Last Saturday, Eater Atlanta photographer Ryan Fleisher documented life along the Eastside Beltline and at restaurants around Atlanta during the first weekend of spring. He captured empty dining rooms, against a backdrop of crowded parks, restaurant patios, and the Eastside trail.
Once again, Fleisher traveled throughout Atlanta’s popular east side neighborhoods this past Friday and Saturday to capture life at restaurants and outdoor social hot spots, as people come to terms with living life under the city’s new COVID-19 “stay-at-home” order.
As warm, sunny weather continued over the weekend, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms urged residents not to pack the city’s parks or restaurant patios, while Beltline officials asked people to limit their use of the trail to essential trips to the grocery store or to grab takeout.
*Please practice safe and respectful social distancing measures via CDC guidelines by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people, not gathering in groups, and not sitting on restaurant patios to eat. Stay home if sick.
A shot of Freedom Parkway taken from the Jackson Street Bridge at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 27. Just a handful of cars drive along the typically traffic-choked thoroughfare connecting downtown Atlanta to the city’s east side restaurants and attractions.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center and surrounding Sweet Auburn historic district are popular destinations for tourists and residents on the weekend. The park is often filled with tour groups, nearby church goers, and people sitting quietly to reflect by the eternal flame at the center.
A shot of North Avenue looking toward the Eastside Beltline and Midtown early Friday evening on March 27.
People ordering wings for takeout on the porch at The Local, a popular dive bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, east of Midtown. Chairs and tables are stacked up on the front patio to discourage people from gathering after picking up their wings and beer.
Beltline officials posted more signs along the Eastside trail urging people to keep a distance of six feet from one another and not crowd the trail. Despite calls by residents and some city officials to close Atlanta’s parks and the Beltline, the trail remains open for “essential” trips to grab takeout food from restaurants or to shop at markets and grocery stores, like the new Kroger across from Ponce City Market.
The Central Food Hall at Ponce City Market remains closed. However, a few restaurants are offering curbside takeout for pick-up around the property.
People ordering takeout from Nina & Rafi’s pizzeria and Playa Bowls, just off of the Eastside Trail at SPX Alley in the Old Fourth Ward. Both restaurants closed the dining rooms to the public, feature outdoor takeout windows, and removed chairs from the patio to discourage people from gathering to eat once food is received.
Inman Park Italian restaurant BoccaLupo, owned by chef Bruce Logue, continues to offer takeout from its covered patio at the back of the restaurant. Logue posts his menu for advanced ordering on Facebook and Instagram each day the restaurant is open. On a typical Saturday night in the dining room, the restaurant could serve as many as 200 people until it closes at 11 p.m.
The Krog Street tunnel is known for its street art, and often attracts artists who come to add their creations to the walls and bridge or those seeking photos for album covers or Instagram. The tunnel links Inman Park and the Eastside Beltline to the trail on the other side in Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown.
Just west of Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown, people stand at a distance in the parking lot waiting on their tacos orders from Supremo on Memorial Drive. The recently opened takeout joint, from chefs Duane Kulers and Nhan Le (8Arm, Octopus Bar), resides across the parking lot from Grindhouse Killer Burgers on the edge of Grant Park.
Located across the street from historic Oakland Cemetery, the longtime, family-owned Mexican restaurant Mi Barrio continues to hang on despite COVID-19 and rising rents along the rapidly gentrifying Memorial Drive.
Public calls for a “rent strike”, like this one spray painted on the side of a building for lease at the corner of Boulevard and Memorial Drive, can be seen throughout Atlanta.
People wait in line to order from Poor Hendrix in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood. No one is permitted inside the restaurant, beyond staff, and hand sanitizer is available at a table outside on the back patio.
Three people picnicking in a small community garden area behind Poor Hendrix.
Late afternoon at Piedmont Park on Saturday, March 28. The park continues to be a popular spot for picnickers and people playing frisbee or tossing the football.
By 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,446 in Georgia, with 79 deaths. There were 485 cases and 14 deaths recorded the previous Saturday.
NOTE: The novel coronavirus situation in Georgia is fluid and ongoing. Follow Eater Atlanta for continuing coverage on COVID-19’s impact on Atlanta’s restaurant industry. Additional stories are forthcoming.
Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for guidance and twice-daily updates on the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases.