In my family, we congregate in the kitchen. No matter whose house or what the occasion, we snack and we visit — always in the kitchen.
That’s how it feels when I’m at Home Grown GA, like I’m hanging out in the kitchen with family, visiting and eating down-to-earth Southern cooking. The real pine paneling, the scattering of eclectic potted plants and the kitchen’s screen door all make it feel like home — or at least your grandmother’s home, dated but timeless.
Home Grown GA dishes up value-priced traditional Southern dishes, some with a bit of a twist. The friendly wait staff will help you choose from the list of fresh local vegetables that typically include several types of simply prepared peas and beans — beans so good that my 3-year-old son wanted a second helping for “dessert.”
And just as grandma does, Home Grown GA serves a traditional breakfast with all the fixings. This is simple food without any bells and whistles. Also like grandma’s cooking, there are some hits and misses. The pancakes ($4.50) are straightforward, the French toast ($5.50) bland and undercooked.
The omelets ($6), while perfectly cooked, could use a little seasoning, a few herbs and a pinch of creativity. Biscuit dishes abound ($1.50-$3) — but drat. The biscuits are dry, begging for a few pats of butter.
At lunch, chef Kevin Clark gets a little more playful and shows off his culinary pedigree. Up first: the vegan Sloppy Joe, unlike any grandma would make. The Georgia Peach Sloppy Joe ($5.50) is made with MorningStar Farms riblets, a soy product, and may just fool hardcore carnivores into thinking they are eating “the real thing.” You will down the sandwich with gusto, just to keep tasting the thick sauce, both sweet and spicy, brightened with peaches and enriched with caramelized onions.
Another sandwich with flair — Grant’s Stack ($9) with pimiento cheese, fried green tomatoes and bacon on Texas toast — adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Alone, the fried green tomatoes have an excessively thick and under-seasoned panko breading (though the ranch-horseradish cream sauce paired with them is one of my favorite items). The bacon, sampled on multiple visits, ranged from thin and crispy to floppy and rubbery. But put all those things together — pimiento cheese, fried green tomatoes and bacon — and you have a winner. The ingredients play nicely together; the bacon adds richness, the cheese, sharpness and the tomatoes, acidity. The warmth of the sandwich makes it delightfully gooey.
After lunch, sit a spell. Tarry over a dessert from the cake dome on the kitchen counter. And don’t miss the pies ($2-$3). A rotating menu of pies — sweet grits, peanut butter, pumpkin and more — is graced with a traditional lard-based pie crust. Thankfully, these crusts are more impressive examples of the restaurant’s baking than the dry biscuits and cornbread.
Come visit, y’all. Bring the family and enjoy traditional and fresh Southern fare with a dash of creativity here and there.HOME GROWN GA 968 Memorial Drive, Atlanta 404-222-0455 Food: Meat and three Service: Friendly and attentive Best dishes: Georgia Peach Sloppy Joe, Grant’s Stack Vegetarian selections: Georgia Peach Sloppy Joe (vegan), seasonal vegetable plate, pancakes, French toast Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays Children: Yes Parking: Parking lot Reservations: No Wheelchair access: No, but will assist as needed Smoking: No Noise level: Low Patio: No Takeout: Yes