Atlanta Orders In: Newly-opened Poach Social aims to reflect diversity of Summerhill

A takeout breakfast from Poach Social in Summerhill includes s sausage and egg sandwich with potatoes and a breakfast burrito with fruit. In the center is the One Love, a spicy, house-made sorrel drink. 
Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
A takeout breakfast from Poach Social in Summerhill includes s sausage and egg sandwich with potatoes and a breakfast burrito with fruit. In the center is the One Love, a spicy, house-made sorrel drink. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

When Brian Mitchell and Ronnie Marrow moved to Atlanta in 2016, they sensed a need for restaurants in their Summerhill neighborhood. As they watched the transformation of the area around Turner Field, they wanted to be part of the change.

It was only a matter of finding the right spot.

Almost two years in the making, Poach Social — a breakfast and lunch restaurant next to Talat Market on Ormond Avenue — opened June 9 for takeout and patio dining. It’s the partners’ idea of what a modern, all-day brunch spot in a vibrant downtown neighborhood should look like.

With an eclectic menu, featuring classics such as eggs Benedict and French toast, Southern staples like biscuits and gravy and shrimp and grits, plus a few nods to Mitchell’s Jamaican heritage, Poach Social seeks to be a community gathering place that reflects the diversity of the neighborhood.

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Poach Social serves a nice fried chicken sandwich, shown here with a side of potato medallions.
Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
Poach Social serves a nice fried chicken sandwich, shown here with a side of potato medallions. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

There are plenty of breakfast choices nearby (Ria’s Bluebird, Homegrown, Petite Chou, First Watch), but Mitchell felt the options were somewhat limited south of Memorial Drive.

“We wanted to kind of tread the line of providing something different, but also understanding that sometimes we just want a regular breakfast,” he said of chef Peter Holness’ menu.

Sure, you will find avocado toast, a breakfast burrito, or a sandwich with smoked salmon, cream cheese and all the accouterments. But, you also can have an omelette, or a simple plate of eggs, bacon or sausage, and grits or home fries.

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Ronnie Marrow is one of the owners of Poach Social in Summerhill. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
Ronnie Marrow is one of the owners of Poach Social in Summerhill. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

That’s the “morning mood” side of the menu. The “midday mood” section includes a fried chicken sandwich with slaw, pickles and remoulade on a brioche bun; a farro and quinoa salad with arugula, watermelon and fried goat’s cheese; and fried chicken on brioche toast with blueberry compote and rum sauce.

Though Mitchell, 36, grew up in a family of restaurant owners in Hollywood, Florida, and has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting from Wayne State University in Detroit, opening his first restaurant in the middle of a pandemic was a struggle.

“We went through a lot of challenges, which severely delayed us,” he said. “It was a very, very tumultuous process.” The partners ended up doing a good bit of the carpentry and painting themselves.

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This watermelon and fried goat cheese salad is from the “midday mood” side of the menu of Poach Social, which recently opened in Summerhill. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
This watermelon and fried goat cheese salad is from the “midday mood” side of the menu of Poach Social, which recently opened in Summerhill. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Now that they’re out of the gate, they want to bring the kitchen up to speed, and hire and train a staff, before offering dining-room service. Poach Social does have outdoor seating on its shared patio with Talat, which works out well, since Talat serves only dinner.

I’ve dropped by twice for takeout and found the cooking to be pleasingly simple and solid, with fresh ingredients and nice packaging.

In a city where fried chicken sandwiches seem to be a food group, Poach Social’s version is impressive. I liked the side of thinly sliced potato medallions, but I might have been happier with French fries. That watermelon and goat cheese salad was lovely, but it could have used a bit more flavor. (Was the dressing left out by mistake?) The balls of batter-fried goat cheese were a clever touch, and thoughtfully packaged in a separate container, to keep the salad from wilting.

A breakfast burrito — stuffed with scrambled eggs, chunks of sausage, peppers and onions, and wrapped in a tomato-basil tortilla — was tasty enough, but not mind-blowing. Maybe a side of the garlic green sauce would add zip.

My friend raved about his chipotle smoked sausage and egg sandwich, with chipotle aioli, arugula, tomato and pickled red onions. He joked about how far the humble scrambled egg sandwich has come from the days of white bread and mayo.

Evoking nostalgia, but with a mood of contemporaneity, Poach Social seems ideally suited for its home in a repurposed neighborhood grocery story dating back to 1967.

Is there a restaurant you want to see featured? Send your suggestions to ligaya.figueras@ajc.com.

“Food and mood” is the mantra of the newly opened Poach Social in Summerhill, now open for takeout and patio dining. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
“Food and mood” is the mantra of the newly opened Poach Social in Summerhill, now open for takeout and patio dining. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

POACH SOCIAL

Menu: breakfast and lunch

Alcohol: not yet; working on securing an alcohol license

What I ordered: fried chicken sandwich, watermelon and goat cheese salad, breakfast burrito, chipotle smoked sausage and egg sandwich, One Love (sorrel drink). Everything was solid and well made — a promising start for these first-time restaurant owners.

Service options: patio dining, takeout, and delivery via ChowNow, Ubereats and DoorDash

Outdoor dining: yes

Mask policy: “We are encouraging people to wear masks,” co-owner Brian Mitchell said. Once table service begins, the staff will don masks.

Address, phone: 112 Ormond St. SE, Atlanta; 678-974-7324

Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays

Website: poachsocial.com

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