Atlanta’s Westside is a food lover’s playground, a buzzing mini-metropolis of hot restaurants, laid-back gathering spots, and well-appointed shops. This once-languishing industrial district is now a thriving hotbed of culture and cuisine, sporting a refurbished soul that thrums with energy and fun. With so much to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed—here’s my list of what to see and where to eat in one of Atlanta’s coolest neighborhoods.
JCT. Kitchen & Bar
This local landmark is always buzzing with activity—it’s the perfect place to meet up with friends and begin your exploration of Atlanta’s Westside. Their menu of masterful renditions and riffs on classic Southern fare will put every diner in their happy place, but head upstairs for the real treat. The rooftop bar is the perfect place to kick back, people watch, and plan your next move.
1198 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Suite 18
Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand
If you’re wandering Westside in search of a casual bite, cruise into this attitude-infused eatery. The star of the menu is Delia’s organic, preservative-free chicken sausage, which they fold into hoagies, stuff into tortillas, and yes, sandwich between griddled Krispy Kreme doughnuts. If that’s not over-the-top enough, try the Cake Shake—a traditional milkshake with a fresh cupcake blended right in. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
881 Marietta St. NW
Because I have your best interests at heart, I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you exactly what to order: the Maine lobster roll. If you’re dining on Saturday (the only day it’s offered), go early, and order quickly—when they’re gone, they’re gone. The lobster is melt-in-your-mouth buttery, and the house-made bun is everything bread should aspire to be. Don’t despair if they run out—their burger has been named Atlanta’s best for a reason, and the rest of the menu is packed with delectable snacks (like their deviled eggs), sharable small plates, and good solid food.
887 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Suite 2
You’ll forget the ocean is hours away after five minutes in this fish-camp-inspired hotspot. Seafood rules the menu at The Optimist, from the oyster bar to small plates to wood-hearth-roasted fresh catches. Dining here feels like being on vacation—right down to the mini-golf green outside. Order some hushpuppies and a cocktail, putt a round, and enjoy the cool coastal ambiance.
914 Howell Mill Rd. NW
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
One thing I love about winter in the South is that it’s never too cold to enjoy homemade ice cream, and this scoop shop never disappoints. All of their artfully crafted ice creams are swoon-worthy, but my favorites include the Brown Butter Almond Brittle and their Coffee with Cream & Sugar ice cream, made with Batdorf & Bronson coffee, roasted right in Atlanta.
1198 Howell Mill Rd. NW
In a neighborhood that’s constantly thrilling your appetite with new and imaginative cuisine, it’s nice to take a break with some good old-fashioned comfort food. Silver Skillet has remained virtually unchanged since they opened their doors in 1956 (and they have the photos to prove it!). While they do serve lunch, it’s their diner-style breakfast that draws a melting pot of devotees wearing everything from wingtips to hard hats. I got my greasy spoon fix with a generous plate of corned beef hash, grits, and eggs, with a towering pile of fluffy biscuits, of course. If you’ve got any room left, grab a slice of pie to go—it’s some of the South’s best!
200 14th St. NW
An absolute wonderland of all things culinary, Star Provisions has a butcher, a baker, cheese and fish mongers, plus a packed gallery of gorgeous accoutrements for food prep and serving. It’s like walking into the personal larders and pantries of Atlanta’s best restaurants and getting to pick out whatever you want! More than a gourmet grocery, the shop runs a robust counter service, offering sandwiches, sides, breads, and
ready-made desserts that are perfect
for a quick lunch or supper.
1198 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Suite 100
Naturally, I’m a huge fan of Alabama-based designer Billy Reid, but it’s not just because we share a home state. His menswear line is impeccably hand-tailored with sharp, classic detailing that makes every piece a wearable work of art. While you’re there, check out the selection of colorful and comfy Zkano socks—another Alabama goodie—crafted from organic cotton by my friend Gina’s family-owned company.
1170 Howell Mill Rd. NW
If you have friends who love to cook (or just love to eat!), pop into this shop and peruse the selection of housemade pickles, chutneys, and gourmet edibles. They’re perfect for housewarming gifts or just for eating straight from the jar.
1170 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Suite P10b
By Brian Hart Hoffman