Intown at 20: Yelp’s list of Intown’s dining institutions

Fried chicken and sides at The Colonnade (Photo by Yelp user Jackie P)
Fried chicken and sides at The Colonnade (Photo by Yelp user Jackie P)

By Benjamin Getz
Yelp Atlanta Community Manager

Twenty years.

That’s quite a milestone for any restaurant, but Atlanta’s rich history of Southern culture and love of food means there are some eateries that have endured for decades.

In celebration of Atlanta INtown’s big 2-0, we’ve brought you a list of 20 institutions with 20-plus years in the biz – replete with Yelper-approved items you won’t want to miss.

The first five on the list defined the way Atlantans were eating before the 1950s had even rolled around. These historical, and now famous, spots could grace the front of any postcard as they all say “Atlanta,” in their own way. Hats off to these oldies but goodies. Don’t see your favorite eating institution on the list? Be sure to add it in the comments and tell us your favorite dish!

Dogs, rings and an FO at The Varsity (Photo by Yelp user Ming-Jou C)
Dogs, rings and an FO at The Varsity (Photo by Yelp user Ming-Jou C)

The Colonnade (1927)
1879 Cheshire Bridge Road – Morningside/Lenox Park
The obvious choice here is fried chicken. They run a tight, southern ship with all the fixin’s and no ifs, ands, or buts – it’s cash only, friends.  

The Varsity (1928)
61 North Ave. – Downtown
“What’ll Ya Have?” Well, if you say anything that doesn’t include a chili dog, a Frosted Orange, a fried peach pie, and a neatly creased paper hat, you’re doing it all wrong.

Busy Bee (1947)
810 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive – Downtown
Busy Bee’s motto says it all – “Prepared with Love, Seasoned with Soul.” Yelpers go nuts for their candied yams. Get some. 

George’s Restaurant & Bar (1961)
1041 N Highland Ave NE – Virginia-Highland
George’s has been poppin’ patties since the early ‘60s and will probably be doing so well into the 2060s. Make note of the Jalapeño Dijon Burger – it’s worth the burn. 

The Silver Skillet (1956)
200 14th St. – Midtown
Not just a breakfast spot reserved for Tech students. You’ll take step back into the ‘50s as you take a seat at the counter for a good ol’ fashioned breakfast.

Manuel’s Tavern (1956)
602 N. Highland Ave. – Poncey-Highland
Everyone’s favorite neighborhood bar. You can’t miss this Poncey centerpiece – One of the coolest, old-timey murals in the city.

The Majestic (Photo from Yelp user Ivan S)
The Majestic (Photo from Yelp user Ivan S)

The Majestic Diner (1929)
1031 Ponce De Leon Ave. – Poncey-Highland
Open 364 days a year at 24-hour increments is the name of the game at Majestic. Those neon lights will lure you in like a moth to flame. At least there are hash browns afterward.

Pittypat’s Porch (1967)
25 Andrew Young International Blvd. – Downtown
Make like Scarlett O’Hara and sip on a mint julep as you soak up with this must-visit on many a tourist’s radar. Make ready your favorite lines from Gone With the Wind.

Polaris (1967)
265 Peachtree St. – Downtown
It closed down for a few years, but now it’s back and better than ever. The only thing more fun than a dinner date under the blue dome with views of Downtown is the ridiculously fun elevator ride to the top.

McKinnon’s Lousiane Restaurant (1972)
3209 Maple Drive – Buckhead
Louisiana cuisine reigns supreme at McKinnon’s – Gumbo, Bouillabaisse, and fish prepared any way you like. The owner, Aziz, is a great guy. Make sure you give him a good, Southern handshake.

The Sun Dial (1976)
210 Peachtree St. – Downtown
Let’s be honest: dinner on the 72nd floor is going to be awesome. Every. Single. Time.

Petite Auberge (1974)
2935 N. Druid Hills Road – North Druid Hills
Holding down French cuisine in the ATL for over 30 years with timeless favorites like Beef Wellington and Coq Au Vin.

Southern goodness from Mary Mac's (Photo from Yelp user Elizabeth L)
Southern goodness from Mary Mac’s (Photo from Yelp user Elizabeth L)

Mary Mac’s (1945)
224 Ponce de Leon Ave. – Midtown
Because starting your meal off with pot likker, cornbread and cinnamon rolls is the way it’s done at this Atlanta mainstay. It’s more of a right of passage and something worth touting to your Yankee friends.

Nikolai’s Roof (1976)
255 Courtland St. – Downtown
Yet another place to dine with a view. Rachel C notes the bar’s “lush and romantic” appeal. Exactly what you’d like to see for a night out Downtown.

La Grotta (1978)
2637 Peachtree Road – Buckhead
Quite literally meaning “The Cave,” you’ll find this spot tucked neatly under a condominium building. The traditional menu will comfort your soul like a warm blanket.

Bones Restaurant (1979)
3130 Piedmont Road – Buckhead
Lee C’s definition of “heaven in a bowl – the truffle mashed potatoes.” Yep. She hit the nail right on the head. Paired with their legendary French onion soup, you’ve got a surefire win for dinner.

The "Ghetto Burger" at Ann's Snack Bar (Photo from Yelp user Annie C)
The “Ghetto Burger” at Ann’s Snack Bar (Photo from Yelp user Annie C)

Murphy’s (1980)
997 Virginia Ave. – Virginia-Highland
Murphy’s could write the book on “brunch dining.” All of the favorites under one roof. Take one look at their Yelp page and you’ll see one thing Yelpers say you can’t miss – grits.

American Roadhouse (1989)
842 N. Highland Ave. – Virginia-Highland
Stellar pancakes for over 23 years in the Highlands. They’re definitely doing something right. One word: ‘Merica.

Ann’s Snack Bar (1971)
1615 Memorial Drive – Kirkwood
Ann Price set the burger bar high with her infamous “Ghetto Burger” (the Wall Street Journal called it the best in America). It’s the most ugly-beautiful burger you’ll ever experience.

Bacchanalia (1993)
1198 Howell Mill Road – Westside
“The” spot for special occasions. The price tag isn’t the only thing that has given these guys over 20 years of business in Atlanta. The food is darn worth its salt. Especially when someone else is paying.

yelp-logoFollow Ben Getz’s reviews at benjamingetz.yelp.com and all the Yelp adventures on Instagram and Twitter @YelpAtlanta.

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