Damn if Atlanta didn't go and turn itself into a bona fide pizza town when no one was looking. Pie fanatics could do a lot worse than booking a flight to Hartsfield-Jackson International and immersing themselves in our city's pizzascape for a few days.
Some of my top burgers in Atlanta are traditional in style; some stray toward my personal penchant for crazy. You don't have to agree with all my choices, but trust my palate enough to know that every burger on this list is worth seeking out, whether you're a lifelong ATLien or just passing through on a long layover.
Which fast food outlets have vanilla milkshakes that actually go beyond "boring, plain, and unexciting?" We picked nine nationwide chains, put our waistlines on the line, and braved the worst case of brain freeze in recorded history to find out. Here are our favorites.
Tucked in with a smoke shop, a car stereo dealer, and a vendor of coins and firearms, Campania is pumping out top 10 list-caliber pies and may just be the best-kept pizza secret in town. For now.
The Hank is one of those burgers you can't put down, for two reasons. One, you know you'll never get a decent handle on it again if you try to reposition it. Two, it's that outrageously spectacular.
The 'Influential' Burger (That Influences You to Order Chili Dogs Instead) at The Varsity in Atlanta
Two chalky-brown industrial patties wedged between a flattened bun that hadn't even been fully split, with cheese that's not really melting so much as drooping with sadness at being exiled to this travesty of burgerdom. How is this "influential"?
A glass (or a Styrofoam cup) of Real Ice Cream is just a milkshake; it's the mix-ins that supposedly make it a gourmet innovation. And that's where Sonic's new Master Blasts either sink or swim.
Ink & Elm is pretty up front about wanting to be both "casual" and "comfort-driven," yet "refined" and a "destination." That can be a tough twofer to pull off under one roof. So it's not surprising that Ink & Elm's signature burger has a little Jekyll-and-Hyde thing going on, too.
"Pizza is a social food. In this country, you call a friend and say, 'Let's go get a drink.' In Italy, we say, 'Let's get a pizza.'" Every single thing I ate at Don Antonio by Starita was well worth sharing with someone you care about. MY favorite pizza in Atlanta? I think I just found it.
While they're fancying up the bookends by going all ciabatta on you, Wendy's has also quietly upped their game with a few new toppings. It all makes for a tasty-as-hell-sounding burger, but the reality is far less impressive.
Taco Bell is back with two add-ons to their after dinner menu. And while one of them is an utter waste of time, money, and calories, the other has me secretly plotting my next run for the border.
There's a time and a place for the pizza-as-artform-with-a-capital-A gourmet pizza shrines out there... but sometimes you just want to chill on your couch with a sloppy, gooey, greasy, holy-crap-this-is-why-I-fell-in-love-with-pizza-when-I-was-7 kind of pie. And LaBella's does that better than most.
Thinly-sliced steak? Check. White cheese? Check. Onions and green peppers? Check—with even a slight bit of blackened blistering if you look closely. But I'm convinced that a huge part of my positive Philly experience came from the new bun.
I generally don't need a lot of overcomplicated bells and whistles gussying up my doughnuts. But a cheesecake doughnut... Has Krispy Kreme hit on the next big thing?
I enjoyed the food at Stax Burger Bar very much, but there's a residual odor that permeates this restaurant to the point that I can't just ignore it. My next visit will be in warmer weather so my nose can seek refuge on the sizable outdoor patio.
You can now safeguard your favorite ice cream flavor with a cleverly engineered working combination lock. No... really.
Don't get me wrong; I like a little kick, but this was a steel-toed boot being jammed straight up my taste buds. When I can still residually taste a pizza six hours and three tooth-brushings later, it's "too much."Suffice it to say, Slice & Pint is still—almost four months in—definitely a work in progress.
The Cherry Cricket is strictly a build-your-own burger place, with over 30 cheeses, toppings, and sauces—and exactly zero pre-designed kitchen creations to choose from. You'll find plenty of the usual suspects here, but also oddball options like cucumber slices, corned beef, and...grape jelly.
Some people don't like butterscotch. Those people are flawed to their core and should not be trusted. And they certainly have no business coming anywhere near this ice cream. It is butterscotch overload, and I mean that in the very best way possible.
While a quick glance may have you thinking that Stillhouse is a flash-in-the-pan gimmick destined to shut down once the next big thing comes along, there's actually quite a lot to like, for burger lovers and hooch heads alike.
Unless you're a diehard Big Mac fanatic, Zesto's Big Mac-like Chubby Decker would probably win a blind taste-test because it was cooked for you instead of just assembled. Otherwise, the food doesn't always live up to the legend; most who've grown up with Zesto give it something of a pass based on sheer nostalgia.
There's a cheese pizza that's delicious in its simplicity, but others showcase some spectacular and cheffy toppings. Ron Eyester may be "The Angry Chef," but what he's doing at Timone's should make pizza fanatics quite happy.
This is like doing a shot of straight wing sauce and then chasing it with an otherwise-nondescript-but-still-too-blue-cheesy fast-food burger.
Dave & Buster's feels like Chuck E. Cheese's for adults: it's a sports bar on steroids with an arcade on steroids. Yes, they serve food, but if you're looking for high-scoring burger goodness, your enjoyment here may be more virtual than reality.
Cinnabon is jumping onto the sweet-meets-savory bandwagon by adding salted caramel onto a new limited-time-only treat. For those who haven't been to a mall food court in a while, the chain already features an item called the Center of the Roll. It's essentially the inner mass of a standard Cinnabon, cut into bite-sized pieces, served in a cup, to be eaten with a fork.*
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