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AJC staff share their favorite comfort foods

Everyone needs a little comfort food after a hard day. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s reporters are no different; here are a few of the dishes that give them a warm, fuzzy feeling.


AJC staff picks

Mike Luckovich

Editorial cartoonist

Mike Luckovich on the demi canard rôti à la Parisienne from La Petite Maison: “We know the owner and all the various wait staff, and we’ve been going there for many, many years. It’s just a great place, and you can sit out on their porch. ... They really know their wines, and they can always find a good bottle of wine for you.”

Maureen Downey

Education columnist

Maureen Downey on the dirty rebel from Rebel Teahouse: “The dirty rebel takes it well beyond a tea drink; it’s really sort of a dessert in a cup, and it’s something I can’t get anywhere else, and it’s all my favorite flavors. It’s got a brown sugar syrup. It’s got that cheese foam, which is really just kind of an icing made with cream cheese. They use a torching, as if it were a creme brulee.”

Leroy Chapman Jr.


Leroy Chapman Jr. on the fried shrimp platter from the Red Crawfish: “As a man of a certain age, this mountain of fried food is verboten. So, when I am looking for food comfort, this is a dependable treat. It is perfectly fried shrimp, a pile of crinkle cut fries and hush puppies. It reminds me of the Calabash I grew up with in South Carolina. When I eat it, I am 19 again.”

Orlando Ledbetter

Atlanta Falcons reporter

Orlando Ledbetter on the lemon pepper wings from Varners Restaurant & Tavern: “The atmosphere, it’s real kind of towny-ish, and a lot of people there know each other. (The wings are) seasoned properly, and that’s a big part with lemon pepper wings. You want to be able to taste the lemon pepper, and they certainly deliver in that regard.”

Andrew Morse

President and publisher

Andrew Morse on the doughnuts from Miller Union: “I have literally tried everything on the menu and can’t call out one specific entree, because I love them all, but the single biggest draw for me there, every single time, is the doughnuts for dessert. It’s the ultimate comfort food.”

Nedra Rhone

Lifestyle columnist

Nedra Rhone on the Thai seasoned catfish from Oreatha’s at the Point: “It’s a whole catfish and it’s really nicely curled around the plate, and it’s on a bed of grits, and it’s so yummy. I have taken all my friends there, every time they want to go out, if they haven’t been there, and everyone always loves it. The menu is broad enough that it can meet a lot of different tastes, but it still has that comfort food, soul food sort of thing.”

Bill Torpy

Metro columnist

Bill Torpy on the Fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and green beans from the Colonnade: “They just have good mixed drinks, a great bartender who cranks it out and the food is Southern comfort food. It’s been there forever, it’s kind of like one of those places that remind you of Atlanta from 45 years ago or something.”

Rodney Ho

Entertainment reporter

Rodney Ho on the beef noodle soup from Xi’an Gourmet House: “It’s something that I grew up with. As a child, my mom would make it sometimes, even my dad could make a decent beef noodle soup, so it just brings back childhood memories. It’s warm, it’s got beef in it, it’s got noodles in it, it’s got vegetables in it. It’s very satisfying and it fills you up.”

Jennifer Peebles

Data specialist

Jennifer Peebles on the macaroni and cheese from Mary Mac’s Tea Room: “Mary Mac’s Tea Room is probably the ground zero of good macaroni and cheese in these parts. ... Butteriness is good — not being thin and runny. You like the gooey viscous material to be gooey and viscous. The stuff that isn’t the macaroni, you want it to have a little bit of heft, and not just be thin.”

Sarah K. Spencer

Digital sports reporter

Sarah K. Spencer on the Sicilian slice of spinach and mushroom pizza from Fellini’s: “It’s open late, so sometimes I can grab it later at night, after work. I love a lot of cheese and garlic, and I like mushrooms and spinach more than the sauce.”

Tyson Horne

Video journalist

Tyson Horne on the sauerbraten from the Village Corner Restaurant, Tavern and Bakery: “My grandmother is German and she would make dishes like that, so, for me, comfort food always is either German food or soul food, because of my grandmothers. My one grandmother is Black and one grandmother is German.”

Ryon Horne

Video journalist

Ryon Horne on the Georgia peach chicken and waffles from Atlanta Breakfast Club Chicken and Waffles & Nitro Coffee Counter: “I just like the fact that I can eat breakfast at a Black-owned company on Auburn Avenue that is across the street from well-known Atlanta landmarks. It just feels like a safe space to chill and eat what I love. And chicken and waffles, I mean, you can’t go wrong with that. It’s as Southern cliche as you can get.”

Ernie Suggs

Co-curator of Unapologetically ATL

Ernie Suggs on the jerk chicken from Eats: “I always get the same thing every time I go. I always get the jerk chicken, I get the broccoli casserole and I get the black-eyed peas. And that right there, it’s just one of the first restaurants I went to [in Atlanta], and I’m always going back whenever I’m in the city.”

Greg Bluestein

Political reporter

Greg Bluestein on kids meal from Super Chix: “Believe it or not, I don’t have a huge appetite. I’m not a huge foodie at all, but what I really like there is, I get the kids meal, because it has just enough food if I just want to snack. ... It is a good go-to spot for me when I’m craving something.”

Bill Nigut

“Politically Georgia” co-host

Bill Nigut on the french fries and wine from Anis Cafe & Bistro: “When [my wife and I] want to really relax and feel grounded and happy, we go sit at the patio at Anis and we order french fries — pommes frites — and a glass of wine. We’ve been doing that since our daughter, Emma, was in school down the street at the Atlanta International School. It’s just had a lot of really wonderful memories for us.”


More from the AJC Fall 2023 Dining Guide:

The need for comfort food is universal, but each person’s preference is unique. So, we asked a slew of local chefs, folks from the AJC’s newsroom and even famous Atlantans to share the restaurant dish they’ve come to rely on when they want to feel good. Award-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich even drew a picture to go with his pick.


50 Atlanta comfort foods

Celebrity picks

Chef favorites

Map: Find a restaurant near you