I had to attend a training in Atlanta in August -- which, for a Northerner, is punishment. Add to that the requisite lodging at a big-name hotel with an overpriced lunch buffet. Thank goodness for a rental car, per diem, and a lunch break just long enough to drive two miles and discover this hidden gem. Its unobtrusive exterior, set amidst railroad tracks and a soon-to-be-gentrified neighborhood, belied the culinary treat that awaited us inside.
I went to the café the second day of my week in Atlanta, and returned every day, bringing my classmates along. Every one of us raved about the food. The café is a popular lunchtime hub for Delta employees who work at the nearby headquarters, so the lines are understandably long. Fortunately, the prep cooks and counter staff work at lightning speed, and the line moves swiftly. Chef Eileen frequently steps out of the kitchen and greets the customers, extending an extroverted welcome and assurance that she is keeping a close eye on her staff (her attention to quality is nothing short of meticulous).
The menu, which can be found on the café web page, is diverse and delicious. My classmates' lunches consisted of sandwiches on crusty baguettes, chicken salad, quiche, crepes, and salads with abundant fresh produce. All looked amazing, and received rave reviews. But because I was lured in by beautifully decadent desserts, I opted for soup every day to cut some travel calories. My favorite: brisk gazpacho with a secret hidden spice (French basil). At the risk of being in an "eating rut," I ordered this for three consecutive meals. But the crème de la crème was, of course, the desserts. They were oddly conservatively-priced for the quality ($4.50 for a generously exquisite piece of Victorian sponge cake, piled high with fresh crème and raspberries).
Since my visit, I've been wrestling with a dilemma: I want to return to eat there again and again, but don't have any strong desire to visit Atlanta. We'll see what the future brings ... but if you have plans to be in Atlanta, do not miss this café.
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