Iron Hill chain brings beer, upscale bar food to metro Atlanta

Iron Hill offers a fried chicken sandwich with bread and butter pickles and sriracha ranch dressing on a potato bun, plus sweet potato fries. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Iron Hill offers a fried chicken sandwich with bread and butter pickles and sriracha ranch dressing on a potato bun, plus sweet potato fries. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant was founded by a duo of basement home brewers, Mark Edelson and Kevin Finn, who partnered with restaurateur Kevin Davies to open their first location in Newark, Delaware, in 1996.

Since then, Iron Hill has expanded, with 19 locations as of 2020, including Greenville, South Carolina, and a new, large-scale production brewery in Exton, Pennsylvania.

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Iron Hill serves tortellini carbonara with roasted red peppers, peas, bacon, pecorino Romano and garlic cream sauce. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Iron Hill serves tortellini carbonara with roasted red peppers, peas, bacon, pecorino Romano and garlic cream sauce. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

On Dec. 15, the company opened the first metro Atlanta Iron Hill on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, with a second set to open soon on Hammond Drive in Perimeter Center.

For beer drinkers, the appeal of Iron Hill is the string of awards it has won at competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival, going back to 1996, when Lodestone Lager was awarded its first gold medal.

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Iron Hill's Garcia pizza comes with roasted mushrooms, garlic oil, caramelized onions, mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheese. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Iron Hill's Garcia pizza comes with roasted mushrooms, garlic oil, caramelized onions, mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheese. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

But, the company takes pride in its food, too, boasting that “every dressing, every stock, every sauce is made from scratch, every day.”

Favorites include Philly cheesesteak egg rolls; a fried chicken sandwich that is better than Chick-fil-A; a variety of big burgers; pleasingly fluffy, hearth-baked pizzas; and surprisingly generous entrees, including steaks and baby back ribs, under $20.

Buckhead location General Manager Carrie Kraus joined the company in early 2020. A graduate of the hospitality management program at Penn State, Kraus worked at Cheesecake Factory and Marlowe’s Tavern before Iron Hill.

“I was excited by the scratch kitchen, and the success of the brewery,” she said. “The fact that they had two A-site locations, here in Buckhead and at Perimeter, really drew me in.”

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At Iron Hill, you can get Philly cheesesteak egg rolls with fried onions, American cheese, ketchup and horseradish sauce. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
At Iron Hill, you can get Philly cheesesteak egg rolls with fried onions, American cheese, ketchup and horseradish sauce. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

Asked about the menu, Kraus called it “upscale bar food.”

“But, we do it really well,” she said. “We have the highest quality ingredients, and we want it to compare to the quality of the beer, which is already so successful.”

Because most Iron Hill restaurants are concentrated in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, creating brand awareness in Atlanta has been a bit of a challenge, Krause noted.

“We have to get the word out,” she said. “But, the good news is, everyone who’s come in the door loves the food, and they love the beer, and they’re impressed with the quality for the price point here in Buckhead. We already have a lot of regulars and repeat guests.”

Another selling point is the King of the Hill rewards program. For a one-time fee of $15, members get perks for life, including one point for every $1 spent on food purchases, special mugs and beer specials, and invitations to exclusive events.

“You get 150 points for joining,” Kraus said, “so if you come back even once, it’s a no-brainer.”

However, what she thinks really will change things for the restaurant is better weather.

“The people within walking distance know we’re here, and they’re spreading the word,” Kraus said. “The patio season is what we’re waiting on, really. One day, when it was almost 70 degrees, we went on our first wait. Everybody driving down Peachtree saw the full patio, and wanted to be there. March will be about the 90-day mark for us, and I think that will be the turning point.”

IRON HILL BREWERY & RESTAURANT

Menu: classic American fare

Alcohol: beer, wine, cocktails; canned beer to go

What I ordered: Philly cheesesteak egg rolls with fried onions, American cheese, ketchup and horseradish sauce; fried chicken sandwich with bread and butter pickles and Sriracha ranch dressing on a potato bun, plus sweet potato fries; Garcia pizza with roasted mushrooms, garlic oil, caramelized onions, mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheese; tortellini carbonara with roasted red peppers, peas, bacon, pecorino Romano and garlic cream sauce. “Upscale bar food” is an excellent description of the dishes I tried, and the way the food is packaged for takeout.

Service options: indoor; outdoor; takeout; curbside; delivery via GrubHub or Door Dash; call or go online for takeout or delivery

Outdoor dining: large patio with two levels, directly across from Phipps Plaza

Mask policy: employees wear masks; customers must wear masks when not seated; masks will be provided, if needed

Address, phone: 3535 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta; 470-225-6683

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays

Website: ironhillbrewery.com/buckhead-ga

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