dish of the Week: Patty melt at 9 Mile Station

Skyline Park, on the rooftop of Ponce City Market, specializes in hipster-approved nostalgia, updated for our modern times. The old-school fairground games, a carpet slide, putt-putt and the Heege Tower appeal to the inner child, while beer, wine and cocktails tamp down the inhibitions of the outward adult. Once you’ve worked up an appetite elsewhere on the rooftop, beer garden-restaurant 9 Mile Station has a few menu items to scratch that same nostalgic itch. Chief among them: the 9 Mile Station patty melt.

While the exact origins of the patty melt, aren’t known, the classic American sandwich was popularized in the 1940s, and, like the original hamburger, it is served on sliced bread, rather than a bun. The patty melt is still a mainstay on menus that hark back to the good old days of roadside diners and pharmacy soda fountains.

9 Mile Station’s version hews closely to ideal patty melt tradition, with slight updates. It’s served on very good marble rye bread from Buckhead Bread Co. that’s toasted to a buttery crispness. Both slices of bread are cloaked in melted fontina cheese, a flavorful upgrade over Swiss, which envelops the patty once the sandwich is assembled.

Dark, sweet caramelized onions top the patty, which is the unquestioned star of the show. A blend of Halperns’ brisket, short rib and chuck makes this burger taste a lot more like an old-fashioned hamburger steak, and it’s perfectly cooked at medium-well. It makes for a juicy, messy sandwich, but you wouldn’t want a patty melt any other way.

You’ll pay handsomely for the privilege of enjoying this old-school sandwich — it’s $18, though it is served with house-made pickles and excellent fries. But, if you make a reservation at 9 Mile Station, you can save the $15 charge to get onto the rooftop. It’s a worthwhile investment to discover that, at some places, they do still make things like they used to — sometimes, even better.