When Garden & Gun Club opened at the Battery Atlanta in 2018, diners were eager to see how an upscale lifestyle magazine from Charleston, South Carolina, would translate into a clubby restaurant beside the Braves’ new ballpark.
Big-name Charleston chef Mike Lata (FIG, the Ordinary) was brought in to work with Executive Chef Ann Kim, new to Atlanta from California. It wasn’t long before the city swooned over Kim’s rabbit with dumplings, turkey-neck gumbo, and Korean braised short ribs, paired with grits and collards.
All that changed in mid-March, when Kim returned from vacation to find the once convivial club eerily quiet, thanks to COVID-19. A team of 40 had been pared to four essential managers. They were trying to proceed as normal — making laborious, technique-heavy food with pricey ingredients.
Kim informed them that the old way no longer was an option.
“We can’t have our regular menu,” she told the crew. “People are worried about their financial state. They’re not going to want to buy a $28 rabbit and dumplings.”
Three months later, the swanky Garden & Gun Club has been transformed into something resembling a beach bar, with a takeout-only, short-order menu ($10 shrimp baskets; $8-$9 fish and chicken sandwiches; an $8 burger), plus daily specials that have shifted from strictly Southern to whatever Kim feels like cooking that day, be it cheesesteak, sloppy Joe, pan-seared salmon or a grilled-shrimp burrito.
Drinks have been rejiggered for affordability, too. There are $6 cocktails, $4 craft beers on tap, $3 canned beers and $1 Jell-O shots — all of which suit the Battery’s open-container policy. The club is not yet open for dine-in or patio service, though customers are welcome to sit at tables outside.
“We just want to be affordable for everyone at this point,” said General Manager Gina Lee, who lives at the Battery. “We want to change with the times, and we want to be flexible.”
Thus far, the temporary makeover has been a big hit with the community.
Kim said she’s had fun introducing diners to dishes they may not know (Mexican chile verde, Hawaiian loco moco), and comforting them with nostalgic food from the past.
“We have people who come in every single day, and they just order the specials,” Kim said. “It’s very flattering … and they like having the variety.”
Others dig her homespun grilled pimento cheese and all-day breakfast burrito, both $6. Some stock up on the burrito, and freeze it for later.
If you are craving her rabbit and dumplings, you may have to wait; managers aren’t sure when the dining room will reopen. “We feel like, in the tiny space we have, it’s just not the right time,” Kim said.
As for other Battery restaurants, most have opened in some capacity. Still closed are Good Game, Punch Bowl Social and Gio’s Chicken Siciliana.
At this time, the Braves are expected to play the season sans fans, but the party around the park is likely to go on.
If personal protective gear is a concern, be advised that on a Tuesday visit to the Battery, masks were nowhere to be seen on folks strolling about, or on restaurant servers handing out food and drink. The Garden & Gun restaurant manager assured us that face coverings were being addressed at that establishment.
GARDEN & GUN CLUB
Menu: revamped from upscale Southern to short-order classics and daily chef specials
Alcohol: beer, wine and cocktails to go
What I ordered: fish sandwich, burger, shrimp basket, chicken sandwich — all with fries; queso with chips and pico; breakfast burrito. Everything was delicious, with generous portions and exceptional value. I particularly loved the fish sandwich, the shrimp basket and the juicy quarter-pounder with cheese. I added bacon, but it was so not needed. Got my burrito in the freezer for later!
Service options: takeout only; may eat and drink at patio tables, but don’t expect service; order and pay online, in person, or on the phone; no delivery; cash accepted
Safety protocols: claims to follow standard guidelines. One observation: When we stopped by for takeout, the cashier was not in a mask; current state-mandated guidelines require workers to wear face coverings while interacting with patrons. The restaurant manager assured us this was being addressed. A spokesperson for the Battery Atlanta issued the following statement: “The Battery Atlanta is adhering to and communicating all applicable local, state and federal regulations and orders with our tenants, but it is the responsibility of each individual establishment to enforce and implement these regulations and orders within their spaces.”
Address, phone: 2605 Circle 75 Parkway, Atlanta; 770-726-0925
Hours: 12-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays. 12-8 p.m. Thursdays. 12-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 12-4 p.m. Sundays.
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