Food & Drink

The 9 Things You Have to Eat in Atlanta This Summer

Published On 07/06/2015 Published On 07/06/2015

The season that gives Atlanta its horrible nickname has only just begun, but you've already got lots of things to do, from road trips to hitting the city's best summertime date spots, and doing said lots of things will require energy, so we've thoughtfully identified nine calorie-filled things you've gotta eat in the ATL this summer... 

Georgia white shrimp

The Optimist (address and info)
While the city may be landlocked, you can still feel -- and eat -- like you’re seaside at The Optimist, which has been touted as serving up Atlanta’s best seafood. You be the judge, but its incredibly fresh, massive peel-and-eat Georgia shrimp with tangy comeback sauce and sopping toast sure does make a convincing case.

Brook Bolen/Thrillist

A grilled lemongrass chicken bánh mì

We Suki Suki (address and info)
East Atlanta
This East Atlanta hole-in-the-wall enjoys a cult following for good reason: each of its toasted baguette-based sandwiches is smeared with Sriracha mayo and then stuffed with cool pickled veggies, fresh herbs, and tender, juicy meats like lemongrass chicken, providing bright explosions of flavor.

Andrew Thomas Lee/Kimball House

Raw oysters

Kimball House (address and info)
So it’s not technically in Atlanta, but who cares? Set in the former Decatur train depot, Kimball House pays sophisticated homage to the art of old-school drinking and dining. With a rotating, seasonally based menu and killer craft cocktail menu -- including an absinthe service -- everything is on point. But it’s the silky, impossibly delicious, melt-in-your-mouth raw oysters that simply can’t be missed.

Queen of Cream 

Ice cream

Queen of Cream (address and info)
Multiple locations
From toppings to the ice cream itself, everything Queen of Cream serves from its signature yellow cart and umbrella is 100% handmade from scratch using local ingredients and dairy products. Even better: there's a storefront coming to Old Fourth Ward!

Brook Bolen/Thrillist

A popsicle

King of Pops (address and info)
Multiple locations
The popsicles King of Pops makes are way more than the frozen, chemical-laden primary colors on a stick that you loved as a kid: they’re fresh and all-natural edible works of art. With rotating flavors like chocolate sea salt and honeydew lime zest, your only concern will be eating it slowly enough to avoid brain freeze.

Victory Sandwich Bar

A Jack and Coke slushie

Victory Sandwich Bar (address and info)
Inman Park
Yes, this place has serious sandwiches and snacks, but there are really only four words you need to concern yourself with: Jack and Coke slushie. When thick, icy Coca-Cola meets smooth, smoky Jack Daniel's, it’s the most refreshing, thirst-quenching buzz you’ve ever had. No wonder they claim it’s world famous.

The Spotted Trotter 

All-beef hot dogs

The Spotted Trotter (address and info)
Summertime means grilling out. If you know what’s good for you, head to this boutique charcuterie now and grab some of its sausages, which, like everything else, are made in-house. And these folks don’t just use the freshest local ingredients, they marinate each batch before grinding for the most flavorful franks you’ve ever had the pleasure of cramming into your mouth.

Oddbird/Matt Wong

A hot chicken biscuit

Oddbird (address and info)
One of Atlanta’s newest pop-ups, this restaurant-in-a-restaurant takes over West Egg Cafe Wednesday through Saturday nights, bringing mouthwateringly good fried chicken and Nashville hot chicken biscuits, sandwiches, and waffles with it. It also has beer, cocktails, and homemade pie. Pair the hot chicken on a light, flaky biscuit with a beer and you’ll really be living.

Brook Bolen/Thrillist 

A Cremolatta

Lottafrutta (address and info)
Old Fourth Ward 
This cozy and quirky spot serves up sandwiches, salads, and interesting candies, but it’s its Latin American fruteria-inspired fruit cups that will really rock your world. Full of plump grapes, sweet sliced strawberries, juicy chunks of honeydew and watermelon, bananas, and papaya beneath a pillow of silky homemade coconut crema, you will lick the cup for every last taste. Don’t worry, everyone else does, too.

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Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. The Optimist 914 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318 (West Atlanta)

The Optimist proudly brings premier sustainable seafood to Midtown Atlanta. The airy, modern, minimalist spot specializes in oysters, with over ten varieties from the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic, and Canada available on the half shell. Coastal, regional dishes (gumbo, clam chowder, fish& chips) make up the rest of the menu. For an after dinner treat, knock out a round of putt-putt on the restaurant's on-site course.

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2. We Suki Suki 479 Flat Shoals Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316 (East Atlanta)

We Suki Suki is a simple Vietnamese sandwich shop in East Atlanta Village slinging creative banh mi that rival those found along Buford Highway. Expect traditional lemongrass chicken and pork-and-paté sandwiches, plus the house favorite made with tofu and eggplant. While the so-called Saigon-style subs are the main lure of We Suki Suki, a small selection of pho (available with beef, chicken, or mushroom & tofu) is available, but only for dine-in service (and for good reason -- noodles and broth taste best right when they're served).

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3. Kimball House 303 E Howard Ave, Decatur, GA 30030 (Decatur)

Located on the former site of an old train depot on the south side of Decatur, Kimball House is a nationally lauded French restaurant and cocktail bar. Libations at this decidedly plush spot include modern, made to order reinventions of the classics, and a full service absinthe bar. High end fare like caviar, filet mignon and a raw bar are menu standouts -- but if you want the luxe experience without getting too spendy, stop in Monday through Friday from 5-7pm for $1 to $1.50 oysters.

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4. Victory Sandwich Bar 913 Bernina Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Inman Park)

This sandwich-slinging joint's got a hell of a lot more going for it than its smoky and spicy Italian-inspired creations (like the sassy Cowabunga Dude that packs pepperoni, salami, pepperoncini, mozzarella, and tomato all into one sandwich). Victory also boasts a ping-pong table -- complete with an electronic scoreboard akin to those found in high school gyms -- and its self-proclaimed "world-famous" Jack Coke slushie that makes the Tennessee whiskey taste more refreshing than you'd ever imagine.

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5. The Spotted Trotter 1610 Hosea L Williams Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30317 (Kirkwood)

The Spotted Trotter is your neighborhood boutique charcuterie (because every neighborhood needs one). Everything is made in-house and from the freshest local ingredients.

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6. Oddbird 1100 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318 (Midtown)

Oddbird is a fried chicken focused pop-up open from 5:30-9pm every Wed-Sat inside West Egg Cafe. Offering up four varieties of both chicken biscuits (topped with spicy honey, laid with sharp cheddar) and sandwiches, plus pies (sorghum pecan, bourbon chocolate pudding), and, to top it all off, beer.

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7. Lottafrutta 590 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Built in the image of fruteria-style street carts stationed across Cuba, Ecuador and Latin America, this colorful, upbeat eatery is all about fresh, seasonal goods. The place serves eclectic fruit cups, crammed with juicy chunks of honeydew and watermelon, ripened banana-bits, sliced sugar-dusted strawberries and seasonal treats like pineapple, mango and guava -- all topped with a generous dollop of pillowy homemade coconut crema. Made with the same cast of gloriously fresh fruits and creams, the quirky joint offers a series of South-American-style smoothies, and for the hungrier crowds, there is a full roster of grilled Cuban sandwiches stuffed things like smoked ham, creamy havarti, and fresh avocado, pressed between slices of sweet Latin bread.