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We thought this would be easy: Call a restaurant, ask them where they source their ingredients, and tally the miles. Turns out, tracing the farm-to-table distance of several of Atlanta’s “local” burgers isn’t so simple. See how they stack up.
I arrived at Holeman and Finch Public House on a recent Saturday at 7:30 p.m., expecting to wriggle through a surge of bodies to reach the bar. Since it opened in 2008, I’ve introduced the Buckhead trendsetter to dozens of visitors, always prepping them to brace for the crowds, assuring them that the cocktails and the charcuterie and the famous cheeseburger served after 10 p.m. are worth the hassle.
I credit Julia Child for my first trip to the Municipal Market of Atlanta on Edgewood Avenue one bright morning in 1975. Eager to dazzle my new husband with my culinary prowess and introduce him to the food I grew up with, I had decided to make Child’s lapin à la moutarde, only to find that, back then, only poor people and country folks in Georgia ate rabbit. No regular grocery stores carried it. But the market did, so I dove into a world where my senses were assaulted by whole pigs, obscene-looking viscera, fatback encrusted with salt, baggies of edible kaolin, little bunches of yellow roots, enormous bouquets of collards, and, yes, fresh rabbit sold at the fish counter. I was hooked.
Watching Atlanta's Westside develop has been the urban equivalent of witnessing a new mountain range emerge in fast-forward: So much fresh geography, so many uncharted nooks. What is currently the area’s most fertile corridor of businesses—between the junction of Northside Drive and Marietta Street and the intersection of Howell Mill Road and Fourteenth Street—felt forsaken just five years ago. Now you can stop for Thai curry at Spoon, pick up cupcakes in a dozen flavors at Caryn’s Cakes, grab panini at Toscano & Sons Italian Market, and disappear into the clump of businesses dubbed the "Beer-muda Triangle": 5 Seasons Brewing Company, retailer Hop City, and Octane, which serves Belgian ales and microbrews alongside coffee. This stretch also claims its share of destination restaurants—Bacchanalia, Abattoir, and the just-opened Miller Union among them.