Want a great place for brunch or lunch or even raw vegan cuisine? Outdoor dining? Or a nice dinner without parking hassles or reservations? Come to College Park/East Point.
The Brake Pad restaurant, believe it or not, was a selling point in my choosing to move to East Point. It has this great small town feel. I have to admit that the chef who was there when I first moved there is no longer there and the specials are not near as good as they once were. I had crab cakes there one time that were the best I have ever had in my whole life! Despite his absence, I still find this place to be a great spot for lunch. They have tater tots on the menu! You can sit outside (but the train will ride by and interrupt your conversation). Put pennies on the railroad track. The menu consists of a variety of burgers, fish tacos that they often change up a little with different flavors of chipolte and other sauces, quesadillas (which I don't recommend), yummy sandwiches on 9 grain bread, and very good salads. I recommend the arugula and goat cheese salad with blackened tilapia. They have a full bar and daily drink specials. They serve Sunday brunch. But for brunch I recommend Thumbs Up Diner.
There are a couple of Thumbs Up Diner's in the Atlanta area, and they always rank within the top 10 brunch spots in Atlanta. One is located in downtown East Point. Don't blink, but downtown East Point should not be too hard to find. Just take Hwy 166 off of 85S and take the East Point exit. Go right and look for it along Main Street on your left. Remember, they are cash only!
There is a wonderful live food restaurant just off the square, Lovin' it Live. Nothing is cooked, all raw, all vegan, all good, all expensive. I recommend calling ahead. They prepare everything fresh so it can be quite a wait. I like the nutloaf and the brownie, made from dates and carob. Oh! and these "chicken nuggets" that are portabello mushrooms rolled in some combination of nuts. However, the atmosphere is not all that. Therefore, check out the online menu, place your order over the phone and then take it a little further down the street to Barrett Park off Rugby Ave. in College Park and enjoy! College Park is the home of Woodward Academy. Rugby Avenue is one of the more prominent streets, pretty homes, a wide street with sidewalks, magnolias, and dogwoods. They also have tennis courts there. Open tennis courts in Fulton County can be hard to find! It is a great little private spot for an easy picnic. http://www.lovingitlive.com/
Also on the square in downtown East Point is an Oz Pizza where you can buy good yummy fattening pizza by the slice with spinach & feta on it (my choice) and the East Point Corner Tavern. I had to admit it, but I love this place! It is dark and smokey and stinky and punky and tattooy and freaky. But they have trivia on Tuesday nights! Rebecca, Betsy and I discovered this place by accident. We actually ran in there to avoid a downpour one 4th of July. They were having trivia night, so we signed up. The trio of attorneys, an engineer and the Policy Analyst actually WON! 1st place. So we got a little hooked and would frequent it on Tuesday's. Betsy brought her other really smart friends and we always placed each time we played, so we got a little hooked. The food is good. They have fried artichokes! They have a diverse menu of warm, tasty dishes. We like to sit out on the back patio away from the dark and smoke. It is a little shady and you will see all sorts out and about here, playing pool and saddled up to the bar. I kinda stick out in my cashmere sweater set, but it is worth the stares.
College Park restaurants include Noodle and The Pecan. Noodle is an Asian restaurant, with good food, generous portions and good prices. They have yummy mojitos and outdoor dining, but you also have to deal with the loud train every so often. The Pecan is a little more upscale, white table cloth dining. I have yet to go but hear the shrimp and grits are, "to die for".
For more upscale dining in College Park, I prefer The Feed Store. The Feed Store has a comfortable atmosphere and unique menu. The wine list is small but should have something you like and offers a diverse price range. The menu varies weekly. The wait staff is not the best ever, but being able to park up front, walk right in and have a nice candle lit meal within 6 miles of downtown Atlanta is worth whatever little patience you may have to exercise with the waitress. They have appetizers like Pimento Cheese stuffed Fried Green Tomatoes with homemade Chow Chow, and offer quail and lamb as entree options.
If this is not your style, swing by The Feed Store for a cocktail and take in the artwork, and the architecture and then walk down the street to Fina. Fina is one of the Atlanta areas best kept secrets.
This little bistro is owned by a Frenchman named Jay. He also is in the wine distribution business if you are in need. The offer Peroni on tap and a nice little selection of wines. They also have a cheap corkage fee if you want to bring your own. The wait staff is very, very good. Ask for Kay. This is delicious homemade Italian. It is warm, earthly and you feel as if you are in Italy as you sit in their bistro style chairs, exposed brick walls and eat hearty delicious Italian dishes. They have delicious homemade gnocchi, sweet Italian sausages, amazing lasagna, salmon and oh! the best caprese ever. They also have good bread, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but don't get too full on that. Save room for the delicious appetizers and entrees. If you are bringing a group, I would call and make a reservation, just to be kind and let them know and to reserve a space, as it is a small restaurant. Also, if you are bringing a small group, request the circular booth near the bar. It is cozy. I love, love, love this restaurant. They have jazz on Wednesday and Friday. And one time I forgot my gloves and they called me at home to tell me! You can't beat it.