The Best New Cheap Eats in Atlanta


Instagrammer to follow: @realalesharpton
Dennis Malcolm Byron, aka Ale Sharpton, is—you guessed it—all about beer.

Photograph by Josh Meister

Sushi Burrito
Former Tomo chef Michael Rome Noe opened this fast-casual restaurant—a sleek space filled with communal tables—at Emory Point last October. Trendy poké bowls are on offer, but order the sushi burrito, which is like an oversized maki roll, wrapped tight in nori, and the best value on the menu. To enliven the spicy tuna, Noe adds some unusual ingredients: jicama, mango, avocado, and crispy fried onions. $101568 Avenue Place, 404-458-5518

Fried Noodles with Clams
Top Ramen
Despite the restaurant name, there’s nothing ramen-like about these thick Chinese-style noodles. Here, in a Duluth strip mall, the chef kneads his dough, followed by repeated thwacks on the counter; and then he stretches it, cat’s cradle-style, into strands that can reach two feet in length. Their best accompaniments, once cooked, are fresh clams, which come with scrambled egg whites and sautéed greens. $102180 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, 770-685-1633


Photograph by Josh Meister

Rising Son
Choose from a heaping portion of fried chicken, pork chops, or trout, then take your pick of seasonal vegetables like baby turnips, braised greens, and black-eyed peas—some grown by chef Hudson Rouse at his father-in-law’s farm plots in Stone Mountain and Rockdale County. Rounding out the platter are traditional sides like mac and cheese and crunchy french fries. And yes, there’s cornbread, too. $15124 North Avondale Road, 404-600-5297

Bottomless Mac and Cheese
Tupelo Honey Cafe
Atlanta’s outpost of this popular Asheville cafe opened last year, serving all-you-can-eat mac and cheese—made with orecchiette—every Thursday at dinner. Not too creamy, not too stiff, and delivered in individual cast-iron pans, the dish is offered in variations like Buffalo chicken or Green Goddess (with peas, spinach, and avocado). Ask for a second (or third) helping at no extra charge. $104600 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, 404-649-6334

“Pork” with Green Beans
At this modern, mostly vegan restaurant, the “meats” are made from soybeans and mushroom fibers. Go for thinly sliced, tender “pork” sautéed with squeaky-fresh snap peas or green beans and olives—a successful East-meets-West combination. $113780 Old Norcross Road, Duluth, 770-495-8828

Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles

Photograph by Josh Meister

Chicken and Waffles
Richards’ Southern Fried
You won’t see chicken and waffles on chef Todd Richards’s menu every day, but the kitchen will make them any time if you just ask. Richards mixes chopped, braised collard greens into the waffle batter and gets his birds from family-owned Springer Mountain Farms in North Georgia. Another thing to ask for: extra helpings of bourbon hot sauce. $1299 Krog Street, 678-732-9594

Ribeye Hot Pot
Tasty 21
Sometimes you just want everything on the menu, and with Korean-style hotpot, you can have it. Order a quarter pound of ribeye and you’ll also get a platter of rice noodles, egg, cabbage, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, and other veggies. Cook it all to your liking in a potful of broth set over your own personal electric burner. The restaurant is right next to Karaoke Melody, so make a night of it. $155979 Buford Highway, Doraville, 404-518-0143

Chopped Cheese
Illegal Food
The chopped cheese sandwich, a Harlem bodega staple, is the subject of much online fodder, including at least two rap videos. Some say the hyper-regional dish—chopped up beef patties with melted American cheese on a long roll—is influenced by Yemeni cuisine; others claim it was created thanks to a burger bun shortage. However it started, it’s now come to Atlanta. Illegal Food uses Brasstown Beef, American and Swiss cheeses, and Ratio Bakeshop hoagies, and it’s a gooey, delicious mess. $101044 Greenwood Avenue, 404-254-2141

This article originally appeared in our April 2017 issue.