5 Seasons Westside

It’s my guess that few of the customers who make their way up the stairs to the rooftop dining area of 5 Seasons Westside know what a tuned-in guy executive chef David Larkworthy is.

They munch on pizza blanketed with tangy cheese and topped with organic local blackberries, fried jalapeno peppers, sliced onions and feathery arugula, never knowing that the executive chef is one of our state’s greatest proponents of the slow food movement.

It’s a point worth making, since most people think that white tablecloths, super thread-count linens and second mortgages to pay the bill are involved when it comes to kitchens that, whenever possible, source their products locally and organically, trying to stick to an environmental creed. Five Seasons is a brewpub, the third to open from Larkworthy and brew master Crawford Moran since the original debuted at the Prado in 2001.

On a menu littered with affordable good eats, the most expensive thing is $50 — it’s a “feast” plate of beef made up of grass-fed filet, Kobe flatiron steak, organic beef cheek and Red Angus tartare accompanied by pickled mushrooms and potatoes. It’s a “feast” for one, but could easily feed four.

Since the beginning, Larkworthy has strived to make what comes from the kitchen as impressive as the beers this local brewpub makes. In 2006, the success of his and partner Moran’s (and Prado partner Dennis Lange’s) venture prompted the opening of a second location in Alpharetta, where Larkworthy spent most of his time until Westside opened. The new location’s chef de cuisine, Phillip Rainwater, helps preside over the kitchen at what is fast becoming Atlanta’s most successful brewpub fairy tale.

The new construction is part of an enormous complex that includes Hop City Beer next door, and gourmand to-go Toscano & Sons, across the way, all more proof that Atlanta’s West Side is a haven for new real estate, even in a dark economy.

The building is what I like least about the newest sibling of this brewpub family. It’s massive and cold, with an unfinished loft look that never really turns into hip hangout for me. The high ceiling bounces noise back like a boomerang, making conversation close to impossible in the bar downstairs. The rooftop upstairs is far more hospitable to dining, and it offers a prime view of the city as the sun begins to go down.

And though Larkworthy may be stalwart in his husbandry of local sourcing, the menus at all the locations are just too busy. There is always a list of daily specials, and frankly, if these items — a daily pizza, salad, a few snacks such as wonderfully fried okra with a red pepper creamed coulis, a fish special and desserts — were all the kitchen offered, it would be enough. So much seems to spread too thin, and less would be so much more.

Larkworthy loves to use crawfish on the menu (and most often gets them from Dean Stinson, who drives up from New Orleans with farm-raised softshell crabs, crawfish, alligator and Gulf shrimp). They are the prime ingredient, tender and salty, in grilled ravioli, stacked in the center of a peppery red cream sauce and surrounded by the meat of the little critters, along with spicy andouille sausage. It’s a marvelous dish, and one that leaves the top of your mouth just this side of Hades (that’s what the beer is for). But shrimp and grits with chorizo tastes so similarly fiery, that there seems no reason for both.

The vegetable plate is what I like to get most often, since it’s ripe with offerings of seasonal goodies of grilled peaches, stacks of luscious, juicy heirloom tomatoes and green beans.

Finished with a scoop of house-made chocolate ice cream, everybody’s in business. Everyone keeps enjoying what’s best about 5 Seasons — great local beer and good local food — whether they’re hip to its creed or not.

5 Seasons Westside, 1000 Marietta Street, N.W., Atlanta, 404-875-3232

Overall rating:

Food: Locally focused brew pub

Service: A little lost at times, but generally a nice group

Price range: $$

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club

Hours of operation: Open for lunch and dinner noon until 10 p.m. Sunday, 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday – Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon until 11 p.m. Saturday

Best dishes: Grilled pizzas, grilled ravioli, vegetable plate, Kobe flatiron steak, chocolate ice cream

Vegetarian selections: Salads, vegetable plates, pizzas and sides

Children: Yes

Parking: Adjacent lot

Reservations: Yes

Wheelchair access: Yes

Smoking: Patio only

Noise level: Very high

Patio: Yes

Takeout: Yes

Web site: www.5seasonsbrewing.com

Pricing code: $$$$$ means more than $75; $$$$ means $75 and less; $$$ means $50 and less; $$ means $25 and less; $ means $15 and less. The price code represents a typical full-course meal for one excluding drinks.

Key to AJC ratings


Sets the standard for fine dining in the region.


One of the best in the Atlanta area.

Very good

Merits a drive if you're looking for this kind of dining.


A worthy addition to its neighborhood, but food may be hit and miss.


Food is more miss than hit.

Restaurants that do not meet these criteria may be rated Poor.

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