Waking up Saturday morning on the 14th floor of the W Hotel in Atlanta I had the distinct feeling of anticipation, akin to the one customary on Christmas morning. Radiohead would take the stage at Philips Arena in 10-hours. Between now and then I had nothing on my schedule but sun and fun.
Coffee was an absolute to get the body moving, but I quickly transitioned to vodka tonics. This was going to be an all day buzz, building to a crescendo for the evening activities. When implementing an early alcohol intake schedule, eating and hydration are key. Brunch was first on the agenda, and the destination was the Atlanta Breakfast Club.
With road beverages in hand, Maia and I set out for the Centennial Park District. It was maybe a 15 minute walk. Judging by the number of folks milling about in front of the restaurant, we had made the right call on this joint.
The wait was going to be 45 minutes, but we were in no hurry and besides this place was rumored to have outstanding biscuits. I left my cell number and downloaded the NoWait app, which allowed us to see how many parties remained in front of us waiting for tables, freeing us up to wander in search of a Bloody Mary.
A few blocks over by Philips Arena we discovered Der Biergarten, a second floor drinking oasis, constructed of exposed wood beams and overflowing with plants and greenery. It beckoned to walkers-by to take a seat at one of the family style picnic tables outside on the terrace to soak up the traditional German atmosphere. While beer was the obvious specialty the bartender had no problem concocting a hearty Bloody Mary for us to imbibe.
Once consumed we scooted back to the Atlanta Breakfast Club to find our table ready. This Southern style kitchen was a vibrant eatery, full of all varieties of nationalities and races, local and otherwise. One whole wall was a floor-to-ceiling chalk board, where diners could etch greetings or draw creatures. The exposed kitchen added to the exciting feel of the restaurant as chefs and waitstaff worked feverishly through the haze of orders.
As the hour of the day moved past AM to PM, Maia and I sided with lunch over breakfast, though the Crispy Fried Chicken & Waffles was hard to pass up. I had the Cajun Fried Shrimp Po-Boy, that came dressed with Creole mayo and field greens on a toasted roll. It overflowed with flavorful shrimp and proved substantial if not quite up to New Orleans standards where this style sandwich originated.
Maia’s dish of Gulf Shrimp & Grits was ridiculously spectacular. It came with the house specialty chicken sausage that was the best I’ve sampled. It had a pop and seasoning that held its own against the grits and smoked pepper gravy, but offered a lighter alternative to traditional andouille, and one that complemented the dish’s flavors.
I can’t say enough about the biscuits at the Atlanta Breakfast Club. They will change your life. Thick yet airy, golden brown, with a richness and sublime texture that melted in my mouth with butter and jam. We put down three orders, which our waiter said wasn’t something he saw often. He also happened to be kind enough to comp one of our biscuit orders.
With our appetites past satisfaction we bid adieu to our new favorite breakfast spot and set out to walk through Centennial Olympic Park in search of the Georgia Aquarium. There’s Whale Sharks on the horizon.
ATLANTA BREAKFAST CLUB | 249 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. | Atlanta, GA | 470.428.3825