Review: Holeman and Finch brings familiar menu to fresh digs

The burger remains a major draw at Holeman and Finch. Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Credit: Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Credit: Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

The burger remains a major draw at Holeman and Finch. Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

When the Southern gastropub Holeman and Finch debuted in 2008 in Buckhead, it garnered rave reviews.

“Linton Hopkins, the chef-owner of Buckhead’s bastion of Southern cuisine, Restaurant Eugene, has decided to capitalize on two things he is very, very good at: creating and riding a trend until it becomes a way of eating (his fresh take on Southern cuisine garnered him a 2008 Beard nomination) and making everything from scratch,” former Atlanta Journal-Constitution dining critic Meridith Ford wrote.

Some 15 years later, Hopkins still is dishing up rich, meaty small plates and making everything from scratch at the current location in Midtown.

Not much about the Holeman and Finch menu has changed in 15 years. Courtesy of Holeman and Finch

Credit: Courtesy of Holeman & Finch

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Credit: Courtesy of Holeman & Finch

H&F’s double cheeseburger is the same as ever. The pickles, butter-toasted brioche bun, ketchup — everything but the Kraft American cheese slice — all are made in-house, servers will remind you. That griddled cheeseburger is so good that Hopkins used it as the foundation for H&F Burger, launched in 2015.

Holeman and Finch remains a house of meat, where you can build your own charcuterie board of house-made coppa, lardo and guanciale, or fill up on “parts,” such as iron-skillet fried chicken livers with a country ham gastrique — a delicious duo — ladled over spoonbread puree.

The restaurant also remains what Hopkins calls a “study in fat,” as in the rich pasta dish carbonara alla chitarra, or red snapper fillets drenched in brown butter lemon sauce. And, it persists as a place to eat “things that go with bread” — starting with the complementary plate of warm, airy parkerhouse rolls to swipe with local Banner butter.

Sourcing continues to be a priority, too. Name another local independent hospitality group that employs a farm liaison, the role that Joann Yan handles for all five Hopkins and Co., restaurants.

Considering Hopkins’ commitment to supporting local and regional growers, it came as a surprise that, on multiple visits, servers couldn’t name the purveyors when asked.

It was one of numerous areas where service was lackluster. Water glasses got filled after a round of cocktails arrived, and only because we asked for it. Shared dishes comprise most of the menu, yet only on one occasion was serving ware provided. Only once in three visits did a server mention that the restaurant validates parking for up to 2.5 hours — a mistake that will cost you $30.

The interior of Holeman and Finch creates the warm, inviting ambience of a public house. Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Credit: Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

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Credit: Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Despite such snafus, the service staff is friendly and warm, and the low-ceilinged, wood-accented space helps to create the inviting ambience of a public house. The 3,600-square-foot, 100-seat restaurant is nearly double the previous footprint, yet a zig-zag design — a dining room in front, bar in back, and booths lining the walls in both rooms — creates intimate nooks and crannies.

One of the best ways to get comfy at the old Holeman and Finch was with a cocktail. Those were the days when H&F’s cocktails attracted even the late-night restaurant industry crowd. Today, there are only a handful of cocktails on the menu. Surprisingly, the most balanced of the bunch was the zero-proof gesso, with its gorgeous frothy cap and lingering flavors of lemon grass and ginger.

However, you’ll find a quality selection of craft beers and an explorable, affordable list of wines.

When I think about some of the delightful gems on the food menu, they weren’t from the House of Heavy — they were something as simple as an assortment of shiitake and oyster mushrooms, reverently roasted, their juices coaxed further from a hit of chicken broth, then topped sometimes (and sometimes not) with crispy slivers of sunchokes.

A radicchio salad is one of the recommended menu offerings at Holeman and Finch. Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Credit: Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

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Credit: Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Another delight came in the form of crunchy, bitter, red-and-white striped radicchio with slivers of Romano cheese dressed in a snappy, citrus vinaigrette and sometimes studded with spiced pecans (sometimes not). Another favorite was a shrimp and avocado salad with a dressing reminiscent of thin Thousand Island, and a touch of peppery heat.

The most delightful dish of all was a lunchtime cup of tomato soup, thick and bright with San Marzano tomatoes and paired with a grilled cheese sandwich reimagined as a crisp, savory waffle. It was a welcome new dish on a menu that includes so many old friends.

Holeman and Finch 2.0 will please diners who like things to stay the same. However, that playful tomato soup and cheese waffle are a reminder that evolution is a good thing.


2 of 4 stars (very good)

Food: Southern gastropub

Service: inconsistent

Recommended dishes: oysters on the half shell, fried Gulf oysters and pickles, San Marzano tomato soup, Gulf white shrimp and avocado salad, radicchio salad, iron skillet chicken livers, johnnycake, cheeseburger, roasted Ellijay mushrooms

Vegetarian dishes: pimento cheese, radicchio salad, lettuce and herb salad, San Marzano tomato soup, avocado vinaigrette, toasted English cheddar and leeks sandwich, Welsh rabbit (aka rarebit), big fat grits, baby carrots

Alcohol: full bar

Price range: $$$-$$$$

Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Thursdays, 11 am.-1 a.m. Fridays, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays

Parking: underground lot; first 2.5 hours free with validated ticket

MARTA station: Arts Center

Reservations: yes

Outdoor dining: two covered patios

Takeout: not recommended

Address, phone: Colony Square, 1201 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-948-1175


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