Visiting food halls is a popular pastime in our busy city, perfect for communal conversation over good food. Many award-winning chefs helm restaurants in Atlanta, and many have outposts at these halls.
Ponce City Market
Ever since Atlanta locals heard the first mention of Ponce City Market taking over the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building on Ponce de Leon Avenue, the excitement has grown. Now that it’s open, visitors can hop off the adjacent Atlanta BeltLine to sample the wares of the Central Food Hall.
Be sure to hit Biltong Bar, where Justin Anthony of restaurants 10 Degrees South and Yebo sells hand-held savory pies, organic beef jerky, South African wines and air-dried biltong.
The team behind the wildly popular Chai Pani in Decatur runs Botiwalla, handing out Indian street food like marsala tri-tip rolls grilled on charcoal and wrapped in naan, savory puris (puffed flour crisps) and pineapple turmeric soda.
El Super Pan marks the return of chef Hector Santiago, who serves Latin inspired sandwiches and house-made auguas tropicales.
Biscuits, old fashioned coleslaw and collards accompany fried chicken by the piece or in the sandwich at Hop’s Chicken, the creation of another local chef and James Beard Award-winner Linton Hopkins. Check out his space next door, H&F Burger, for one of the best burgers in town.
W.H. Styles Fish Camp reels in another James Beard Award winner, Chef Anne Quatrano, at her casual fish shack swimming with Po’ Boys, oysters and chowder.
The King of Pops Bar, selling the famous locally made ice pops in Poptail form, is not to be missed. Guinness and a chocolate sea salt pop? Well, sure. They make a mean grilled cheese, too.
Sweet Auburn Curb Market
Celebrating 100 years, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market started in 1918 in a large tent, selling produce from local farmers to the city citizens. Today, the market occupies the original Municipal Market building downtown, and you can still support farmers with many stalls dedicated to produce, seafood and meats.
Stop in at one of the eateries such as Grindhouse Killer Burgers, showing grindhouse movies projected on the wall above the bar and serving hand-spun milkshakes, crinkle fries and, of course, burgers.
Other places to eat include Sweet Auburn BBQ (slow cooked meat, Jamaican jerk collard greens and SweetWater honey beans, baked with local SweetWater 420 beer); Metro Deli & Soul Food (made to order sandwiches, cooked vegetables and Ethiopian-influenced dishes); and Afrodish Restaurant (curry chicken, plantains, beans and rice, and jerk chicken).
Top off your experience at Panbury’s Double Crust Pies or pick something tasty from the Sweet Auburn Bakery -- maybe a red velvet whoopie pie or sweet potato cheesecake.
Harry’s Caravaca Market
Puerto Rican chef, author and television and radio personality Harry Pagancoss has gathered the world right at your fingertips at Harry’s Caravaca Market in Midtown. Four stalls and the Provisions Market circle around communal tables for guests to experience good food and company. After Harry came to Atlanta, he landed a contract with Turner Broadcasting to film a travelogue show for Latin American countries. He decided to stay, and has turned his travels into a moveable feast for us.
The Taste Bar offers specials such as arroz con pollo and sausage cassoulet, as well as Peru-inspired ceviche and Venezuelan corn arepas. Pair any of these with a caipirinha or mojito for a well-rounded international meal. Settle on a sangria and a ham croqueta if you prefer. Order a savory and sweet breakfast Mallorca at the stall called Harry Bakes, with ham, provolone, egg, butter and powdered sugar dusting a Puerto Rican sweet roll. Medialunas -- sweet Argentinian crescent rolls -- are also filled with savory breakfast items. Don’t miss the decadent Guava Ecstasy Cake, paired perfectly with either an espresso, Americano or Cubano.
The Beer & Pizza Bar is where you’ll go to have a slice and a pint with a rotating array of craft beers and a delicious selection of various pizza styles. The Wine Bar offers wines from around the world in a European-style fashion, inviting conversation on a perfect evening or afternoon. Pick up ready-made sandwiches, and sauces, wines, chips, coffee, chocolate and even empanadas to go at the Provisions Market. Pagancoss says, “To me it is important to do something that gives, providing jobs and celebrating the city and the state of Georgia. Caravaca is a product of those principles I hold dear and I hope people will support us. I want Caravaca to be a beacon of uniqueness, goodness and celebration of not only our city but the diversity of the world.”
Krog Street Market
Gather at a communal table in Krog Street Market, a 1920s rehabilitated warehouse in Inman Park. Then, dig in to the carefully selected array of market stalls alongside a few Southern-grown restaurants and retailers. Gu’s Dumplings, run by celebrated Chef Gu and his wife, formerly of the beloved Gu’s Bistro on Buford Highway, provides a bountiful Szechuan experience with heaps of noodles and steaming dumplings. Craving a good fried chicken sandwich? You’ll want to go to Richards’ Southern Fried Hot Chicken for the mouthwatering version, perfectly seasoned and topped with pimiento cheese and pickles, served classic, hot or Richards’ hot.
The acclaimed Ticonderoga Club is open nightly (never Wednesday) and acts as a gathering place for schemes and revelry, and also sipping innovative cups. Order a Velvet Fog -- Belle Meade Bourbon, Bitter Bianco and French Vermouth -- to enjoy with throwback menu items of deviled ham snack, steak tartare, Cobb salad and sweet and sour charred pork.
Top off your trip to Krog Street Market at Little Tart Bakeshop, serving pastries and tarts, galettes and sables with local and organic ingredients, and also a full coffee bar with local Octane beans.
G.C. BBQ, Superica and Varuni Napoli and more all add to the difficulty you will have deciding what to eat.
The Canteen is a micro food hall in Midtown’s Technology Square comprised of three stalls -- TGM Bagel, Fred’s Meat & Bread, and Yalla -- also Square Bar, overlooking the plaza. The people behind the popular The General Muir opened this destination designed as a gathering place to serve the people who need it most: Georgia Tech college kids and office workers. Line up for chef Todd Ginsberg’s famous burgers at Fred’s Meat & Bread, as well as po’ boys, cheesesteaks and more. Pick up breakfast from TGM Bagel -- an egg salad or smoked salmon bagel sandwich sounds good -- or perhaps a lunch of matzoh ball soup and sandwiches on soft rolls. Yalla’s Mediterranean-focused stall tantalizes with plates of Israeli salad, falafel and a chicken shawarma bowl.
Square Bar greets the sunrise with pressed juices and energy shots (College kids, take note!) and then moves to frozen drinks, cocktails and other goodies later in the day.
Please check the websites for a complete list at each location.
Liesl Merkel is editor of Atlanta Now magazine, the official tourism magazine of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.