By Gaurav Vedak, Atlanta Eats Guest Writer
I’m sitting here at my desk thinking about the wonderful experience I had at WWE Smackdown at State Farm Arena this week. From the people watching, to the athleticism of the wrestlers, to the appreciation for the amount of work that goes into each show – I was impressed! The production value alone is insane and the show that they put on is incredibly entertaining. If you’re a fan of WWE, you know that the wrestlers all bring personality! Each character brings a style, ambiance and a flavor – sort of like restaurants! So – I went ahead and ID’d the Atlanta restaurant that fits some of the wrestlers I saw this week at SMACKDOWN!
My favorite personality (and forgive me if you’re a wrestling fan that hates a good heel) has to be The Miz. He’s loud, he’s obnoxious, he’s everything you could possibly need if you want a captivating personality to hate. But most importantly he is unique. So, what restaurant does that remind me of? Well, you can drop the loud and obnoxious part but captivating personality and unique? That perfectly describes The Porter Beer Bar. Blessed with a fantastic beer menu – The Porter will help you find the perfect craft beer for your palette. It has a ton of personality as it’s located in the heart of Little Five Points so the crowd is extremely diverse and entertaining. The Porter pairs the unique vibe of Little Five with a nice food menu where you can start off with delicious Goat Cheese Fritters (something I have yet to see at another restaurant!), before having their delicious Mac and Cheese. If you’re looking for an extremely unique dining service, in a fantastic area – definitely check out The Porter Beer Bar.
The Georgia boy himself, AJ Styles, was in the house putting on a show and wrestling twice! AJ, born in Gainesville, was a fan favorite at Smackdown – highlighted by his “Atlanta is a city built by AJ” t-shirts, and his speech at the end of the night talking about his love for the state. So, of course it makes sense that when you think AJ Styles, you think of southern cuisine – and my mind goes straight to the always delicious Buttermilk Kitchen! Located off of Roswell Road, Buttermilk Kitchen is my go-to southern cuisine restaurant. Whether you’re there for weekend brunch, lunch, or their once-a-month fancy fried chicken dinner – you can’t go wrong with your order. The pimento omelet is ridiculously good as it combines the creaminess of the eggs, with delicious red pepper jelly, and smoky bacon. Their chicken and biscuit with red pepper jelly (pictured above) is also a must order every time you go.
Shinsuke burst onto the scene not too long ago going from mixed martial arts to New Japan to WWE over the past decade or so. He made his billing as one of the top wrestlers in New Japan before winning the NXT Championship and coming over to WWE in 2017. A huge part of his character is his country pride with even his intro music a Japanese song – so when you think of Shinsuke you can’t help but think of Japan! My favorite Japanese spot is Ton Ton located in Ponce City Market – the best ramen in the city. I like to start off with an order of the gyoza, a steamed pork dumpling, before getting their absolutely delicious tonkotsu noodles. But wait, don’t stop there – make sure to add another soft egg to the order (seriously, they are delicious – easily the best soft eggs across every ramen I’ve had in the city), and get the chili bomb paste (if you’re feeling like having a nice little kick). The pork broth and chashu (pork belly) are off the charts, and when you add in the heat from the chili bomb paste you are in for an absolute delight.
One of the largest men I’ve EVER seen made an appearance at Smackdown – the legendary Braun Strowman. Standing at an incredibly imposing 6’8”, weighing (AT LEAST) 385 pounds, Strowman makes quick work of his opponents inside the ring – and I’m sure can absolutely demolish some food as well. When I think of Strowman I think of gigantic portions, I think of southern food, and I think of barbecue. What’s could be a better fit than the classic Fox Bros Burger – a decadent FEAST that comes with a side item as well that should quench most appetites. The burger itself is made from chopped brisket, with bacon, and red onions (hold the lettuce please!) topped with some delicious pimento cheese (I think I just really like pimento cheese) and their jalapeno mayo. Combo that with their incredible brunswick stew for an overall incredible dining experience. If you’re of age, I highly recommend getting yourself a cheap wheat beer and adding a jalapeno slice in it for a nice counter to the creaminess of the pimento cheese. If you’re lucky, try out the burnt ends as well – but it’s easiest to call ahead to see if they have those available.
No list done by me would be complete without reference to fellow Indian Yuvraj Singh Dhesi aka Jinder Mahal. At 6’5” 238 pounds – Mahal is an absolute mammoth human who returned to WWE in 2016 and has found a nice role in their organization. As you would imagine when I think of Jinder I think of Indian cuisine – and when I think of Indian cuisine in the city of Atlanta my mind goes straight to Botiwalla inside of Ponce City Market. You won’t get a traditional Indian meal over at Botiwalla, and if you do you can go to their other restaurant Chai Pani located in Decatur, but what will you get it easy to eat Indian food (and the importance of this is really understated) and a fresh take on it. I always enjoy the masala tri-tip roll – and make sure you get some raita to balance it, and a serving of the mango pickle to add a little heat to your dining experience!
Gaurav is an Atlanta native who has written for Talkingchop.com, is a huge Atlanta sports fan (to a fault) and has loved professional wrestling since The Rock started asking people if they like pancakes.