Atlanta restaurant Ration and Dram to become Dead End Drinks

Local pop-up chefs to take over the kitchen
The exterior of Ration and Dram, soon to become Dead End Drinks. / Courtesy of Caitlin Crawford

The exterior of Ration and Dram, soon to become Dead End Drinks. / Courtesy of Caitlin Crawford

When Andy Minchow and Caitlin Crawford opened Atlanta restaurant Ration and Dram in 2014, the name was meant to be a placeholder.

“We never loved the name,” Crawford said. “It’s a little on the nose.”

Seven years and a pandemic later, the couple is finally getting around to making the change. Starting Oct. 1, Ration and Dram, located at 130 Arizona Ave. NE, will become Dead End Drinks. The new name is a nod to the restaurant’s location on a dead-end street, and a bit of a brush-off to naysayers who told Crawford and Minchow they’d never survive due to the dead-end address.

The new name is just one part of Ration and Dram’s retooling. Other than weekend brunch service, the restaurant will cede its kitchen to Atlanta pop-up chefs, several of whom have made appearances at Ration and Dram with pop-ups during the past months.

“We were fortunate to survive the pandemic the way that we did, and we know that so many restaurants didn’t,” Crawford said. “We saw that there were chefs out there that didn’t have places to perform their craft, so we thought we could give people a place to do that.”

The Shallow Grave, a riff on a Manhattan, is made with Chattanooga Whiskey, Cappelletti, Bigallet China-China and Antica Formula Vermouth. It will be on the menu at Dead End Drinks. / Courtesy of Caitlin Crawford

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Diners can expect to see guest chefs during dinner service Wednesdays through Saturdays, and potentially Mondays and Tuesdays. Initially, chef Dave Mouche’s Jackalope will serve as the “resident” pop-up Thursdays through Saturdays.

The entirety of the restaurant, including the downstairs outdoor patio, will be available for seating. Service will include both the pop-up menu and Dead End Drinks beverages.

Fans of Ration and Dram’s most popular dishes needn’t fear — chicken and dumplings will continue to be sold as a takeout item, and several items from the restaurant’s pantry board, including the housemade olives, pickles and pimento cheese.

The beverage menu will become more robust, with plans to add new cocktails and wines.

Less time in the kitchen will enable Minchow and Crawford to focus on other initiatives. Crawford hopes to devote time to her own pop-up, Wake the Dead, a gluten-free baked goods venture. And the pair can pour energy into readying the restaurant for upcoming holidays, like a Harry Potter-themed pop-up in November and December, with related decor and themed drinks, and year-round Halloween decor, with a “Nightmare Before Christmas” vibe in December.

“The pandemic has taught a lot of people in the industry what they want to do or what they don’t want to do anymore,” Crawford said. “We figured now is probably a good time to start making changes.”

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