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In Your Neighborhood: Inman Park

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They call Inman Park Atlanta’s oldest neighborhood. It’s nestled beween Little Five Points and the Old Fourth Ward and backs up to the new Beltline Eastside Trail. If you find yourself in Inman Park with a hankering for some food and some time to kill, here are a few suggestions for how to fix both of those problems.

If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, you’re kind of SOL. Head out in any direction to the Old Fourth Ward, Little Five Points, Poncey Highland, Grant Park, Cabbage Town, Reyoldstown, and Virginia Highland, and there’s no shortage of places to get your grub on first thing in the morning. But none in Inman Park. Sorry.

In the summer of 2012, Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares re-invented Park’s Edge. This cozy restaurant is hidden away on Bernina Avenue, and does a great trade in dinners, but where it really shines is weekend brunch from 11am to 3pm.

Here you’ll find the buttery biscuits that certain other biscuit-centric eateries ought to be jealous of, shrimp and grits that are secretly among the best in the city, and the real clincher for brunch in this town: bottomless mimosas and bellinis.

There is no better place in Inman Park to get a great lunch than Fritti. On the corner of Highland Avenue and Elizabeth Street, Fritti serves Verace Pizza Napoletana Association Certified pizza (which means they make it like they make it in the old country), pasta, and a whole lot of other great Italian dishes. While the giant patio is nice in the colder months, for nine months out of the year, it’s one of the best places to watch what’s going on in Inman Park.

I can’t count the hours I have spent writing at Inman Perk. It has free wi-fi and a ridiculous number of outlets (albeit in power strips that criss-cross the floor like spaghetti) for you to plug into. It’s a favorite hang out of students, so if you go during finals week, don’t expect to find a seat. The coffee is consistent if not stellar, there’s a decent variety of cookies but they’re not the kind you’ll write home about. By way of redemption, you’ll also find a selection of ice-creams from Jakes in the Irwin Street Market.

Take the Kids
Pure Taqueria in Inman Park is bright, it’s spacious, and its menu is full of things that kids love: queso “gringo,” crab fritters, tacos, and churros and chocolate pudding. Also there’s an extensive cocktail menu, so everyone’s happy, right?

Take a Date
The vibe at Barcelona Atlanta is modern, it’s fast, it’s hip without being trendy, it’s classic without making you feel like you’re in the dining car on the Orient Express. If you’re able to get a seat on the patio it’s going to be less noisy than sitting inside. But whether you dine inside or outside, the tapas menu is perfect for sharing on a date. Want a bigger plate? Try Tile Fish la Plancha or Grilled Skirt Steak. You’ll thank me.

Take the Boss
Kevin Rathbun Steak isn’t just one of the best places to impress our boss in Inman Park, and it’s not just among the best in Atlanta. Kevin Rathbun Steak is one of the best steak houses in the country. From eggplant fries to chile ancho BBQ pork shoulder to dry aged steak and a wine list that pulls reds and white from all around the world, of you and you boss bring your appetites, you can look forward to dropping a couple of Benjamins on dinner for two. Understand that going in, accept it, and just enjoy yourself.

After Work Cocktails
Kevin Rathbun’s (almost) standing-room-only Krog Bar does brisk business in girls-nights-out, and meet-ups on the way to dinner in Inman Park or the Old Fourth Ward. If you’re feeling hungry, get yourself some small plates like red pepper flatbread and serrano ham.

Right next door to Fritti (they’re so close that they sometimes share an upstairs dining room), Sotto Sotto is the over-achieving older brother to Fritti. Riccardo Ullio is the chef brains behind both outfits, Sotto Sotto has an old county feel and charm that feels absolutely right for the food: cold meats, scallops and salad dressed with truffle oil, eggplant and walnut ravioli — everything here makes you feel transported to Italy for the evening, and that’s how it should be.

After Hours
During the day, Victory Sandwich Bar + Emporium serves up wonderful sandwiches and if you’re in the area for lunch it’s certainly worth taking a look. But when the hour gets late, Victory turns into a bar that offers a Jack and Coke Slushy. Yeah, you read that right.

If you’re looking for something to do and wandering around the beautiful park is just a little pedestrian (pun intended) for your tastes, head down to Dad’s Garage to catch some improv theater or original plays from local playwrights.

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