One Fine Meal: From snacks to dinner, the Buttery offers memorable takeout

On Monday nights, the Buttery offers Executive Chef James Wyatt’s vegetable plate for two for $40. The cloverleaf Parker House rolls are exceptional. Wendell Brock for The AJC
On Monday nights, the Buttery offers Executive Chef James Wyatt’s vegetable plate for two for $40. The cloverleaf Parker House rolls are exceptional. Wendell Brock for The AJC

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

The first thing I do when I get home with my takeout from the Buttery is pour a glass of prosecco and light the oven. I’ve taken a couple of bites of the vegetable plate, and I know it will be better to warm it alongside one of the Buttery’s poufy, cloverleaf Parker House rolls.

This is not a criticism. In fact, the pause gives me time to contemplate the beginning of an extraordinary meal that harks back to the heyday of the late great Restaurant Eugene (2004-2019), where chef Linton Hopkins and his team treated seasonal produce with artistry and flair.

Linton Hopkins' vegetable plate at the Buttery recalls the glory days of his now-shuttered Restaurant Eugene. Wendell Brock for The AJC
Linton Hopkins' vegetable plate at the Buttery recalls the glory days of his now-shuttered Restaurant Eugene. Wendell Brock for The AJC

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

On Monday nights, Eugene’s signature vegetable plate is being reprised as the dinner offering at the Buttery ATL, a charming grab-and-go market nestled between Piedmont and Cheshire Bridge roads. Curated with style and panache by Hopkins and his wife, Gina, the Buttery feels a bit like a teacup-size Star Provisions. Open for online orders since August, it’s a delightful depot of bread and pastry, cheese and cured meat, jam and marmalade, and hot and cold food that may be bought online, or in person.

Perhaps you need spiced pecans and cheese straws for cocktails, a Caesar salad or muffuletta for lunch. Maybe you want to feed the family, or stage an intimate, candlelit dinner at home. The Buttery can set you up with everything but the booze, and, if you live within a 4-mile radius, a driver will bring the goods to your front door. (Hot meals are pickup-only.)

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The Buttery ATL has a serious pastry program; the lemon chess pie is a lovely combination of crumble and goo. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Buttery ATL has a serious pastry program; the lemon chess pie is a lovely combination of crumble and goo. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

I haven’t even reheated my veggie plate, and already I’m eyeing the fried chicken with macaroni and cheese and coleslaw (Thursdays) and the North Carolina trout with dandelion and bacon, creamed field peas and spicy sour cream cheese biscuits (Fridays). If you feel like aproning up, you can opt for a pizza kit (with dough, marinara sauce, basil, olive oil and house-made mozzarella) or make your own H&F double stack (ready-to-cook patties and all the fixings).

It’s almost time for me to pluck the Buttery’s Celebration of Vegetables from the oven. But, first, the salad: It doesn’t seem right to fork such pristine greens from a mundane plastic container — not when they are pink-mottled Salanova lettuce, pretty as a Rembrandt tulip, and delicately arranged with slivers of fried shallot, thinly sliced radishes and dehydrated shiitake chips, more magical than bacon. I find an actual dish, drizzle this beauty with the honey-lemon dressing, and admire how it presages spring in the dead of winter. It’s delicious, too.

The Buttery is a swell spot for picking up cocktail snacks, lunch or picnic fixings — such as chicken salad, cheese straws, buttermilk crackers, a Caesar with chicken, and a deviled egg kit. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Buttery is a swell spot for picking up cocktail snacks, lunch or picnic fixings — such as chicken salad, cheese straws, buttermilk crackers, a Caesar with chicken, and a deviled egg kit. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

As for the veggies, Hopkins knows how to play with texture, color, technique. This is clear in everything, from the sweetly whipped butternut squash with sorghum and sumac to the hoppin’ John with Sea Island red peas, to the cabbage and cornmeal fritters dabbed with red remoulade. I could pop those cruciferous hush puppies like fries. (I confess, I snatched one from the second plate that comes with this $40 dinner for two. So much for saving!) Also in the mix were braised hakurei turnips, roasted hen-of-the-woods and braised radicchio with white wine and herbs. The gentle bitterness of the turnips balanced the sweetness of radicchio and butternut. I immediately texted a friend whose vegetarian wife has a birthday in March. The Buttery, you see, is special occasion-worthy.

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The Buttery's charcuterie and cheese department is full of wonderful things to nosh; it’s worth noting that the kitchen makes country-ham biscuits to go. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Buttery's charcuterie and cheese department is full of wonderful things to nosh; it’s worth noting that the kitchen makes country-ham biscuits to go. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Which brings me to the sweets. Hopkins & Co. (C. Ellet’s, Hop’s Chicken, H&F Burger) employs a nationally regarded pastry chef, Jen Yee. Though I enjoyed the lemon chess pie, it was the Parker House rolls that sent me over the moon. And, if you can escape the Buttery without a chocolate-chunk cookie or almond croissant, I admire your will power.

I claim no such restraint.

The Buttery’s eye-popping dessert and pastry case is the first thing you see when you open the door. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Buttery’s eye-popping dessert and pastry case is the first thing you see when you open the door. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

THE BUTTERY ATL

Menu: chef-driven market, with hot and cold food to go

Alcohol: no

Recommended dishes: Monday-night vegetable plate for two; lemon chess pie; cheese straws; chicken salad; deviled egg kit; buttermilk crackers

Price range: hot takeout meals for two, $30-$50

Service options: takeout only; order online, over the phone or in person; in-house delivery available ($30 minimum); hot meals for two must be ordered 48 hours in advance and fetched in person, 5-7 p.m.

Outdoor dining: in the works

Experience: pretty seamless, with a couple of minor caveats: The e-commerce system can be a bit quirky. I ordered some Sunday snacks; apparently, because one item was unavailable, the system wanted to schedule pickup for Tuesday. A quick call to the store resolved the problem. Also, the system may say you can pick up your hot meal at 4:30, but it’s likely to come out closer to 5.

Address, phone: 2137 Manchester St. NE, Atlanta; 678-235-2654

Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

Website: butteryatl.com

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