Atlanta has plenty of restaurants that have what you need when you’re craving an experience that’s a little out of the ordinary:
The Big Chicken
Marietta’s favorite roadside landmark, The Big Chicken had closed for renovation momentarily but reopened in May with a fresh coat of paint, two new patios, a screened-in porch, more square footage in the dining room, and a shiny new sign out front. Built in 1963 for a restaurant called Johnny Reb’s Chick-Chuck-‘N’-Shake, the 56-foot-tall steel-sided chicken structure, designed by Georgia Tech architectural student, changed ownership to a man who turned the restaurant location into a KFC franchise. Inside it’s just a regular, but roomy, KFC. It even appears the remodel removed the giant chicken legs that straddled the dining room. But that’s okay – it’s the giant chicken on the outside that really matters because if locals can’t tell you to turn at The Big Chicken, then how will you know where to turn?
Hours: Sun-Sat: 10 am – 11 pm
Chick-fil-A Dwarf House
Chick-fil-A began when founder S. Truett Cathy and his brother Ben opened a diner in Hapeville called The Dwarf Grill, which was later renamed The Dwarf House. The success of that restaurant led Cathy to open the first Chick-fil-A in the Greenbriar Shopping Center. Chick-fil-A has 12 Dwarf Houses in the metro Atlanta area, each one with waitstaff and a full menu that includes hamburgers, steak, and Southern-style sides in addition to the famed chicken sandwich. The restaurant facade has a cottage feel and a small “dwarf” sized door that you can enter through (there’s a regular sized door around the side). The inside is split into the diner with the wait service and the typical Chick-fil-A dining room.
Hours: M: 6 am – 12 am; T-F: 12 am – 12 am; Sat: 12 am – 10 pm
The Vortex Bar and Grill (for 21 and over only) was opened by three siblings in 1992. Both the original location in Midtown and the second location in Little Five Points are decked out with kooky and often raunchy decorations. The Little Five Points location is an Atlanta landmark with its 20-foot “Laughing Skull” facade over the front door. The Vortex is known for having the best burgers in Atlanta, particularly their Coronary burgers (classic, bypass, double bypass, triple bypass, and quadruple bypass), which are topped with cheese, fried egg, bacon, mayo, and Texas toast, and the bypasses are served on top of a mound of cheesey fries with bacon bits. It’s ridiculously massive and undeniably delicious.
Midtown Hours: M-Th: 11 am – 1 am; F-Sat: 11 am – 3 am; Sun: 11 an – 12 am
Little Five Points Hours: Sun-Th: 11 am – 12 am; F-Sat: 11 am – 2 am
What’s your favorite Atlanta restaurant? Give me recommendations in the comments!