Home-style cooking to warm the heart

It's the time of year when most of us are yearning for home and the food that comes with it. If you're not near the ones you love, but need a dose of goodness, these restaurants serve it up by the plateful.

FOOD 101 (Morningside) Three stars
1397 North Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404-347-9747, www.101concepts.com

Food 101 chef Ron Eyester, a mainstay at next door's Morningside Farmers Market every Saturday morning, manages to use local products and keep food costs down, too, from this affordable neighborhood clatch. Eyester's love of home-style cooking and fresh ingredients shows up in just about everything on the menu, from fresh slaw twanged up with a bit of grain mustard, cider vinegar, truffle oil and his secret ingredient — maple syrup — to solidly fried, crispy breast of Springer Mountain chicken with whipped potatoes and creamy milk gravy.

CARVER'S COUNTRY KITCHEN (not rated)
1118 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-794-4410.

Good, plain country cookin' is what Sharon Carver fixes at this grocery store-cum-meat-and-whatever. Look for her and husband Robert to be sitting behind the cash register when you stop by for lunch, next to the sign that says "All Men are Idiots and I Married Their King." And expect ample helpings of home-seasoned mashed rutabagas, brown butter beans, darned good collards and some fried catfish and pot roast. Carver's signatures are pineapple casserole, a gooey, crusty mix of sugar, fruit and cheese, and her moist Coca-Cola cake.

GARDEN PRODUCE & COUNTRY STORE (not rated)
567 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain. 770-413-0338

Outside it's a rickety shack spruced up with funky junky herb and flower pots, the decor anchored by gas pumps painted barn red and littered with bullet holes. Inside there's room for one comfy table and shelves of Patti Tennis' fig preserves and bread and butter pickles. Next door is the key to why the vegetables — notably field peas and fried okra —taste so good: a garden where Tennis and partner Wayne Germon grow vegetables year round. Germon smokes chicken, pork, ribs and brisket in a wood-fired pit behind the store, but it's Patti's fried catfish, mac-and-cheese and greens that taste like home.

GREENWOOD'S ON GREEN STREET Two stars
1087 Green St., Roswell. 770-992-5383.

Nearly 20 years after opening, Greenwood's is still cooking up favorites such as broccoli casserole, fried catfish and white shrimp with cheese grits. The cornbread is so good it will make you want to slap your grandma. Ditto the trout, the rotisserie duck with plum sauce and the meatloaf.

RIA'S BLUEBIRD (not rated)
421 Memorial Drive S.E., Atlanta. 404-521-3737, www.riasbluebird.com

Ria's rocks with its intown attitude, serving up a load of love from tempeh to tilapia. The latter is blackened and served with a big bowl of organic, stone-ground grits. Breakfast all day is a great thing, especially when it's a breakfast burrito, the omelette of the day or the fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

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