Take a food tour of Stone Mountain Village

New businesses in historic Stone Mountain Village are part of a revitalization in the community. Pictured is the intersection of Mountain and Main streets. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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New businesses in historic Stone Mountain Village are part of a revitalization in the community. Pictured is the intersection of Mountain and Main streets. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

New dining and drinking establishments inject new flavors into storied community

Standing on the corner of Mountain and Main streets, you would never know you were minutes away from Georgia’s most visited attraction. Stone Mountain, the world’s largest piece of exposed granite, looms literally and figuratively over this charming commercial corridor. In the evening, Stone Mountain Village becomes a lively place to eat and drink, with new gathering spaces adding flavor to the historic downtown.

Main Street looks much the same as it did in photos from 100 years ago, with businesses nestled next to train tracks that were once twisted useless as Gen. Sherman marched toward the sea. He burned bridges and tunnels but had to heat and bend the track to render it useless. Left unscathed was the mayor’s house, built by those he enslaved in the 1830s. When you visit today, you can see the stone marker in front, indicating the geographic center from where the city’s circumference was marked. You can sit on the wraparound porch next to a centuries-old sycamore tree that has witnessed a lot of change.

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At Gilly in Stone Mountain Village, you'll find a menu that is as much storytelling as it is seasonal libations. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

At Gilly in Stone Mountain Village, you'll find a menu that is as much storytelling as it is seasonal libations. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
At Gilly in Stone Mountain Village, you'll find a menu that is as much storytelling as it is seasonal libations. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

The oldest standing structure is home to Gilly (5329 Mimosa Drive, 770-557-1614, gillybrewbar.com), a Black-owned barista parlor situated to build bridges between a rich blend of community, bringing economic vitality and energy to the village. Start a visit here. You could place your standard pour-over or cortado order — they do these quite well — but don’t miss out on their elixirs. Every three months, co-owner/founder Daniel Brown releases a menu that is as much storytelling as it is seasonal libations. The storyline for fall revolves around the tortoise and the hare and maybe some provoking election thoughts. At press time, they were sourcing foraged ingredients such as pine needle tips. They will tell their fall story by way of unconventional spices, flowers, tinctures, mushrooms, teas, and coffee — stirred or shaken — in a glass.

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A Finish Line Coffee Elixir (seasonal) from Gilly in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

A Finish Line Coffee Elixir (seasonal) from Gilly in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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A Finish Line Coffee Elixir (seasonal) from Gilly in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Sit on either level of the porch with a glass of their Sorrel, made with hibiscus tea, allspice, nutmeg, lemon, lime, and the zesty bite of ginger beer. It’s as refreshing as this space collectively described as “not a coffee shop,” but more of an incubator for artists, baristas, poets and musicians. In the coming months, Brown will open a restaurant in the unused downstairs space that once housed the popular Sycamore Grille, named for the magnificent tree.

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Stoned Pizza Kitchen's pasta offerings include lasagna. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Stoned Pizza Kitchen's pasta offerings include lasagna. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Stoned Pizza Kitchen's pasta offerings include lasagna. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

The corner of Mountain and Main is quite dynamic and emblematic of the revitalization going on here. Stoned Pizza Kitchen (965 Main St., 404-400-0888, stonedpizzakitchen.com) is named for the mountain, the stone ovens used to bake their hand-tossed pizzas, and as owner Bouavanh Brown noted, “It makes you really happy.” It’s an all-American style pizzeria serving pizzas, wings, pasta, salads, with a full bar and good vibes. A hefty bowl of lasagna was pure comfort with layers of noodles, ricotta, punchy tomato sauce and Italian sausage. Atlanta is a lemon pepper town, but don’t sleep on salt and vinegar wings fried crisp. Ever wonder about the difference between a calzone and stromboli? Both are baked here, with your choice of toppings.

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Stoned Pizza Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village is an all-American style pizzeria with a full bar. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Stoned Pizza Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village is an all-American style pizzeria with a full bar. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Stoned Pizza Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village is an all-American style pizzeria with a full bar. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Want to talk about books and grab a glass of wine? The Vibrary (970 Main St., 770-680-0672, thevibrary.co) is the brainchild of Candace Walker. Focusing on organic wine, she created a posh gathering space for book clubs, book signings or just a place to sip on a glass of pinot noir with bites of charcuterie. The Hardback includes two cured meats, cheeses, veggies, spreads and crackers, while its vegan partner, The Paperback, has mushrooms and vegan bacon.

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Bar and seating area at the Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village. In addition to separating the private dining area from the main, the large wooden sliding door (left) was repurposed from a South Georgia stable and has the names of past horses still marked on it. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Bar and seating area at the Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village. In addition to separating the private dining area from the main, the large wooden sliding door (left) was repurposed from a South Georgia stable and has the names of past horses still marked on it. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Bar and seating area at the Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village. In addition to separating the private dining area from the main, the large wooden sliding door (left) was repurposed from a South Georgia stable and has the names of past horses still marked on it. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

The Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen (975 Main St., 470-268-7858, cherokeerosebbqbar.com) building dates to 1895, but everything from the interior to the food feels like modern Southern. Butter beans come in flavorful hummus form. The menu may read “meat and two,” but that includes seared tuna with a bright poblano lemon cream sauce and flaky rainbow trout with crisp skin under pecan brown butter. You don’t often see a Flintstone-sized pork belly rib on a menu, but you’ll find it here, imbued with smoke and glazed with tangy-sweet plum sauce. As for sides, creamed turnip greens and Burgundy cremini mushrooms feel at once homey and decadent. The full bar serves Georgia-made base spirits. The Midnite Train is a balanced blend of R M Rose bourbon, Zucca amaro and Benedictine that is Stone Mountain’s riff on a Manhattan. It’s dark and boozy with lingering spice.

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Reasons to dine at the Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village include (clockwise from left) Carolina Cut Trout with Broccolini and Charred Lemon, the Midnite Train (cocktail), Pork Belly Rib with Creamed Turnips, and Charred BBQ (marinated and smoked) Chicken with potatoes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Reasons to dine at the Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village include (clockwise from left) Carolina Cut Trout with Broccolini and Charred Lemon, the Midnite Train (cocktail), Pork Belly Rib with Creamed Turnips, and Charred BBQ (marinated and smoked) Chicken with potatoes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Reasons to dine at the Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen in Stone Mountain Village include (clockwise from left) Carolina Cut Trout with Broccolini and Charred Lemon, the Midnite Train (cocktail), Pork Belly Rib with Creamed Turnips, and Charred BBQ (marinated and smoked) Chicken with potatoes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Walk around the corner to Outrun Brewing Co. (5368 E. Mountain St., 770-696-5246, outrunbrewingco.com). With splashes of neon and situated in a former Pure gas station, it conjures both its video game namesake and a certain “Miami Vice” je ne sais quoi. The small brewhouse with adjoining taproom serves a rotation of small-batch beers from Josh Miller and Ryan Silva, former Three Taverns brewers. It’s a fun environment for people who like beer and hanging out under a grand magnolia tree. Sit back and order a C64, a crushable, malty IPA with piney citrus notes and a name nod to those magnificent computers of the ‘80s.

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Patrons enjoy a cool late Sunday afternoon recently at Outrun Brewing Co. in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Patrons enjoy a cool late Sunday afternoon recently at Outrun Brewing Co. in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Patrons enjoy a cool late Sunday afternoon recently at Outrun Brewing Co. in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Pi-Bytes (937 Main St., 404-247-1895, pi-bytes.com) was built around firefighter Darrell Sprattling’s small, gourmet pies the size of a cupcake. Flavors change daily. Once he mastered sweet potato souffle in small form, he turned his attention to his pizza oven. Get those pies or a slice with a couple of toppings from the lengthy list.

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A shopkeeper sets out chairs for patrons at Stone Mountain Public House along Main Street in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

A shopkeeper sets out chairs for patrons at Stone Mountain Public House along Main Street in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
A shopkeeper sets out chairs for patrons at Stone Mountain Public House along Main Street in Stone Mountain Village. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

If you are into cigars, end an evening at Stone Mountain Public House (947 Main St., 678-439-5292, stonemountainpublichouse.com) with cocktails, piano tunes and elevated pub grub. Regulars love their meatloaf biscuits and chicken and dumplings.

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