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Elliott Street Deli & Pub
The idea of Kate Hudson filming at the Elliott Street Deli & Pub—a place so tiny and eccentric that few people outside the Castleberry Hill neighborhood even know it exists—astonishes. When Indian director Mira Nair came to town this past winter to shoot an adaptation of Moshin Hamid’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” a love story between a Pakistani hero and the American woman (played by Hudson) he left behind, she picked one of Atlanta’s most secret places as a location for a narrative flashback set in New York.
There is no place in Atlanta like this minuscule pub, which opened in 2006 in a former jazz club once known as Dee’s Bird Cage. If you launched a paper airplane from Downtown’s old Southern Railway Building, across a wasteland of bulldozed earth and twisted metal, it would likely sail to this lone building near the construction site for the Mitchell Street Bridge replacement project. Brothers Peter and Michael Jakob, who live upstairs and run an iron foundry in the back, operate the pub. Though they are both former contractors who have built much fancier bars for others, they kept the gritty look of this space, which resembles a blue-collar dive somewhere in Milwaukee or Scranton. The kitchen is just a nook, with a manual meat slicer and a small counter to make delicious sandwiches, the house specialty. Peter takes charge of the food, Michael serves the drinks, and rollicking conversation ricochets around the L-shaped bar.
I adore the way the freshly made sandwiches are bundled in butcher paper: You just unwrap your Dirty Bird in Blue (mesquite-smoked turkey breast, Swiss, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, chunky blue cheese), French Dip, or all-beef hot dog and start eating. Don’t even think about asking for a plate. Imported ales and Moscow mules served in traditional metal mugs come as a surprise in a place where every seat is cracked and pinned dollar bills make up the extent of the decorating scheme. But a cool jazz combo squeezed into one corner or “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” playing on the telly attests to the brothers’ eclectic tastes. To support their love of the arts, they recently completed a new venue downstairs and plan to book music, dance, burlesque acts, and exhibits worthy of their storied neighborhood.