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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Pittypat’s Porch

pittypat_roomMy Dearest Rhett,

I have sent Prissy with this letter to inform you of the dire straits at Miss Pittypat’s house in Atlanta. As you know, Miss Pittypat has left to stay with relatives in Macon. Melanie has given birth to her son, Beau, but I fear she is much weakened from the ordeal.

Though resources are scant and Atlanta nearly deserted, we find that the

ppcornbreadYankees who have descended upon our once-fair town come in search of more than the despoils of war. They themselves covet the good food and drink of an era that I fear to say will soon be bygone. Can you imagine such a thing? Alas, Rhett, we take in diners and provide them with the libations and the simple suppers they crave.

Fear not. We do not allow these callers into the upstairs drawing room but rather show them to the root cellar, where they take their meals amidst cast iron farm implements, sprays of silk gardenia and louvered window shades which artfully hide the fact there are no windows. As they descend the staircase, our Northern guests espy this fellow preparing cornbread and biscuits the old-fashioned way, and they appear to take much cheer in the sight. I daresay his cornbread bests his biscuits. In a fit of pique I once tossed a biscuit at Ashley Wilkes and knocked the poor fellow senseless. Dear, sweet Melanie forgave me on the spot.

pittypat_libationsMost choose to start their meals with this mint julep, which we prepare not according to the Kentucky recipe but rather with a blackening muddle of mint leaves and an abundance of sugar syrup. Our guests also appear to enjoy the simplest of beverages, water, served in Miss Pittypat’s old pewter goblets. We put a good chill on the water so the Yankees freeze their lips with each sip.

pittypat_gumboA few of our guests begin their meals with this South Georgia gumbo ($5.50), which contains sausage, shrimp, whatever fish we have on hand and a good handful of salt. South Georgia gumbo, you ask? Please don’t, Rhett.

Of course, these parsimonious Yankees demand free appetizers, so we have set up something called a salad bar. They help themselves to whatever provisions we can douse in mayonnaise or preserve in vinegar, and they seem to rather enjoy it. They even profess nostalgia at the sight of a mouth-numbing concoction called “three bean salad.”

pittypat_friedchickenDearest Rhett, these Yankees can eat, and they fairly demand huge portions. Many like our fried chicken ($17.95), and I do see why as it is among the crispest and most juicy in the vicinity. One extremely impertinent Yankee asked if we prepared it in a device called a “pressure fryer,” and I told him ladies never discussed such things. He then had the unmitigated gall to ask if the collard greens we offer to all tables came from a freezer bag. In a near rage I grabbed a biscuit from his bread plate and threatened him with a good beaning. I am happy to report he backed off.

Rhett, I must inform you that with the poor state of commerce in Atlanta, we are no longer able to secure the good Gulf seafood we once prided ourselves in. Guests complain that the pan-fried grouper (market price) has an odd texture, both leathery on the surface and mushy within.

ppguestbookRhett, I beseech you to hurry back and help us return to Tara. I so long for those days of grand balls, fresh fish and lighter-than-air biscuits. Melanie remains sickly, and I’m afraid the steady diet of macaroni salad has done her no favors.

I know the war rages all about, but I beg of you, get me out of here.

With partial sincerity,

Scarlett

55 comments Add your comment

Love it!

November 20th, 2009
8:52 am

you crack me up JK….um, I mean Scarlett!

Darin

November 20th, 2009
9:28 am

You know, just for the sake of enjoying traditional Southern food in the heart of downtown Atlanta (and doesn’t that seem like a fairly common-sense expectation?), I’ve considered eating at Pittypat’s a few times when I’ve been downtown for the evening. The lack of windows and the bizarre facade that neighbors an unpleasant-looking service entrance always turns me off, though.

Looks like I’ve lucked out in missing the Pittypat’s experience. Here’s me hoping that some enterprising upstart opens a quality Southern restaurant (with windows) in the downtown tourist area. Speaking of…I’m interested in trying out the new cajun place at the bottom of the 123 Luckie Street condo building. Maybe that’s a better bet.

Nina Rubin

November 20th, 2009
9:31 am

OMG the place is a nightmare. Some visiting nawtheners drug us there ages ago. The pewter water goblets still haunt me. And the floor was sticky. Big eeeuuuwww.

Meredith

November 20th, 2009
9:36 am

Pittypat’s Porch is a tourist trap. Last weekend all the Gone with the Wind fans were in town for the 70th anniversary celebration in Marietta and they all flocked to Pittypat’s simply because of the name. Which is a shame because it most certainly NOT good Southern food. They would have been better off at (yes) Mary Mac’s or Greenwood’s in Roswell.
Naming yourself after a famous Southern character and putting Gone with the Wind photos on the wall doesn’t automatically make a decent Southern place. And the prices–$17.95 for fried chicken?? Please!

Laverne

November 20th, 2009
9:56 am

You ain’t right, man. And we don’t mean wrong. Hilarious.

cleter

November 20th, 2009
10:32 am

It’s been a while since I ate there, but my recollection is that it’s almost as good as Cracker Barrel, and only twice as expensive.

bap

November 20th, 2009
10:48 am

Ate there over 30 years ago when we came in from Chicago to house hunt….sounds like things haven’t improved in the least!

marie

November 20th, 2009
10:49 am

what happened to mammy’s shanty-was that the place in then rural marietta?

RK

November 20th, 2009
11:09 am

Looking forward to your Coq au Vin review…

Darin, I work downtown, and knew Pittypat’s was somewhere around here. I happened to be walking back from the CNN Center, and stumbled onto Pittypat’s. What an awful, awful location. It looks completely uninviting.

Is Pittypat some character from Gone with the Wind? Learn something new every day…

Greg

November 20th, 2009
11:12 am

The “letter from Miss Scarlett” gimmick in this article gets in the way of the actual review. Hasn’t the “Miss Scarlett” thing been run into the ground in a thousand other articles before? Lord.

That being said, Everyone knows Pittypat’s Poarch is an absolute hole. Tourist trap with a capital “T.” Which is a shame, because I’m sure that many visitors to the city are given the impression that this is the best that Atlanta can do, simply because of it’s centralized location.

Mandy

November 20th, 2009
11:22 am

The ‘mammy’s place in Marietta’ was called ‘Aunt Fanny’s Cabin’ and it was located off of Spring Road in Smyrna. Unfortunately it has long ago been torn down and replaced by apartments.

The Huffster

November 20th, 2009
11:33 am

Hilarious! Love the literary technique. Is there such a thing as euthanasia for restaurants?

For another column: I’m “dyin’” to know how/why Dante’s Down the Hatch has survived all these years on a diet of fondue. I’d love to go there — if there was anything else to eat.

Dixie Darling

November 20th, 2009
11:42 am

Well, truly darlings — one can’t eat real Southern now — ya’ know it is not politically correct to have those cute little colored boys singing out the menu — or have the waitresses dressed like Aunt Jemina — the real South done gone and you can blame MLK and Jesse and Al and Hosea and lots more of those folks who wanted more — and have ended up trying to take it ALL away — think of Atlanta’s political power plays that killed equal rights for both black and white. Now what’s left is a decaying city with a pitiful Pitty Pat’s Restaurant — not much to remind of us of the Olden Golden Days!

LaTrell

November 20th, 2009
11:43 am

Mammy’s Shanty was in Smyrna off Hwy 41 for years until it closed around 1980. The City of Smyrna bought it and moved the building to downtown Smyrna next to the old railroad station as a bit of history and it is on display .
Aunt Pittpat was Scarlet O’Hara’s aunt.
Prissy was Scarlet’s childhood companion and only a teenager herself. Haven’t any of you seen the movie.

American Mother

November 20th, 2009
11:49 am

There WAS a Mammy’s Shanty, somewhere around Atlanta, and I also remember a place called Johnny Reb’s – I just wish the Rio Vista was still around – for all you can eat fried chicken and catfish – and don’t forget that (salad) dressing!!! Oh well……………. weird review, but I DID read it!!! Didn’t I?

Southern Belle

November 20th, 2009
12:01 pm

Johnny Reb’s was on Roosevelt Hwy (hyw 29) just south of College Park.

Jim R. + Mammy

November 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

It ain’t fittin’… it ain’t fittin’. It jes’ ain’t fittin’… It ain’t fittin’.

Foodie

November 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

AUNT FANNY’S CABIN WAS IN SMYRNA AND MAMMY’S SHANTY WAS NEAR PERSHING POINT .

Foodie

November 20th, 2009
12:15 pm

Johnny Reb’s Dixieland was on the 41N after you crossed the river. They had an organ and a wishing well, and entertainment from the kitchen.

As far as Pittypat’s is concerned, they are such a tourist trap and it is such a shame.

P

November 20th, 2009
12:18 pm

I like the way the review was written. I’m a life long Atlantan (55) and have never been to the porch. What does that tell you?

Brill

November 20th, 2009
12:25 pm

American Mother @ 11:49
Unless it has recently closed, Rio Vista is still open serving catfish at the corner of Moreland and Cedar Grove Rds. Down south of the city in Conley, GA. Southern Comfort Lounge is across the street from it. And Blaze strip club where Pacman Jones of the NFL got into trouble.

John Kessler

November 20th, 2009
12:26 pm

Dear P, You’ve spent your first 55years wisely.

Brill

November 20th, 2009
12:27 pm

Never eaten at PittyPat’s. The review confirmed my worse suspicions. I hear Carver’s has the best southern food in the city. I have to get over there sometime.

Jim R.

November 20th, 2009
12:29 pm

I believe the Rio Vista is still open on Moreland right outside of 285 on the southside. For years there was an offshoot on Cheshire Bridge called the Catfish King with the same all you can eat chicken and catfish. They also had the same wonderful salad dressing American Mother mentions. It is now a well, uh, kinda, sorta, ah, really
different, …well anyhow it ain’t a catfish place now. Anyone have a recipe for the salad dressing?

Brill

November 20th, 2009
12:29 pm

This review confirmed my worst suspicions.
However, there is a place called Carver’s that is supposed to have out of this world old school country cookin’ I need to get over there soon, haven’t been yet.

John Kessler

November 20th, 2009
12:30 pm

Huffster: You know, I actually did the Dante’s special chocolate fondue thing once. They make a big deal about how they spend all day hand folding the chocolate, serve and fruit platter that looks like it could be the centerpiece for a hotel buffet and charge something like $200. the passel of kids with us loved it.

Brill

November 20th, 2009
12:34 pm

JK, have you thought about reviewing Carver’s ? It is not really a restaurant, but the food is supposed to be old school southern. It’s a shame about PittyPat’s, how do they stay in business ?!?

American Mother

November 20th, 2009
12:39 pm

To Brill and Jim R – Thanks – I thought they all had closed?? I used to go to the one on Memorial Drive ages ago – that is still to far out of the way for me – but it is nice to know there still is one. Maybe I’ll go google it to see……………..Peace AM

Southern Gal

November 20th, 2009
12:42 pm

I ate at PittyPat’s in the summer and I was greatly disappointed. The food was awful, service was awful and the place was drab and smelly. You would be better off going to Cracker Barrell!

Brill

November 20th, 2009
12:46 pm

AM, I don’t think you are missing anything, it looks a little scary. But like BBQ joints, sometimes those are the best places ! Take Care.

spence

November 20th, 2009
12:49 pm

Mammy’s Shanty was a great but politically incorrect restaurant (their bar was the “Pickaninny Lounge”) with an Old South atmosphere – if you tried to open such a place today it would be burned down tomorrow!

[...] View original post here: 30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Pittypat's Porch | Food and More with … [...]

kjg

November 20th, 2009
12:57 pm

there was a place in smyrna, can’t remember the name, where the wait staff wore the menue on a small chalk board and served southern style food. anybody remember the name?

willie

November 20th, 2009
1:02 pm

what a clever funny review! glad there’s still some southern talent at the ajc.

Mike

November 20th, 2009
1:03 pm

Mammy’s Shanty was “Where the Peachtrees Meet,” which is now known as Pershing Point.

Johnny Reb’s was a chain, and it included a location on Cobb Parkway that featured a several-story-tall wooden chicken. When they were looking at buying a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, Harlan Sanders wanted it torn down – he didn’t want any images associated with the company besides his picture. The owner drove him around Marietta, stopping randomly to ask people for directions. Every one of them used “The Big Chicken” as a landmark, so he let it stay.

I’ve been in Pittypat’s Porch for drinks, and based on the menu I think one would have better luck ordering something that wasn’t also served at the Pickrick.

Bluestreak

November 20th, 2009
1:08 pm

The Rio Vista in Conley is gone, completely. No building left even. Its just a flat lot now.

Chip

November 20th, 2009
1:10 pm

kjg, that was Aunt Fanny’s Cabin that other posters were talking about. Restaurant closed and the building was moved and is now the Smyrna welcome center.

American Mother

November 20th, 2009
1:16 pm

Brill, you are right!!! and after googling, I found that there was one in Jackson Ga, but it appears it has closed too, not sure, the reviews were mixed, but most were favorable – then there is one in Griffin, but it is RioVista Catfish & Seafood Co – with franchise info, so that, is NOT the one we are all talking about. Anyway – wishing all a great weekend. Peace & Good Eats!! AM

American Mother

November 20th, 2009
1:20 pm

OH Mike, interesting Tall-Chicken story!!!

Kerrie

November 20th, 2009
1:30 pm

I’ve never been to Pittypat’s, but there are alot of great Southern food places in Atlanta, you just have to know where to find them. O yes and Carvers is very good, they have some delicious catfish. All the veggies are good especially the boiled cabbage, so good. I think its on Marietta St downtown but I’m not positive. The Beautiful restaurant is also good… great banana pudding. But I do agree, I’ve lived in Atlanta my whole life and I have never heard of a good southern restaurant downtown anywhere.

Kerrie

November 20th, 2009
1:32 pm

o maybe Gladys NIghts Chicken and Waffles on Peachtree Street that is good.

John Kessler

November 20th, 2009
2:38 pm

Spence: That’s awful!
Re Carver’s: It’s really fun. The best part about it is that Sharon Carver, the owner and meat-and-three culinary maven, is from Idaho. Really fun place — my personal favorite for out-of-town guests.

Egger

November 20th, 2009
3:15 pm

I liked the review! I think it’s worth going to Pittypat’s once just to experience the bizarre ambiance but the food IS truly dreadful.

Darin

November 20th, 2009
3:44 pm

I saw that piece on Carvers on a recent Georgia Public TV special about Atlanta restaurants and thought it looked really great. I’ve got to figure out a way to get over there for lunch some time even though it’s nowhere near where I work.

Gladys Knights chicken...

November 20th, 2009
3:47 pm

…might just be the worst chicken I have ever eaten, and I am an Atlanta native. Stay away, stay far away, especially if you think Pittypats food is bad!

Review Or Not To Review

November 20th, 2009
4:42 pm

It’s sad what’s happened with the restaurant reviews by the AJC. They can’t keep it straight what’s an article or write-up and an actual review. Some actual reviews are so old that the restaurant has been closed for years. Typical AJC content.

HotLantaHobo

November 20th, 2009
7:25 pm

What’s amazing is how few places can pull off the true regional cuisine. While the consensus is that Pittypat’s is a dreadful tourist trap, it seems there are only a handful of places that do this sort of food that much better. Even the flagship Mary Mac’s gets very tepid mixed reviews. A decent meat and three is not on every street corner the way fine po-boy or seafood restaurants blanket New Orleans. What gives? Maybe this sort of food, even if it’s well prepared, is just too retro nowadays for a city that prides itself on being hip. I’m not sure that even if Mrs. Dull was directing the kitchen people today would like it.

Welcome back JK

November 21st, 2009
9:11 am

Everytime my company hosts and event for out of towners, them darn yankees always want to go to pittypat’s porch. I think it must come up first on a google search of “southern food.” So they have the internet keyword thing down pat. We never take them there and I’ve lived here all my life and never been. We take them to JCT and everyone loves it. (Oh, we did do Dante’s once. It’s great … once. We had a great time but all left reeking of burning grease. If you’re going someplace for fun and ambience, go. If you want to go someplace to eat really good food, don’t go. How’s that for a review of Dante’s? Can I have your job, JK?)

Wind Done Gone

November 21st, 2009
10:04 am

Thank you, Mr. Kessler, for deigning to dine at a place such as Pittypat’s, and then telling us about it. It is the type of place the regular dining critics would never write about (and I’m not just speaking of Ms. Ford-Goldman, but also of her ilk at all the big-city newspapers), yet it is precisely the kind of place we Atlantans would like to know about – if for no other reason than to know where we shouldn’t take out of town visitors. This blog is a real service to us, and I am so glad it has given you the freedom to write about these places – we are all better off for it.

Ga Peach

November 22nd, 2009
5:19 pm

Ahh, the southern food conundrum. As discussed on other boards, Tourists like to hit these places, expecting the real thing, but truthfully, real southerners make their own at home. My grandmother’s fried chicken, collards, black eyed peas are the gold standard for me, and likely for others. The Busy Bee is where I go when I don’t want to spatter up my kitchen.

Love the review, John- My first reaction to the title was “Is that place still around?”.