No. 4: Holeman and Finch Public House
Oink. At its essence, Holeman and Finch exists to serve you pork. Sure, you can scarf down rabbit livers, lamb heart, lamb testicles, or veal brains—and, to be fair, a whole menu section revolves around vegetables. But the restaurant excels at perfecting the pig, be it cured or preserved in half a dozen forms, including smoked lardo (that’s fatback to you, Bubba), and paired with rare cheeses on a fetching platter; made into pork rinds punched up with salt and vinegar; twirled into pasta carbonara as guanciale (aged pork jowl); or as beloved bacon paired with poached farm egg, nestled into a salad, or added as a jolt of salt to caramel popcorn. There is, of course, that famous burger, served at 10 p.m. and at Sunday brunch. Honestly, I’ve moved on to the housemade beef hot dog available anytime.
Except on quiet Mondays, this sixty-seat renegade crams customers into its small dining room and smaller bar nightly. Partners-bartenders Greg Best, Andy Minchow, and Regan Smith—who run Holeman and Finch with Restaurant Eugene’s Linton and Gina Hopkins—sought to open the place where they longed to hang after work, somewhere that served equally excellent food and drinks well past standard closing hours. (The kitchen serves until 1:30 a.m. every day but Sunday.) Well-made cocktails abound in Atlanta, but this is a crew of alchemists.
By cooking dishes and mixing cocktails they love without conceding to populist tastes, the owners have inspired a generation of food-savvy pubs and broadened the public palate. It’s one of the city’s most heartening success stories.
What not to drink? These mixologists can make a concoction of rye whiskey, Bonal (an herbal aperitif), Galliano (a bright yellow Italian liqueur), and angostura bitters taste as natural together as tea and lemon. If it isn't packed, relay your preferences to a bartender or server and they'll devise a libation to your taste. Otherwise, trust the cocktail list. Don't overlook the tightly edited wine selection, with more than a dozen bottles priced under $40.
Photograph by Alex Martinez