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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Sunday Column: Dining on both sides of the Perimeter

FLOODING 4

This way to good food

In yesterday’s Sunday Column, I summarized the ITP/OTP slapfest that broke out on this blog recently.

TAKING SIDES

It seemed a simple enough request.

As I announced last week, we are busy assembling a group of local food writers to help contribute restaurant reviews and blog items as we work to expand our footprint and deepen our coverage of dining throughout the metro area.

So I ran a call-out for applicants in the Food and More blog a couple of weeks ago that specified we were looking for a writer familiar with restaurants outside the Perimeter. We also said we wanted someone who could cook, use blogging software and knew the difference between “flare” and “flair.”

But that OTP clause makes sense, right? There’s a lot of ground to cover in this megalopolis we call home. Though we try to cover Dixie like the voracious boll weevil here at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, we’ve done a better job of chewing intown.

Alas, that brief mention of the Perimeter was one part of the entire post that got people talking. It didn’t take long at all for camps to square off on either side of I-285.

The comments started rolling in:

“Great. Just what this place needs is reviews of TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s and Chili’s. Don’t forget Outback and Red Lobster for those special occasion meals …”

Such was the initial volley from an intown reader. People joined in the jeering section, reeling off the names of chain restaurants that dot the suburban landscape and bestowing their greatest contempt on Denny’s. (One satisfied Denny’s customer felt compelled to point out the breakfasts are “memorable.”)

I thought it was curious that people complain so much about chains in suburbia when the same ones line Peachtree Road, Piedmont Road, Ponce de Leon Avenue and North Druid Hills Road. But, you know, whatever …

Then came the first riposte:

“OTP rules! and I don’t mean Chili’s”

The intown folks didn’t buy it:

“Ya sure OTP rules. Top restaurants and Chefs make it a habit to open their establishments in places with low population densities and low disposable incomes.”

Uh-oh. Battle lines had been drawn.

“Up here in redneck Johns Creek we know nuttin about good eatin or any kind of money. Lucky for us [Country Club] of the South has outside bathrooms. I think most of the money IS in North Fulton, you morons.”

It looked like war was about to break out on the blog. But then some reasonable souls started actually naming restaurants in the northern suburbs — from the upscale Trattoria One 41 to the down-home Greenwood’s on Green Street. A number of people made the unassailable claim that most of the best Korean, Mexican, Chinese and other ethnic cuisines are to be found outside the Perimeter.

“I don’t know anybody with deep roots in the area who lives or eats exclusively ITP or OTP. There’s great pho in Norcross, authentic Mexican in Jonesboro and Conyers, and killer BBQ all over the place, just for a few examples … [I]f you can’t find a great meal on either side of the Great Divide you just ain’t trying.”

One comment, from a parent of a child in a sports league, really caught my eye:

” If you have kids, you are always toting them to some game or tournament at the other end of tarnation. The consolation to the hour-long drive was going to eat someplace new.”

That really got me thinking. People who live intown often find themselves in the ‘burbs looking for food after a soccer match, or a trip to Lumber Liquidators, or a test drive at CarMax. They stay on busy streets and highways filled with shiny new construction where they see nothing but chains. They don’t know where to go, so they end up at Chili’s. They may not know, for instance, that there is such a place as downtown Alpharetta, filled with locally owned restaurants.

People who live in the suburbs and come intown to eat do so because they’ve heard about the restaurant. Maybe it was reviewed in the paper or created some buzz on the blogs. They may have a good meal, or they may stumble into a place that can’t keep up with all the attention. And then they think, “I could’ve had just as good a meal without the hour of driving.”

Before they know it, the “T” word is forming on their lips. “Trendy.” Who needs it?

Not everyone has the perspective of this commenter, whom I would like to hug, given half a chance:

“It’s just a highway, people. It means nothing. It doesn’t separate good restaurants from bad, or wealthy people from poor ones, or chains from non-chains.”

That said, I’m ready to dive into this debate. Head first.

110 comments Add your comment

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Food Lover

August 30th, 2010
9:33 am

I love going ITP for good food. I hate going ITP to get mugged. I especially like ITP when I get to see all the grown “adults” that need a roommate to live ITP to have the honor of saying they live ITP. ITP folk love to pretend they’re the enlightened hip bunch but it’s just ignorance, vanity, conceit and anger at having to pay house prices to live in a bedroom off Ponce. There are great restaurants intown though…and just as many OTP if the ignorant weren’t too cool to drive outisde their own neighborhood.

Rodney

August 30th, 2010
9:35 am

Just recently I found myself OTP at a “going-away” dinner for a long time friend. Yep, it was way OTP (Marietta address, I believe). Yep, it was a restaurant in a strip mall.

Aside from that, everything else about this place (I won’t give the name because I don’t want to be accused of pushing some resto) was well within my “I like it” criteria for a good meal.

It was hip and trendy, sure. The decor and the music and the clientele were mostly the same as I see in in-town restos. The food (was a small plates/tapas kinda place) was surprisingly good. As a table of six, we ordered pretty much every plate, kinda like our own tasting menu. Aside from a few missteps, everything I ate was quite tasty. And original. And, I enjoyed it.

I think that most people consider OTP restos as “kid friendly” and while I try and avoid family restaurants or anyplace with a kids menu (I do not want to dine with children, be it ITP or OTP) but there’s gems out there, too.

I’m excited about the new OTP reviews! I look forward to comparing my own opinion with someone else, and of course finding new places I’ve never heard of.

Thanks for thinking outside the ITP box, John.

Reds

August 30th, 2010
9:51 am

I live, work and play OTP. I’m glad to hear that we are going to be seeing more reviews for places OTP… because sometimes the good places go unnoticed cause of those big chains. But there are some great places in Alpharetta and Marietta that I frequent. Just hope the ITP folks don’t read about them. They can stay ITP ;) Kidding!!!

Me Jane

August 30th, 2010
9:55 am

@Food Lover – Wow. That’s a whole lot of judgment and generalizations about us ITP city dwellers. Wow.

Ima Glutton

August 30th, 2010
9:55 am

JK, good job bringing back the sanity. I live OTP, but work in Chamblee, and I love the dining in both places. Roswell restaurants are second to none. My wife and I NEVER go to a national chain OTP, and almost always find a wonderful meal (Rue on Canton St is the exception in 10 years of Roswell eats).
At the same time, I really enjoy the crepes at Ron des Vous (sorry about the spelling) in Chamblee on Windsor Pkwy, and dim sum at the Canton House on Buford Hwy.
ITPers, do not limit yourself to only dining within walking distance. MARTA comes to the ‘burbs. Hop on and enjoy the meal!

AtlantaNative62

August 30th, 2010
10:02 am

If you still need someone for the OTP writing, I’m a native of Atlanta and I grew up in the Majestic Diner on Ponce. (My dad owned it in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s). I live in Sandy Springs. I eat out both OTP, ITP, and OTR (over the river) and know great places in all the areas. Plus, I can spell……check. People who think there are no great restaurants OTP, OTR, AND ITP just don’t know Atlanta. From dives to diners to gourmet, it is available in all areas of Atlanta.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cathlyn Choi, Cheryl Hayes. Cheryl Hayes said: Sunday Column: Dining on both sides of the Perimeter: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)… to help contribute re… http://bit.ly/bIp6rn [...]

stilldefiant

August 30th, 2010
10:21 am

I vote for AtlantaNative62!

Rodney

August 30th, 2010
10:32 am

lol @ IMA GLUTTON – love the name …

real foodie

August 30th, 2010
10:56 am

I was born downtown, raised in Toco Hill, and now live in Sugar Hill. I have been from one end of the area to the other. I like some places ITP; but, since most of my time is OTP, that is where I eat. My gripe is constant reviews of places ITP that are way too expensive for me, and in that sense, not worth the drive. I also do not seek out the “new” or “trendy” stuff-heck, I won’t even touch calamari. I will give you a great example of a very fine restaurant in the heart of Buford-Aqua Terra Bistro. Yes, it is just one example; but, they have set the standard “way up here” for many years, now.
Let’s start somewhere.

Hungry Gringo

August 30th, 2010
10:59 am

I grew up OTP and moved ITP during college. There’s great food on both sides of the Perimeter, although it’s a little harder to find the authentic restaurants OTP. The trick is to get as far away from the interstate as possible.

Also, if there is a place that truly is a soulless suburban wasteland where Chili’s and Applebees are the ONLY options, it’s not in Metro Atlanta… it’s Birmingham, AL.

Ima Glutton

August 30th, 2010
11:00 am

Thanks Rodney…..just a guess, but does the place that you dined at have a couple of pianos?

Rodney

August 30th, 2010
12:06 pm

I found out later that it does, but THANKFULLY that wasn’t the case when I was there. I’d probably have a different opinion if it were. :) Note to self: check for piano night if returning.

Ima Glutton

August 30th, 2010
12:58 pm

Then I know the spot and your review was, on-the-nosey. Good job

Ima Glutton

August 30th, 2010
1:09 pm

Oh, 1 more thing Rodney, we’re also with you on the, child-free dining. Please parents, leave the “little darlings” at home, unless they are very well behaved in public.

To any other OTP diners, is the Thai House across from the U-Haul place any good? It’s been there as long as we’ve been in Roswell, but we always go to Rice or Thai Emerald.

Leslie

August 30th, 2010
1:10 pm

As always, you find balance. OTP or ITP, there’s good eating to be found all over Metro-Atlanta. But here are a few of OTP to start with: Milton’s Cuisine, Mayfield Road, Alpharetta witrh former Chef and GM from Rainwater. Food, service, perfection! Smokejack in “downtown” Alpharetta on Main St for Q and music. Sweets: White Windmill Bakery, Buford Highway. A cross of Asian and French patisserie. Also Alpharetta: One Star Ranch on N. Main St, sloppy and delicious ribs. Pampas Steakhouse State Bridge Rd. Eat on!

Andrew S

August 30th, 2010
1:45 pm

@Ima Glutton -

Coincidentally, I ate at the Thai House for the first time about a week ago (that dreadful rainy Friday). The decor is nothing special but the green curry I had was, while certainly not the BEST around, pretty damned good.. (It was too sparsely populated at the time for me to get a good look at anything else coming out of the kitchen though. so YMMV.) Prices are very reasonable so it’s worth a shot.

NeilW

August 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

Amen to checking to see if it’s piano night. Could not hear the person sitting across the table on that night. Great little neighborhood place in s strip center.

Ima Glutton

August 30th, 2010
2:19 pm

@Andrew: Thanks for the heads-up. We’ll give ‘em a shot.
@Leslie: love Milton’s, but miss the original carrot cake:-( The one they have now is very good, but the cc they served when they first opened made us weak-in-the-knees.

SP

August 30th, 2010
2:56 pm

I live ITP. I work OTP. I REFUSE to eat at chains because I prefer my money be spent locally. That said. It’s slim pickings for quality restaurants OTP compared to ITP. Do any of Atlanta’s Top Chefs have restaurants OTP? I will be curious to see what your OTP food blogger chooses for OTP restaurants and reviews because what I’ve found is crap. So for now, I’ll save my money and support the ITP restaurants.

Edgewood Adam

August 30th, 2010
3:36 pm

I find the big difference in ITP and OTP dining is getting quality for the money. I grew up in Alpharetta and moved to the city about 5 years ago. Since living downtown i find it almost staggering the amount of quality cheap places to eat. A few examples are The Rightous Room, Lunacy Black Market, Osteria, etc. I was never very impressed with the fine dining in Alpharetta either. It seems the menues were often dumbed down to satisfy the taste of soccer moms. There is nothing in downtown Atlanta though that can touch the asain food in Norcross.

Kathy W

August 30th, 2010
4:03 pm

I like to eat anywhere that is good whether ITP or OTP. Live OTP so I am really looking forward to hearing about anything new that is good! It’s nice to see that someone realizes that Atlanta has a lot to offer both ITP and OTP.

Jeff

August 30th, 2010
6:05 pm

I think as “ethnic Atlantans” (Japanese, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican…) have migrated outward over the past 20 years, so has most of the interesting food. If you’re looking for the best really expensive pecan-crusted tilapia with a side of way overpriced organic asparagus with some fancy smancy wasabi-dressing, then you’re probably going to have drive inside the perimeter.

SalMonela

August 30th, 2010
6:40 pm

What seems clear from the preceding remarks is that a great many ITP’ers rarely venture outside I285, just as many OTP’ers are loathe to risk life, limb, or (worse!) automobile, by coming inside the Perimeter.

There may be great restaurants in Dunwoody, but telling me (a self-confessed ITP’er) about them is like telling me that there are great restaurants in Chicago or Los Angeles. Unless they’re worth the price of a ticket on Delta, I don’t really care – any more than many of the OTP commenters care about the latest gastro-pub opening in Inman Park.

So… is the AJC just going to end up pleasing none of the people all of the time? Is this just another symptom of the paper’s own recent flight to the burbs? Does this represent an opportunity for Creative Loafing or some other publication to focus on, and subsequently capture the intown dining interest(and accompanying advertising dollars), leaving coverage of the hinterlands to the AJC?

No answers, but a boy’s gotta wonder…

mike

August 30th, 2010
8:17 pm

I think, when speaking about ITP v OTP there is a big difference between Dunwoody and Sandy Springs versus Cumming and Buford. It also depends a lot on the type of food. If you’re talking upscale, 5-Star dining, there really isn’t a debate, it’s all ITP. Between the higher disposable incomes of Buckhead residents, etc… and the expense account money of business travelers it just wouldn’t make any sense for an award winning chef to locate up in Johns Creek or Buford.

Is there really a reason to drive up to Stoney River or Pampas, when you’ve got Chops, Bones, Hal’s and Rathburns?

Now as far as barbeque, breakfast and midrange restaurants, I don’t think ITP has any advantage over OTP. Like someone else mentioned, I enjoy venturing OTP for Greenwoods and Asian restaurants.

Chris

August 30th, 2010
8:24 pm

I live ITP I work OTP. I usually eat near home because the last thing I want to do is get back on the f-ing connector to go eat. I do think there are tons of good places OTP as well and love to try new places when I can.

Emily

August 30th, 2010
8:25 pm

My husband and I prefer to do our dining “OTP-style” in order enjoy a quality meal in peace and in safe, clean, law-enforced, civil areas without being surrounded by rude, foul-mouthed, chest-thumping, loud-talking, free-meal-scamming hoodlums with “Obama” stickers on their tacky automobiles that are backed poorly into the establishment’s parking spaces and who are too busy “keeping it real” to tip their hard-working restaurant servers.

You can have your precious ITP dining “experience,” in-towners.

fildawg

August 30th, 2010
8:31 pm

If you want OTP reviews – get an OTP paper. This is the ATLANTA journal. ATLANTA is entirely ITP!

A

August 30th, 2010
8:38 pm

Ponce de Leon does not have a Denny’s or a Red Lobster or a Chili’s. No TGIFridays, no Denny’s, no Applebees. This is a fact.
Also, I am sure there are lovely places to eat otp but then I would have to dine with otp-ers like the above “food lover” and lots of spitting children. Thank you, no.

A

August 30th, 2010
8:40 pm

Emily, you should just give it up and move to Germany.

A

August 30th, 2010
8:45 pm

I’m sorry, real ‘A’. I got carried away. I’m the mean A. The real A is a nice person who likes to read this food blog. I am just a big troublemaker.

fildawg needs a geography lesson

August 30th, 2010
8:55 pm

Hey fildawg, where is the “Atlanta” paper located?

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
223 Perimeter Center Parkway.
Atlanta, GA 30346

Oh, that’s right. Outside the Perimeter. There are ATL mailing addresses OTP.

Needabailout,too!

August 30th, 2010
8:59 pm

I think it’s interesting social commentary how we are so quick to draw lines between ourselves in this Atlanta society–whether its who rules, ITP or OTP; “Northerners, why don’t you go back North”; and now Emily, with her thinly cloaked rant on racially different ITP diners! Can’t we all just get along, if only in the food columns?

Emily

August 30th, 2010
11:01 pm

Needabailout, too! -

Being loud, rude, obnoxious, unhygienic, a poor driver/parker, inconsiderate of your fellow diners, chewing with your mouth open while talking, disrespectful to restaurant management and/or “too good” to tip your server who bends over backwards to ensure your culinary experience is nowhere short of exquisite has absolutely NOTHING to do with anyone’s’ race, age or sexual orientation.

People in this country’s current economic climate work far too hard for their overtaxed dollars to have a lovely dinner out at a nice restaurant ruined by the most uncouth among us.

Please take your racially divisive agenda to somewhere other than the food blogs, and enjoy your meal.

Thank you.

Panda

August 30th, 2010
11:30 pm

Germany is far too nice a place for Emily. Maybe Venezuela would be better.

Foodgeek

August 31st, 2010
7:40 am

How is someone uncreative enough to need to steal the name “A?”

Emily, I fail to see the correlation between people who dine out ITP and poor tipping practices or anything else that you mentioned. For one thing, you’ll see more children in restaurants dining OTP than dining ITP, so by default you’ll see more open-mouthed chewing, inconsiderate behavior and such. And people who live ITP generally tip more than those who live OTP simply because they dine out more often. If you work as a server for a living, trust me, you’re going to do much better working in a restaurant in town than you will out in the suburbs.

Where are you getting these stereotypes?

grits

August 31st, 2010
7:41 am

I don’t normally comment however I read JK’s blog religiously even seeking out a few of the restaurants he has reviewed. I live ITP and 80% of the time my family will dine ITP unless I read a review that warrants a planned outing OTP. That said you know the over generalizations on both sides are grating to say the least. Everyone works very hard (even higher income folks) for their money and no one wants a bad dining experience.

Art

August 31st, 2010
9:01 am

This used to be a really interesting food blog…. Occasionally someone would make a friendly jab at someone else but everyone knew it was all in good fun. With these latest posts, the comments have become mean-spirited and downright nasty. If I wanted to spend my time immersing myself in this sort of negativism, I could go out and drive around on these roads that we’re pretending define where good people and good food can be found. No thanks! I’ll spend my precious free time elsewhere until the conversation gets back to food.

Potty Pot Pie

August 31st, 2010
9:17 am

Art – excellent post. Nailed it.

RK

August 31st, 2010
9:51 am

I don’t care where it is — I care about how long is takes to get to. I love Decatur, but it’s a pain to get to, so I don’t go often.

Muffin

August 31st, 2010
10:02 am

A – there was an IHOP on North Avenue for many, many years, as well as the TGIF by Piedmont Hospital that just shut down after many years, and there are currently two Chili’s intown located on Piedmont Road!

Vaughn

August 31st, 2010
10:34 am

In addition to several of the reasons Emily mention as to why I dislike dining ITP, any restaurant that forces its patrons to use a mandatory valet service loses my business.

I go out to dinner with my buddies and ladyfriends for a nice culinary event, not to be mistreated by rude, condescending servers who critique what we do or don’t order as happens had far too many ITP establishments.

kc

August 31st, 2010
11:28 am

wow. emily did an excellent job pinpointing the exact reason i hate dining OTP: being surrounded by diners like her. (except BuHi, et al; i doubt she + her ilk would be caught dead anywhere around there.)

A

August 31st, 2010
12:46 pm

Foodgeek, I don’t know how it happened, suddenly there was another one of me. As I said, this other A is the nice one. I’m trying to decide on another initial but I’m not done yet.

Also muffin person, I specifically said Ponce de Leon. Not North. Not Piedmont.

Also, Emily: just wow! Because I live itp I am now “loud, rude, obnoxious, unhygienic, a poor driver/parker, inconsiderate of your fellow diners, chewing with your mouth open while talking, disrespectful to restaurant management and/or “too good” to tip your server who bends over backwards to ensure your culinary experience “? I’m sorry but I have to go with nazi on this one.

SP

August 31st, 2010
1:52 pm

To Emily – you are so ignorant. If you knew anything about Atlanta dining, you would know that Atlantans are some of the highest tippers in the country (fact!). I’m sorry when you worked at Cracker Barrel, you weren’t tipped but you probably were a crappy waitress and the food sucked.

And you might want to check the crime reports coming out of Gwinnett before you start spouting more nonsense that you know nothing about and only fantasize.

As for parking at the fine ITP restaurants, it’s called “Valet” and it comes complimentary at almost all restaurants ITP. You just have to tip, which we do, and gratefully because good food ITP is worth the trip. My guess is from your self-parking and loud diner rhetoric that you were at a chain restaurant near a mall. Sad…

You clearly have poor social skills and poor tastes in quality food and restaurants. We dont want or need people like you ITP. So enjoy your lunch at Applebee’s!

Ima Glutton

August 31st, 2010
2:20 pm

People, people……food should unite us, not divide us. As that wonderful example of civic obedience asked, “Can’t we just all get along”?

Rodney

August 31st, 2010
6:12 pm

Someone opposes valet parking? Good grief – I prefer valet vs. trying to find a spot. :)

PJ

August 31st, 2010
6:48 pm

I am thankful that there are great restaurants all over Metro Atlanta – ITP & OTP. Both have great, original restaurants with amazing eats. I enjoy nights out at Rathbuns, Woodfire Grill, Miller Union, Pura Vida, Cafe 101, etc., as much as I enjoy my nights at Greenwood’s, Relish, Rice, Bistro VG, Honey Pig, Tasty China, etc. Buford Highway’s international delights span ITP & OTP. With amazing options everywhere, I feel fortunate to live in a city with great food in every price range, in every area and with every different type of atmosphere.

Leeeatup

August 31st, 2010
7:25 pm

Interesting. You folks (on both side of the shouting match) don’t even know how to read a map. How does a Perimeter only go north? According to you, if there is food worth eating, it must be a tad northeast or northwest OTP. Everyone knows (AJC seems to) that south of town, past the Airport anyway, is a wasteland. Or so you would think, reading these blog comments. Come on folks, most of those recent movies reported by the AJC as being made in “metro Atlanta” or “here in Atlanta” are being made down here in Fayette, Coweta, South Fulton, Clayton etc. counties, and those movie “stars” and crews are eating “down” here and doing just fine with it. We love seeing them out and about. Y’all come, we have lots of one-of-a-kind restaurants OTP south, believe it or not. And we’re no farther out than Roswell or Alpharetta for you ITP folks.

Sally Lekens

August 31st, 2010
10:23 pm

We recently moved to North GA from Lexington, KY at the end of June. We have been checking out the little towns and have found absolutely wonderful restaurants. We have sampled a variety of cuisine from Mom’s homecooking to gourmet delights. In, out, down, around, one must keep an open mind as to what is right in front of them.

Tragic

September 1st, 2010
9:29 am

Chilis and Longhorns on Piedmont. New IHOP on Ponce. Houstons on Peachtree and Lenox. There are chains ITP. And for all the people saying they like ITP restaurants because they don’t have to deal with screaming kids, don’t go to Decatur. It’s ITP and people lug their little ones not just to restaurants but to bars and pubs. I live ITP now, but grew up OTP. There are great restaurants on both sides. But I rarely feel any meal is worth driving more than 20 minutes each way for whether that means I come in or go out the perimeter. Just go to the good places near you and be happy

Barbara

September 1st, 2010
10:01 am

I am curious about something. How old does my child need to be for me to take him to a restaurant? At what age is it acceptable to those of you who want me to “leave him at home”?

K

September 1st, 2010
10:26 am

Barbara, that would be about 40 from reading all these comments…

Rodney

September 1st, 2010
1:01 pm

I realize you were asking the question with quite a bit of ‘tude, Barbara but I’m going to give you my own personal opinion – 12. Children under 12 should not be in restaurants that do not have a kids menu.

If there’s a kids menu or they have crayons and find-a-maze placemats, then bring all ages of the little critters you want to. They won’t bother me because I’m typically not in those restaurants.

Katherine Bolt

September 1st, 2010
1:09 pm

I too like dining ITP and OTP – as many of the comments have pointed out, you just have to know where to look and do a little research, just like in any other big spread-out metro like Atlanta.
That being said, the uncalled-for nastiness of some of these comments is a perfect example of why content providers such as the AJC should require real and verifiable names on blog commentary. I’m sick of reading ugly anonymous comments on political websites, and especially surprised to see this type of yelling on a FOOD blog, for heaven’s sake.

deborah smith

September 1st, 2010
1:42 pm

SEN Vietnamese restaurant, Cumming (on hwy. 141 near Mathis Airport). GREAT asian fusion. Also Ginger’s on 141. Best fancy comfort food in the mountains: CRIMSON MOON CAFE, Dahlonega.

The Amazing Timbo

September 1st, 2010
2:07 pm

I would rather be around a table full of 6 year olds than one table with piss and vinegar Rottney

Rodney

September 1st, 2010
2:53 pm

Timbo, please show me the common courtesy of spelling my name correctly. Your use of it is offensive.

That said, please tell me where, in my posts, is the p&v you speak of? I replied to Barbara’s post with an honest opinion. And then stated that I don’t typically go to restos with kids menus and crayons. Where’s the p&v in that?

atlfunlvr

September 1st, 2010
3:37 pm

For a few of you it sounds like in the restaurants you patronize having kids would be a genetic impossibility for the customers. I do acknowledge it is hard to find restaurants with glory holes and tapas, so it may be best to remain in overpriced shacks found ITP

alan

September 1st, 2010
3:54 pm

If all you food snobs would smell the food, beside the trendy places what o you have to offer. Some of the best bbq is in Smyrna at Thompson Bros on Cobb Pky, some of the best chinese food is at Taystee China in Marietta. Jerusalem Bakery/Restaurant is in the same shooping center as TC in Marietta. Other Mediterean restaurants are OTP as is some of the best Indian and Mexican. places. If you also want a good red sauce Italian Restaurant try Vincents on Barrett Pky in Marietta, or for NY style pizza Big Pie in the Sky in Kennesaw. I could go on. At least when I go to a OTP restaurant I don’t feel my wallet has been picked.

ITP Mom

September 1st, 2010
4:19 pm

Sorry Rodney, but I live ITP and my 17 month-old has probably been to more fine dining establishments than most 30 year-olds. We’re short on time and we like good food, so we eat out quite a bit. I see know reason (nor have I ever) why you can’t bring a child to almost any restaurant as long as you use some common sense. For example, we always go early (no later than 6:30), order her something to eat at the same time we order our drinks, clean up any spills as soon as they occur, and always bring something to occupy her once she’s finished with her meal.

I will concede that there are some restaurants that are truly child-unfriendly (i.e. Quinones), but I think that relatively speaking. that list is pretty short.

Intown

September 1st, 2010
4:31 pm

I live ITP but often have to go OTP to visit family. I’ve never had a good meal at an OTP restaurant that wasn’t also a good chain also found intown (think, Roasters). All the allegedly unique fine dining establishements in Sandy Springs and Roswell that I have been to have been lousy. One exception — a sushi place on Buford Hwy just outside the perimeter.

It really isn’t worth the aggravation to drive on overcrowded sprawly highways or to pay that toll on GA 400 to eat anything OTP.

Intown

September 1st, 2010
4:33 pm

Also, OTP’ers assume that every nook and cranny ITP is crawling with people who want to mug you. News flash – ITP is pretty safe. Just don’t leave your purse on the front seat of your car like a moron and you’ll be fine.

Bhorsoft

September 1st, 2010
4:42 pm

I’m a motorcycle rider and I subscribe to Alton Brown’s three rules:
1. No interstates
2. No chain food restaurants
3. No whining
I spend a lot of my riding time searching for those Mom & Pop one of a kind restaurants. If you look, they are everywhere – ITP, OTP, and way way OTP. A lot of it is simple food, meat and three’s and BBQ, but I have also found some wonderful Italian, Mexican, and other types of foods by just going into a place that has a crowded parking lot and a name I don’t recognize. Not 100% foolproof, but I’ve had some truly memorable meals out on the road.

Jessica Smith

September 1st, 2010
4:46 pm

I’m sure this mailbox has been bombarded with this question – but here goes nothing…

Are you you still looking for food writers? I live OTP in the Duluth area. I’m very familiar with the restaurant scene in Norcross, Buford, Duluth, John’s Creek, Perimeter Mall area, and Alpharetta.

Ray Pugh

September 1st, 2010
4:47 pm

I haven’t seen one OTP’er whine that the parking lots are too small to contain their large SUVs necessary to accommodate their gigantic hypoglycemic @$$es…

Jeff

September 1st, 2010
4:53 pm

It’s embarrassing to be part of a species that believes a perimeter highway surrounding a city could somehow magically separate good restaurants from bad ones.

Andrew

September 1st, 2010
5:36 pm

I live ITP for 4 years and recently moved OTP. I would always try to find a new restaurant no matter where I go. In or out, I always try something new to me and it is a defeating feeling to go somewhere and find out after that is a chain. Like Nancy’s Chicago Pizza on Peachtree, it’s nice to go there and get a rare deep dish pizza in Atlanta, but it’s one of 30 or more locations in the country. Or Baldino’s, which has 2 restaurants in Atlanta but several all over the place.

Good point that ITP is not immune to chain restaurants.

Buckhead

September 1st, 2010
5:37 pm

To those of you all that venture inside the perimeter to eat, please dont… let the real buckheadians eat without OTP trash :)

Switzerland

September 1st, 2010
5:37 pm

I think my wife and I have a unique perspective because we split our time between our house in the Northern burbs and our condo in midtown. There are certainly many interesting places to eat in town but we have also found some real gems north of Atlanta.

Buckhead

September 1st, 2010
5:38 pm

The worst part about Atlanta suburbs is that 99.9% of them are totally devoid of any kind of culture

Jay

September 1st, 2010
5:46 pm

ITP vs. OTP battle lines – yet another reason to bring back Milton County.

bushwacker

September 1st, 2010
6:07 pm

I live downtown and if you ever see the possum sized rats that patrol downtown at night you would never eat downtown!

atlfunlvr

September 1st, 2010
6:08 pm

Heck yeah, Buckhead is a cultural mecca. I just cant get enough of office buildings, business hotels and what!! two malls and o yeah – the gaping bankrupt pit that has revitalized the blighted area. If you would pay $500k for a condo to be a part of this…well…I hope the valet loses your keys!

Ugh

September 1st, 2010
6:11 pm

totally devoid of any culture in atlanta suburbs? what do you consider culture butt-head…i mean buckhead…pants on the ground or gold teeth? up here in north fulton we have a frickin rainbow of people not just black and white. why do you think our schools score the highest on tests and have the best students? maybe because there are a lot of hard working overachievers from other countries (and locals) that choose to live here and raise kids—not in your dump land of pavement and drunk people. as a 30 yr. resident that has lived all over this state from atl to s. georgia — north fulton is one of the most diverse parts of georgia I have ever lived in.

bushwacker

September 1st, 2010
6:11 pm

Culture like you have in buckhead, arrogant punks in the bars and clubs who don’t tip well and commit murder in the parking lots!

DamThisTrafficJam

September 1st, 2010
6:32 pm

I love food ITP and OTP. I only eat ITP food at lunch, as I work ITP. I eat OTP on weekends, as this is where I live. I would love to eat at ITP places on the weekends sometimes, but it’s not worth the hassle of driving ITP when I don’t have to. My ITP friends think the same of OTP. If we had less traffic (perpetual construction and too many people), folks would go travel back and forth more readily for food.

Gavin Taylor

September 1st, 2010
6:47 pm

I am appalled at Emily…you heart pumps prejudice. You said:

“…in order enjoy a quality meal in peace and in safe, clean, law-enforced, civil areas without being surrounded by rude, foul-mouthed, chest-thumping, loud-talking, free-meal-scamming hoodlums with “Obama” stickers on their tacky automobiles that are backed poorly into the establishment’s parking spaces and who are too busy “keeping it real” to tip their hard-working restaurant servers.”

What does with “Obama” stickers really mean? So are your ignorant, undereducated, small-minded self saying that people who did not vote for Obama couldn’t possibly be rude, foul-mouthed, chest-thumping, loud-talking, free-meal-scamming hoodlums?

People like you make American dwellers look really ignorant.
“Knowledge is Power…Lack of is Ignorance!”

…and use grammar check next time, it’s free!

montoya

September 1st, 2010
6:47 pm

Since when does OTP mean Alpharetta and the Alpharetta wannabe’s (Johns Creek). If anything, Gwinnett has the most unique locally owned restaurants.

Gavin Taylor

September 1st, 2010
6:51 pm

Ok people, I just had to address that…Let us get back to the reviews and please ignore the ignorance…even if you are boiling to comment on it!

Needabailout,too!

September 1st, 2010
6:53 pm

“free-meal-scamming hoodlums with “Obama” stickers on their tacky automobiles that are backed poorly into the establishment’s parking spaces and who are too busy “keeping it real” to tip their hard-working restaurant servers.”

“….has absolutely NOTHING to do with anyone’s’ race, age or sexual orientation.”

“to have a lovely dinner out at a nice restaurant ruined by the most uncouth among us.”

“Please take your racially divisive agenda to somewhere other than the food blogs, and enjoy your meal.”

Emily–my bad, really. How could I have misunderstood your written words as anything similar to ‘racist’? Those Obama-stickered, tacky cars backed in and parked so poorly out front, belonging to foul-mouthed, loud-talking, chest-thumping, uncouth, free-meal-scamming, ‘keeping-it-real’, unlawful “hoodlum” ITP diners were really descriptions of what you MEANT to express—that you really don’t enjoy dining in restaurants that also service white Democrats. How could I have gotten it so wrong?….I will work more diligently in the future to glean hidden meaning from subjective expression.

J.Kessler, what a bounty of article idea nuggets revealed here in your public blog, and not necessarily pertaining to food… Do you have any socialogist or psychologist friends who need human behavior material for their research projects or thesis? Here’d be the place for material…(Geez!)

Gavin Taylor

September 1st, 2010
7:18 pm

I have had numerous enjoyable experiences dining at a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ type restuarant OOOOOOOTP (Lol). Blue Willow in Social Circle (Walton County, I-20 E)is spectacular. Delicious country cooking; buffet style. It’s worth the drive!

BlondeHoney

September 1st, 2010
7:36 pm

@Buckhead, I live OTP, work ITP, I’m single…I’m trash solely because I live OTP??? Good grief I just like to get more for my money in housing & I can leave my door unlocked at night still…how many OTP’ers can saythat? Like so many others, I enjoy great restaurants both ITP & OTP.

@Gavin Taylor, Blue Willow Inn is fantastic LOVE IT…defintely worth the drive for both ITP’ers and OTP’ers

BlondeHoney

September 1st, 2010
7:37 pm

whoops I mean “how many ITP’ers can say that?”

edgewood adam

September 1st, 2010
8:21 pm

In no other city would there even be debate over where the best places to eat are. It is in the city. It is always in the city. Nobody leaves Manhattan to dine in Long Island. There are plenty of good places to eat OTP but not in the concentration that there are in the city. OTPers always have this inferiority complex about the city. It is never cooler to live in the burbs no matter where you are. Hide behind safety issues all you want. I bet you guys use nerf footballs too.

Gavin Taylor

September 1st, 2010
8:33 pm

Ok, NOONE waste your time commenting on the above post…lets keep naming restaurants! ;)

edgewood adam

September 1st, 2010
9:05 pm

Cabbagetown: Agave, Carroll St. Cafe, Village Pizza, 97 Estoria
Reynoldstown: Home Grown, Mi Barrio
Grant Park: Ziba’s, Six Feet Under,The Republic, Ria’s Blue Bird, Nick’s
Inman Park: Rathbuns, Serpas, Across the Street, Pcheen, the Albert, Shaun’s, Sauced,
Old 4th Ward: Vesuvias, Noni’s, Corner Tavern, Sound Table
East Atlanta Village: The Earl, Australian Bakery, Midway, Holy Taco
L5P: Savage Pizza, Niramish, Bombay, Yacht Club, Ali Baba’s
You want names. There are names. This is all within a 3 mile radius and is a tiny list of what is actually around. There are not this many independently owned, quality places to eat in all of Cobb County. Once again, there are good places to eat OTP but they have to be sought out. I just listed 30 places that will satisfy anyone and most are even budget friendly. And they are all within biking / walking distance of each other. This is leaving out the entire westside and numerous others. There is no debate. ITP dining > OTP.

Buckhead

September 1st, 2010
10:16 pm

Ugh- you are retarded. atlanta has some of the best private schools in the southeast (westminster, anyone?) . you sound bitter because you are poor white trash.

atlfunlvr

September 2nd, 2010
7:21 am

Another Buckhead sucker bet – $30k private schools. For $50 I will guess your weight and $100, I will tell you your horoscope and for a grand I will tell you what your dogs are thinking.

Huh?

September 3rd, 2010
11:59 am

Atlanta extends beyond the perimeter, so you can be in Atlanta and OTP…moron. Check out a map. And restaurants should be reserved for those 18 and older. :)

Huh?

September 3rd, 2010
12:01 pm

@Edgewood Adam – I’ve been mugged at all the places you mentioned. Thank you for making me remember.

Ziggy

September 4th, 2010
10:45 am

Don’t know if it still exists but Kools Korner had the best sandwiches in the city.

count_schemula

September 4th, 2010
2:52 pm

This is beyond stupid. ITP has not been ITP since the early 90s. Who do you think lives ITP now? Yeah, exactly. ITP is full of OTP and there is no ITP to speak of. They have strip malls, we have crap mixed use. They have SUVs, we have people who run red lights 2 minutes after they have changed. I’m not even going to get into demographics, but suffice to say there is no clear winner there either. A good place to eat is a good place to eat, it really does not matter where it is located. OTP mentality killed ITP before it even got started. Have you seen what intown “development” consists of? Yeah, poorly planned condos and half hearted attempts at mixed use and new urbanism. FAIL. Bring back the White Dot and the jack shacks and the Exit club or I say it never happened.

Daryl-Atlanta

September 4th, 2010
3:10 pm

“SP” wrote……I live ITP. I work OTP. I REFUSE to eat at chains because I prefer my money be spent locally. That said. It’s slim pickings for quality restaurants OTP compared to ITP. Do any of Atlanta’s Top Chefs have restaurants OTP?….”

Answer: YES, the Varsity is to open in Dawsonville before the end of the year.

Nalbro

September 4th, 2010
3:59 pm

@huh? – I live in East Atlanta and I have frequented all of those places Edgdewood Adam mentions many many times and I’ve never had a problem with safety. You’re either incredibly unlucky or a liar.

R

September 4th, 2010
4:39 pm

Jesus Christ, everyone.

OK, I live ITP. Kirkwood. South of Hosea Williams, where it’s still a little rough around the edges. Actually, right off Memorial. So I’ve got some street cred, so what. Moved here from Kennesaw in 2008.

We all make choices about where we live and where we like to go. If someone wants to go to a chain, fine. It’s their money. If someone wants haute cuisine, fine. If you want to walk a block, fine. If you want to drive for hours, fine. Both sides of 285 in all directions have their little gems.

Part of the problem we have here is that in such a spread out metropolis, there are so many places that the majority of the populace in Metro Atlanta have never heard of. It won’t hurt anyone of us, ITP or OTP, to keep our ears to the ground, our eyes opened, and our noses piqued. If something’s awesome, we should give it a try when we’re feeling adventurous.

(And for everyone OTP who detests snotty “trendy” places, yes, many of us ITP can’t stand ‘em either.)

LJ

September 4th, 2010
4:43 pm

I live ITP and can’t wait to move OTP. Yeah- thats right; a mid 20’s successful educated college grad can’t stand living ITP because of absurdly high taxes, crappy crime, bad roads, and the general demeanor and worthlessness of the “indigenous” population.

Good food can be had both ITP and OTP. My favorite Greek is up in Marietta along with the best Szechuan chinese. The best Fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life is near Forsyth City. My favorite burgers in the world are ITP at Vortex along with my favorite Mexican at Bonegarden.

Paying other people to cook for me doesn’t determine where I live though. I can commute to good food. I can’t commute to good neighbors and low taxes.

Cindy

September 4th, 2010
4:47 pm

I eat at plenty of upscale ITP restaurants for work, and OTP restaurants in my personal life as I live a good 20 miles north OTP. And I’ve seen good and bad on both sides. Anyone who tries to claim that either side has the “exclusive” good restaurants needs to get out more.

I, for one, would love to see a blog on good restaurants both ITP and OTP. My work takes me all over the greater metro area and I have clients everywhere from Suwanee to Peachtree City and everywhere in between, and am often looking for good suggestions for lunch and dinner for my clients.

Besides, no one knows the local restaurants as well as the locals! Ask any good foodie in the burbs and they can rattle off a half-dozen good downtown burb restaurants that can easily hold their own with anything on Peachtree Street.

People who can’t see the benefits of both are either snobs or ignorant. Try broadening your horizons….you’ll be better people for it.

Howard Beale

September 4th, 2010
4:59 pm

I have lived downtown, in the Luckie-Marietta district (near the Aquarium), with my wife for eight years (and we are both very white). We walk down along Marietta Street to restaurants near CNN, or across Centennial Olympic Park, at night, on a regular basis. We have never been mugged, bugged, victimized, threatened, or harassed by anyone, not even by any “rude, foul-mouthed, chest-thumping, loud-talking, free-meal-scamming hoodlums with ‘Obama’ stickers on their tacky automobiles,” thank you very much, Emily. But then of course perhaps we have just been lucky so far. Anyway, we thoroughly enjoy the pulse of the city, the diversity (I know that’s a dirty word to you, Emily) and the variety of local flavor in the restaurants. Unfortunately, we sometimes have to drive outside the perimeter to visit friends. The road rage up there is alarming, but I can sympathize with the Emilys who must commute an hour each way to work downtown five days a week, only to return to the land of faceless, tasteless, strip-mall chain-restaurants, with their corporate-mandated menus, hosted by jaded, disgruntled teenagers. What a sad existence that must be for you, Emily, but at least you can sleep well knowing you are “right” in your political (racial) thinking. I’m sure in your mind we are the superior race; therefore, you must surely be safer up there amongst your own kind. Hey – all this food talk is making me hungry! I think I’ll stroll across the park and find something to eat. Cheers!

cw

September 4th, 2010
5:22 pm

Everything about O.T.P Just Sucks…………………

boots

September 4th, 2010
5:22 pm

Atlanta is a city with 6 million people in the metro area. I eat out a lot on business and for personal reasons, too, and I can say that there are great places both OTP and ITP. There is no need to have everyone bash each other’s lifestyles. I will say that the reviews in the AJC tend to be ITP, but that makes more sense since it is a central location. I like a few OTP places like Oakstreet Cafe, but there are plenty of places for us to enjoy a good meal whereever we are.

count_schemula

September 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

If OTP moves ITP it’s still OTP. Just because there is a homeless person sleeping under your landscaping and your neighbor has a 1978 Caprice on 26″ does not give you street cred. I love it when someone thinks that just because they moved 20 miles to the south and cross some arbitrary landmark that all of the sudden they are hardcore. Pasty white bread gentrification (PWBG) is always PWBG, whether it’s in Acworth, Kennesaw or the Old Fourth Ward. Drink all the PBR you want, ITP would be a whole lot more ITP without so many new fake OTP converts. It’s no accident that Buckhead died and 24 hour clubs vanished when the frosty haired white people showed up bringing their OTP Cobb County values ITP. Just because you left your MacBook Pro on the front seat of your car your car and your window got smashed and your laptop got stolen and you ride an $8000 bicycle with day-glo spandex and does not mean you have street cred. Check the mirror, the OTP you rail against is probably you. Oh, you own a set of reusable bags for the grocery store? Well, I take back everything I said.

"Chef" Tim Dix

September 4th, 2010
5:48 pm

Wow! I thought the only people left ITP were housed at the Fed Pen.

The things you learn in the AJC!

atlfunlvr

September 4th, 2010
6:08 pm

count_schemula nails it!

lkjlkj

September 4th, 2010
7:11 pm

It’s been my experience that a fair number of people like my wife and I (late 30s/early 40s, no kids) who live ITP knock OTP but have rarely ventured OTP. They -think- they know what’s OTP, but they really don’t.

I find the knock on chain restaurants a bit funny, too. ITP is loaded with them, same as everywhere else. Venture out and you’ll see. Is the Flying Biscuit suddenly going to lose the ‘hip’ factor since it’s now a chain? I’d bet it will. Same with stuff like Flip. It may not change as it expands, but its image among the hipsters sure will.

Good food is good food.

BPJ

September 4th, 2010
7:15 pm

Children, children, calm down!

I’ve lived here long enough to remember when there was no I-285 (and when Lester Maddox “inaugurated” it by riding on the hood of a car). Metro Atlanta has excellent restaurants all over. If you think there’s nothing south of I-20, check out Serenbe.

Because intown is more densely populated, there is a greater concentration of good restaurants, but there are plenty elsewhere. I love exploring Buford Highway. I’ve been to excellent places in Roswell and Marietta. Where I live, in Midtown, we walk to Tierra, Table 1280, Veni Vidi Vici, Tamarind, the Oceanaire, and many others. But please allow for different strokes………………

SlaveGirl

September 4th, 2010
7:54 pm

I’m so glad to be reading more of Kessler! I’ll be trekking north to Sweet Apple to view baby furniture and have an early dinner with my niece next week. Dining suggestions welcome!

Cammy

September 4th, 2010
8:11 pm

I’ve seen McDonald’s both ITP and OTP…

Really?

September 9th, 2010
4:50 pm

I would have to say that the idiotic comments from the ITPers are mostly worse than those form the OTPers. Some of you ITPers might want to get over yourself, we all get it, living inside the city makes you feel good, I’d bet just as good as people who choose not to live in the city. So where does that leave us? Noone is right or worng, it’s a matter of taste and priorities, that’s all. There is no definitive answer to where the Best food is in the metro area period.