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Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

Touristy Restaurants Around Atlanta Even Locals Enjoy

These restaurants blur the line between total tourist traps and places even locals aren’t embarrassed to be seen in on occasion

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Atlanta is always playing host to some big convention, sporting event, concert, or major business gathering. That means a whole lot of tourists visiting ATL throughout the year who need to be fed. Locals know the restaurants to steer clear of, and generally avoid dining in tourist-heavy areas like downtown Atlanta where chains and way overpriced restaurants dominate the landscape. But, a few places in the A successfully blur the line between total tourist traps and restaurants locals aren’t afraid to be seen in on occasion.

Have a worthy tourist restaurant suggestion not listed here? Give it a shout out in the comments or via the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Battery Atlanta

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800 Battery Ave SE #130
Atlanta, GA 30339
(404) 494-1150
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Located beyond the gates of Braves SunTrust Park, the Battery Atlanta complex with its shops, restaurants, and hotels was built with visitors in mind. Restaurants like Ford Fry’s The El Felix for Tex-Mex, Latin sandwich shop El Super Pan, C. Ellet’s steakhouse and oyster bar, Antico Pizza, and Garden & Gun Club for Southern bites and cocktails are popular dining choices for locals and visitors regardless of whether there’s a game or a concert at the park.

2. Silver Skillet

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200 14th St NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 874-1388
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In business since 1956, The Silver Skillet serves a classic Southern breakfast with exactly zero frills. The restaurant is packed every morning with city dwellers, college students, and nearby office workers and hotel guests regardless of the day of the week.

The Silver Skillet the silver skillet/facebook

3. Majestic Diner

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1031 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 875-0276
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The Majestic on Ponce de Leon has been soaking up Atlanta’s booze since 1929. The restaurant is open 24/7 and serves up strong coffee with diner classics like steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy, grilled cheese and fries, and the Ponce dog piled high with chili, cheese, and onions. It’s a popular stop for tourists and locals seeking comfort food; especially in the wee hours of the morning. Take visitors to the city on a crawl of the restaurants and bars along Ponce, too.

Majestic Diner

4. Clermont Lounge

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789 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 874-4783
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This iconic strip bar located in the basement of the newly-renovated Hotel Clermont on Ponce is a frequent stop for tourists and locals. And, it has been for over 50 years now. The dubious vice den is where to head for cheap PBR and shots and a peep show filled with aging strippers; including everyone’s favorite, Blondie. Watch the Atlanta living legend crush a few beer cans between her breasts. Two rules to abide by at the Clermont: no touching the entertainers and absolutely no photos allowed.

5. Mary Mac's Tea Room

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224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 876-1800
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If the topic is Atlanta’s best fried chicken, Mary Mac’s on Ponce has to be one of the top contenders in the city. The restaurant has plenty of experience, too. It’s been serving traditional Southern fare for more than 70 years to tourists seeking an infusion of Southern hospitality as well as locals coming in for sweet tea and fried chicken after church.

Mary Mac's Tea Room, which dates to 1945.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room, which dates to 1945.
Matthew Wong/Eater Atlanta

6. Ponce City Market

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Ponce City Market
Atlanta, GA 30308

Once home to Sears, Roebuck, & Co. and City Hall East, Ponce City Market (PCM) just off the Eastside Beltline is now Atlanta’s newest tourist destination. The ground floor food hall is home to several restaurants owned by Atlanta’s most notable chefs like chef Linton Hopkins’ Hop’s Chicken, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp and Pancake Social from Bacchanalia’s chef Anne Quatrano, and chef Hector Santiago’s Latin sandwich bar El Super Pan. On the roof, there’s a mini amusement park called Skyline Park along with a full-service restaurant 9 Mile Station and cocktail bar RFD Social in the tower. On weekdays, PCM is full of nearby residents and office dwellers grabbing lunch or dinner. However, locals generally avoid PCM on the weekends when the market becomes overrun with tourists.

Ponce City Market
[Photo: Sara Dorio]

7. The Varsity

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61 North Avenue NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 881-1706
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The Varsity is likely Atlanta’s biggest dining tourist attraction. It still offers the most famous hot dog in the city. And, some locals are willing to brave the crowds for it—even on the weekends. Opened in 1928, the restaurant has served just about everyone. That includes a few presidents like Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama, as well as movie stars like Clark Gable and business tycoons such as Warren Buffett. When the car hop asks, “What’ll ya have”, the answer is a chili dog with a frosted orange.

The Varsity

8. The Vortex

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438 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 688-1828
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Lines form early to get into the The Vortex in Little Five Points on the weekends. Some of this is due to suburbanites heading into L5P on weekends to do a little people-watching and vintage clothing shopping. But, there are locals here, too, who come for the lack of children (the bar is 21 and up) and Atlanta’s most outrageous burger. For those daring enough, order the Triple Bypass: three patties, three fried eggs, 14 slices of American cheese, 10 slices of bacon, two grilled-cheese sandwiches serving as buns. Vortex also has a location in Midtown with a comedy club, the Laughing Skull Lounge. Both bars are now non-smoking.

The Vortex in Little Five Points

9. Hattie B's Hot Chicken - Atlanta, GA

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299 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(678) 888-4884
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Opened last year in a former 1950s Phillips 66 gas station in Little Five Points, Nashville’s popular Hattie B’s and its hot chicken still generate long lines daily. Prepare for six levels of hot chicken heat here: Southern (no heat), mild, medium, hot, damn hot to the daredevil’s dream, and Shut the Cluck Up. The menu offers sides like the oft-ordered pimento mac and cheese and banana pudding for dessert.

10. Trader Vic's

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Hilton Atlanta, 255 Courtland St NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 221-6339
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Few restaurants in Atlanta give diners of today a window into the past quite like Trader Vic’s. Opened in 1976 in the basement of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, the interior hasn’t changed in its 42-year history. The half-off mai tai cocktails still draw a crowd on Thursday nights. The restaurant is often full of tourists and Atlanta residents seeking an infusion of vintage, Polynesian pop culture paired with strong tiki drinks. Fun fact: Atlanta is home to one of two Trader Vic’s remaining in the United States, and the only one still associated with Hilton hotels.

Trader Vic’s

11. Polaris

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265 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 460-6425
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The iconic blue dome restaurant Polaris first opened in 1967 atop the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Atlanta before shuttering in 2004 for a decade. The revolving restaurant underwent a total redesign and reopened in 2014 for dinner, drinks, and some serious views of the city skyline.

Polaris Matthew Wong

12. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

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1238 DeKalb Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 577-4030
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Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, on the border between Candler Park and Little Five Points, is probably the only restaurant on this list where the line between tourist trap and local hangout simply doesn’t exist. There’s never not a line at Fox Bros., and that line is filled with everyone from nearby residents to suburbanites to tourists to barbecue enthusiasts from across the country. Fox Bros. is just good food and good vibes. Period. Grab Texas-style barbecue, tater tots covered in chili and cheese, massive short ribs, and Frito pie here.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

13. Hsu's Gourmet

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192 Peachtree Center Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 659-2788
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This family-owned and run Chinese restaurant has been a downtown staple since 1989. Located in Peachtree Center, Hsu’s is easily walkable from several area hotels and can accommodate large groups. The menu offers everything from lo mein and pan-fried noodles to spicy basil chicken and salt and pepper shrimp. But, come here for the three-course Peking duck, served with soup, Chinese crepe, and the star attraction, the crispy roast duck in a sweetly salted honey soy sauce. It feeds two. Open for lunch and dinner.

Hsu’s

14. Sun Dial

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210 Peachtree St NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 589-7506
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The iconic Sun Dial restaurant atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza gives diners a birds-eye view of the city skyline from 723 feet above the street. The restaurant often caters to hotel guests and locals seeking a truly unique Atlanta experience. The Sun Dial has played host to many an anniversary, birthday celebration, and several sky-high marriage proposals.

Sun Dial

15. Busy Bee Cafe

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810 Martin Luther King Junior Drive Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30314
(404) 525-9212
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Most Atlantans wouldn’t qualify Busy Bee Cafe as a tourist destination, simply a much-loved, decades-old restaurant for great soul food. Over the years, visitors to the city have also discovered this Atlanta institution. The restaurant recently garnered national attention through the Netflix show “Ugly Delicious” with chef David Chang. In business since 1947, this Vine City staple serves some of Atlanta’s best fried chicken alongside an assortment of other meat-and-three staples. It’s always packed, so be prepared to wait. Busy Bee is opening its second location downtown next year.

Busy Bee Cafe

16. Chick-fil-A Hapeville Dwarf House

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461 N Central Ave
Hapeville, GA 30354
(404) 762-1746
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The Dwarf House in Hapeville is where it all began for the Atlanta-based fast food chain Chick-fil-A back in 1946. But, this isn’t just any old Chick-fil-A. The Dwarf House includes a full-service restaurant serving an expanded menu filled with burgers, sandwiches, an all-day breakfast, and their most notable dish, the open-faced Hot Brown sandwich. The Chick-fil-A hot brown is served with chicken rather than turkey, bacon, and a whole lot of cheese. Sorry, it’s still closed on Sundays.

Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Hapeville
Chick-fil-A Dwarf House

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1. The Battery Atlanta

800 Battery Ave SE #130, Atlanta, GA 30339

Located beyond the gates of Braves SunTrust Park, the Battery Atlanta complex with its shops, restaurants, and hotels was built with visitors in mind. Restaurants like Ford Fry’s The El Felix for Tex-Mex, Latin sandwich shop El Super Pan, C. Ellet’s steakhouse and oyster bar, Antico Pizza, and Garden & Gun Club for Southern bites and cocktails are popular dining choices for locals and visitors regardless of whether there’s a game or a concert at the park.

800 Battery Ave SE #130
Atlanta, GA 30339

2. Silver Skillet

200 14th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
The Silver Skillet the silver skillet/facebook

In business since 1956, The Silver Skillet serves a classic Southern breakfast with exactly zero frills. The restaurant is packed every morning with city dwellers, college students, and nearby office workers and hotel guests regardless of the day of the week.

200 14th St NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

3. Majestic Diner

1031 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Majestic Diner

The Majestic on Ponce de Leon has been soaking up Atlanta’s booze since 1929. The restaurant is open 24/7 and serves up strong coffee with diner classics like steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy, grilled cheese and fries, and the Ponce dog piled high with chili, cheese, and onions. It’s a popular stop for tourists and locals seeking comfort food; especially in the wee hours of the morning. Take visitors to the city on a crawl of the restaurants and bars along Ponce, too.

1031 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306

4. Clermont Lounge

789 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

This iconic strip bar located in the basement of the newly-renovated Hotel Clermont on Ponce is a frequent stop for tourists and locals. And, it has been for over 50 years now. The dubious vice den is where to head for cheap PBR and shots and a peep show filled with aging strippers; including everyone’s favorite, Blondie. Watch the Atlanta living legend crush a few beer cans between her breasts. Two rules to abide by at the Clermont: no touching the entertainers and absolutely no photos allowed.

789 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306

5. Mary Mac's Tea Room

224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Mary Mac's Tea Room, which dates to 1945.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room, which dates to 1945.
Matthew Wong/Eater Atlanta

If the topic is Atlanta’s best fried chicken, Mary Mac’s on Ponce has to be one of the top contenders in the city. The restaurant has plenty of experience, too. It’s been serving traditional Southern fare for more than 70 years to tourists seeking an infusion of Southern hospitality as well as locals coming in for sweet tea and fried chicken after church.

224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

6. Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market, Atlanta, GA 30308
Ponce City Market
[Photo: Sara Dorio]

Once home to Sears, Roebuck, & Co. and City Hall East, Ponce City Market (PCM) just off the Eastside Beltline is now Atlanta’s newest tourist destination. The ground floor food hall is home to several restaurants owned by Atlanta’s most notable chefs like chef Linton Hopkins’ Hop’s Chicken, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp and Pancake Social from Bacchanalia’s chef Anne Quatrano, and chef Hector Santiago’s Latin sandwich bar El Super Pan. On the roof, there’s a mini amusement park called Skyline Park along with a full-service restaurant 9 Mile Station and cocktail bar RFD Social in the tower. On weekdays, PCM is full of nearby residents and office dwellers grabbing lunch or dinner. However, locals generally avoid PCM on the weekends when the market becomes overrun with tourists.

Ponce City Market
Atlanta, GA 30308

7. The Varsity

61 North Avenue NW, Atlanta, GA 30308
The Varsity

The Varsity is likely Atlanta’s biggest dining tourist attraction. It still offers the most famous hot dog in the city. And, some locals are willing to brave the crowds for it—even on the weekends. Opened in 1928, the restaurant has served just about everyone. That includes a few presidents like Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama, as well as movie stars like Clark Gable and business tycoons such as Warren Buffett. When the car hop asks, “What’ll ya have”, the answer is a chili dog with a frosted orange.

61 North Avenue NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

8. The Vortex

438 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
The Vortex in Little Five Points

Lines form early to get into the The Vortex in Little Five Points on the weekends. Some of this is due to suburbanites heading into L5P on weekends to do a little people-watching and vintage clothing shopping. But, there are locals here, too, who come for the lack of children (the bar is 21 and up) and Atlanta’s most outrageous burger. For those daring enough, order the Triple Bypass: three patties, three fried eggs, 14 slices of American cheese, 10 slices of bacon, two grilled-cheese sandwiches serving as buns. Vortex also has a location in Midtown with a comedy club, the Laughing Skull Lounge. Both bars are now non-smoking.

438 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

9. Hattie B's Hot Chicken - Atlanta, GA

299 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Opened last year in a former 1950s Phillips 66 gas station in Little Five Points, Nashville’s popular Hattie B’s and its hot chicken still generate long lines daily. Prepare for six levels of hot chicken heat here: Southern (no heat), mild, medium, hot, damn hot to the daredevil’s dream, and Shut the Cluck Up. The menu offers sides like the oft-ordered pimento mac and cheese and banana pudding for dessert.

299 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

10. Trader Vic's

Hilton Atlanta, 255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Trader Vic’s

Few restaurants in Atlanta give diners of today a window into the past quite like Trader Vic’s. Opened in 1976 in the basement of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, the interior hasn’t changed in its 42-year history. The half-off mai tai cocktails still draw a crowd on Thursday nights. The restaurant is often full of tourists and Atlanta residents seeking an infusion of vintage, Polynesian pop culture paired with strong tiki drinks. Fun fact: Atlanta is home to one of two Trader Vic’s remaining in the United States, and the only one still associated with Hilton hotels.

Hilton Atlanta, 255 Courtland St NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

11. Polaris

265 Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA 30303
Polaris Matthew Wong

The iconic blue dome restaurant Polaris first opened in 1967 atop the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Atlanta before shuttering in 2004 for a decade. The revolving restaurant underwent a total redesign and reopened in 2014 for dinner, drinks, and some serious views of the city skyline.

265 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30303

12. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

1238 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, on the border between Candler Park and Little Five Points, is probably the only restaurant on this list where the line between tourist trap and local hangout simply doesn’t exist. There’s never not a line at Fox Bros., and that line is filled with everyone from nearby residents to suburbanites to tourists to barbecue enthusiasts from across the country. Fox Bros. is just good food and good vibes. Period. Grab Texas-style barbecue, tater tots covered in chili and cheese, massive short ribs, and Frito pie here.

1238 DeKalb Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

13. Hsu's Gourmet

192 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Hsu’s

This family-owned and run Chinese restaurant has been a downtown staple since 1989. Located in Peachtree Center, Hsu’s is easily walkable from several area hotels and can accommodate large groups. The menu offers everything from lo mein and pan-fried noodles to spicy basil chicken and salt and pepper shrimp. But, come here for the three-course Peking duck, served with soup, Chinese crepe, and the star attraction, the crispy roast duck in a sweetly salted honey soy sauce. It feeds two. Open for lunch and dinner.

192 Peachtree Center Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

14. Sun Dial

210 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
Sun Dial

The iconic Sun Dial restaurant atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza gives diners a birds-eye view of the city skyline from 723 feet above the street. The restaurant often caters to hotel guests and locals seeking a truly unique Atlanta experience. The Sun Dial has played host to many an anniversary, birthday celebration, and several sky-high marriage proposals.

210 Peachtree St NW
Atlanta, GA 30303

15. Busy Bee Cafe

810 Martin Luther King Junior Drive Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30314
Busy Bee Cafe

Most Atlantans wouldn’t qualify Busy Bee Cafe as a tourist destination, simply a much-loved, decades-old restaurant for great soul food. Over the years, visitors to the city have also discovered this Atlanta institution. The restaurant recently garnered national attention through the Netflix show “Ugly Delicious” with chef David Chang. In business since 1947, this Vine City staple serves some of Atlanta’s best fried chicken alongside an assortment of other meat-and-three staples. It’s always packed, so be prepared to wait. Busy Bee is opening its second location downtown next year.

810 Martin Luther King Junior Drive Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30314

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16. Chick-fil-A Hapeville Dwarf House

461 N Central Ave, Hapeville, GA 30354
Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Hapeville
Chick-fil-A Dwarf House

The Dwarf House in Hapeville is where it all began for the Atlanta-based fast food chain Chick-fil-A back in 1946. But, this isn’t just any old Chick-fil-A. The Dwarf House includes a full-service restaurant serving an expanded menu filled with burgers, sandwiches, an all-day breakfast, and their most notable dish, the open-faced Hot Brown sandwich. The Chick-fil-A hot brown is served with chicken rather than turkey, bacon, and a whole lot of cheese. Sorry, it’s still closed on Sundays.

461 N Central Ave
Hapeville, GA 30354

Related Maps