17. The Optimist


The Optimist
Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Between the outdoor turf lawn—fitted with mini-golf and occasionally a live band—and the indoor oyster bar where chefs work solely with cast-iron skillets and a wood-burning oven, you don’t even need the dinner menu to have a grand time at Ford Fry’s seafood sensation. Set in a wide-open factory warehouse, the gleaming, white-tiled kitchen runs on fish and seafood dishes with both New England (smoked fish chowder, whole haddock) and Southern (peel-and-eat shrimp, beignet hushpuppies) slants. Your ideal meal: the best lobster roll in the city, stuffed almost entirely with claw meat; wood-roasted oysters blanketed with lemon, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs; and, to drink, a pitcher (yes, a pitcher) of the tea-infused fish house punch.

Punch drunk
Inside the most addictive drink in Atlanta (pictured)

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon slices
  • Leopold’s Peach Whiskey
  • Brandy
  • Jamaican amber rum
  • Black tea

914 Howell Mill Road, 404-477-6260, theoptimistrestaurant.com

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