The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Boxcar, Lazy Betty, and Pancake Social

3 reviews in 3 minutes

Beet carpaccio

Photograph courtesy of Brian Manley

The BeltLine-adjacent Lee + White development in West End has been dubbed “Malt Disney” for its high concentration of boozy attractions. First came Monday Night Brewing’s tasting room, the Garage. ASW Distillery’s tasting room recently opened, and there are two new hophead destinations (from Wild Heaven Beer and Best End Brewing) on the way. Fortunately, Boxcar came along in March, offering gastropub fare for soaking up all those suds. Located directly above its sister retail outpost, the Hop City Beer bottle shop, Boxcar’s loft-like space is decked out with exposed brick, blond wood, a massive patio, a bustling indoor-outdoor bar, and light fixtures fashioned out of (wait for it) beer barrels. Boxcar unsurprisingly boasts 28 craft beers on tap and, more surprisingly, an ambitious menu of dishes small, large, and handheld. The food can get a little too ambitious at times. The boneless chicken is overfried and only slightly redeemed by the perfectly blistered shishitos and tangy yuzu mayo. The Lobstah Roll is a celery-overloaded snooze. Instead, order the luscious beet carpaccio salad with fennel, frisee, and fennel-caper gremolata—and, for absorbing that third IPA, a soft-baked pretzel and an extra order of sweet potato fries. 1000 White Street, 470-788-8171

Lazy Betty
Lazy Betty will draw inevitable comparisons to Staplehouse—it’s a tasting-menu restaurant with a hip aesthetic in a part of town (in this case, Candler Park) that has never seen a restaurant like it. Executive chef/co-owner Ron Hsu and partner/chef de cuisine Aaron Philips are both alums of Le Bernardin, the three-Michelin-star Manhattan restaurant. But Hsu flawlessly interweaves his modest roots (he’s the son of immigrants who ran local Chinese restaurants) throughout the restaurant’s high-end menu. This is food that’s not only worth its price tag—$165 for 10 courses, $125 for seven—it’s also food that manages to have fun. On a recent menu, the Duo of Salmon was actually a single piece that was gently poached on the bottom and raw on top. Rising up from a Parmesan-lemon broth, it was as soft and stunning as a Botticelli. 1530 DeKalb Avenue, 404-975-3692

Pancake Social Atlanta menu
Corn pancakes with blueberry compote

Photograph courtesy of Pancake Social

Pancake Social
It’s one thing to wait 30 minutes for brunch. It’s another thing to wait 30 minutes in line for brunch. And wait in line you will, if you choose to visit Pancake Social anytime close to brunch hour. Fortunately, the new Ponce City Market restaurant from the inimitable Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Floataway Cafe, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp) serves pancakes—and bowls and sandwiches—all day, every day. Whether you want to eat pancakes at 5 p.m. is up to you. As for whether they’re worth the wait at 9 a.m. on a Sunday, we will begrudgingly admit that they are. The Big Pecan-Praline Stack is accurately named—it looks like a not-that-small layer cake. It tastes a little like a layer cake, too—though the cornbread-like pancakes are undersweetened so as not to compete with the show-stopping pecan-praline syrup. The savory Dutch Baby Pancake arrives in a cast-iron skillet, pillowing soft slices of baked apple and gooey Gruyère. You can also go for straight-up buttermilk with Vermont maple syrup, among other options. And once the restaurant starts serving Gin-Ginger Rickies and Bitter Spritzes (liquor license coming soon), maybe that wait won’t be such a drag. 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 678-609-8696

This article appears in our June 2019 issue.