First Look: Pea Ridge Kitchen & Bar, Decatur


11 a.m. 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Lunch specials served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

Starters, soups and salads, $6-$10; sandwiches, $8-$10; dinner entrees, $14-$18; sides, $4, desserts, $5.50.

2607 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur. 470-268 4051,

Pea Ridge Kitchen & Bar opened in May in the former Country Cafe space just off the Lawrenceville Highway exit from I-285. Patrick Dunn, formerly of Leon’s Full Service, and Brian Hogan, of Shorty’s Pizza, partnered with John Peter Casey on the restaurant, which is named for the abundance of pea farms that once occupied the Decatur-to-Tucker highway corridor.

The look: True to its name, the open kitchen and L-shaped bar are front and center in the rustic build-out, which features rough-hewn wood and galvanized metal light fixtures. Seating is at cozy cafe tables covered with brown butcher paper.

The scene: One weekday afternoon, the dining room was buzzing with busy servers working a lunchtime rush of families with children on summer vacation and curious folks from the neighborhood who once frequented Country Cafe.

The food: Billed as "simple fresh foods, made from scratch" the menu includes starters, salads and sandwiches, plus four weekly seasonal dinner entrees ($14-$18), with meat, fish, pasta and vegetarian choices displayed on a chalkboard menu. Among the starters, find lentil croquettes and fresh veggies served with dipping sauces ($6). A North Carolina trout banh mi sandwich ($10) is dressed with pickled vegetables, cilantro and roasted poblano aioli on an airy baguette. The recent "Southern Lunch" special ($11), served with iced tea, was fried catfish with yellow grits and collard greens.

The drinks: Pea Ridge obtained its liquor license last week and plans to have a cocktail menu soon. Right now, there's a concise wine list by the glass or bottle ($5-$27) and a half-dozen beers on draft and in the bottle ($4.75-$5.50), including Creature Comforts Tropicalia and Three Taverns White Hops.

The extras: Look for a weekend brunch menu with specials listed on the chalkboard. The kids menu ($5) features a junior burger, grilled cheese or chicken tenders. For dessert ($5.50), there's chocolate ice box pie, berry tart or banana pudding.