Empire State South
The pimiento cheese at Empire State South has been a hit with Atlanta diners since the restaurant opened in 2010. Hugh Acheson perfected his pimiento cheese recipe at his Athens, Georgia, restaurant Five & Ten, and it’s one of the few recipes from his restaurants that are included in his cookbook, A New Turn in the South (Clarkson Potter, 2011). But at Empire State South, diners treasure the pimiento cheese not for what’s in it, but for what’s on it. It’s delivered to your table in a 4-ounce Mason jar topped with a layer of sweet-and-spicy bacon marmalade, made with Benton’s hickory-smoked bacon. Pimiento cheese goes solo as an appetizer on the lunch menu, but at dinner, it’s paired with deviled ham, trout mousse, and peanut hummus in a starter called “In Jars,” where the revered Southern spread holds its own against these worthy newcomers. If you’re in a hurry, drop by and pick up premade pimiento cheese sandwiches from the restaurant’s Grab and Go menu at lunchtime. Or, take home a jar for just $6. And, yes, the take-home jars include a layer of bacon marmalade.
999 Peachtree St. NE #140