Two of the fastest-growing areas in Atlanta are Vinings and Smyrna.
Bordering the Chattahoochee River, both have been around for over a century, but the opening of Truist Park and the subsequent popularity of the Battery have taken them up a notch. This growth has been accelerated by proximity to Cumberland Mall and the “Cobb Cloverleaf” (the junction where I-75 and I-285 meet).
Typically, any area near a baseball stadium, a mall, and the highway tends to be populated solely by fast food and other chain restaurants. While Vinings and Smyrna do indeed have plenty of those, they have a jaw-dropping amount of charming and delicious standalone spots.
Here are a few of our favorites.
There are over a dozen fabulous restaurants at the Battery and each one deserves its place in the spotlight, but we’ve already touched on them here.
Restaurants listed below in alphabetical order!
If you’re ready to enjoy a tasty meal while enjoying a view of the city, the Creatwood Tavern is the move with the only rooftop patio in Smyrna (though I’m not sure how to verify that…a helicopter ride?)
They elevate a classic bar menu into something special. Take the “Butcher” Burger, for example, with white cheddar and pepper jack, lettuce, pickled onions, crispy pork belly, butcher sauce, and fried jalapenos. You can also get the “Dirty Bird” sandwich with grilled chicken breast tossed in spicy blackberry habanero sauce, white pimiento cheese, pickled jalapenos, lettuce, and Applewood smoked bacon.
If your carb craving is pasta rather than bread, the Cajun Pasta contains linguine, fresh tomato and spinach, Cajun Alfredo, sliced mushrooms, and a side of garlic bread. Make it a balanced meal by adding chicken, grilled shrimp, or salmon.
Chef Raffaele Crispino brings the Southern Italian flavor, from wood-fired pizza to tomato-centric recipes, to Crispina. Everything is fresh and absolutely fantastic, and how can you beat pizza and pasta?
For the former, get the Pizza Arrabbiata with hard-crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan, spicy Salame Napoletano, Calabrese Peppers, and fresh basil, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. For the pasta side of things, you don’t want to miss out on the Pappardelle Pompeii. The homemade pappardelle is tossed with Italian sausage, roasted red and yellow peppers, white onions, sauteed capers, olives, smoked mozzarella, and fresh basil in their homemade marinara sauce.
To end on a sweet note, enjoy the homemade tiramisu, a sweet layered treat with fluffy sweetened Italian mascarpone cheese, espresso, cocoa, and liqueur
This family-owned pizza joint brings that New York flavor to Smyrna. Don’t sweat too much while you figure out what to order because you really can’t miss.
The pizza is obviously delicious, whether it’s plain cheese or loaded with toppings. The chicken parmigiana sandwich is just the right mix of oozy and crunchy, and there is no shortage of flavor. Venture outside the Italian world and get their Philly cheesesteak or wings.
Ask any ATLien their favorite local BBQ spot, and many will name this Korean-inspired hole-in-the-wall BBQ spot run by Chef Jiyeon and Chef Cody.
While their brisket is rightfully legendary, the Spicy Korean pork with kimchi slaw is a perfect demonstration of the marriage of the two cuisines (literally… Cody and Jiyeon are husband and wife and from Tennessee and South Korea, respectively). The wings are flash fried and tossed in their sweet & spicy sauce and served with kimchi mayo for dipping.
For your side (or just a nice snack), check out the sweet and spicy tofu or the kimchi slaw. And no matter what you order, smother it with Table Sauce. It’s one of the best BBQ sauces in the game.
Few cuisines are more comforting than Chinese food, and when it’s done right there’s nothing tastier.
House of Chan is an authentic and wickedly delicious local spot, specializing in all of your usual Chinese favorites, like Moo Shu Pork and WonTon Soup. You can’t go wrong with any of the staples, but don’t be afraid to venture to the more eclectic side. Check out unique selections like the Plum Roast Duck, the Dragon-Horse Jumbo Shrimp, or the Tangerine Beef
Mikkey’s was founded by Chicagoan Mikkey Halsted, who initially founded LiteHouse Whole Food Grill, where the staff’s weekly “cheat days” produced burgers, wings, fries, and milkshakes. These days eventually led to the Mikkey’s Retro Grill concept, “where old school meets new school flavor.” After two Chicago locations, Mikkey’s has come to Smyrna (Smyrna is getting to that point where it doesn’t look like a real word anymore. Smyrna. Smyrna).
The food is everything that’s great about Chicago cuisine. The Rico Jerk Burger has grilled onions, cilantro, Rico’s Mild, and Grilled Pineapple on a Hawaiian roll and the Jerk Philly and Beef Jerk Fries add a twist to the classic dishes.
Muss & Turner’s may hold the title of most beloved restaurant in Smyrna, serving some of the finest sandwiches in Georgia. Smyrnans (Smyrnians? Smyrnites?) have been eating here for over 17 years and there’s no sign of that changing any time soon. Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner continue to sling food that is creative but always comforting and delicious.
One of their finest concoctions is The Gobbler, their take on the classic Thanksgiving leftover meal: roasted turkey breast, Ritz cracker stuffing, lingonberry coulis, and thyme aioli on a bun. Or get their iconic burger with grass-fed beef, roasted poblano pepper, white cheddar, red onion, and cilantro aioli. If you’re not a meat-eater, you can enjoy the fresh Johnny Appleseed: a vegetarian sandwich with local apples, horseradish aioli, swiss cheese, black pepper honey, and baby arugula on multigrain bread.
No matter what you eat, treat yourself to a big bowl of fries with as many dipping sauces as you can. They’ve got garlic crema, szechuan chile garlic mudd, samba aioli, honey mustard, and so many more, so keep an open mind and you’ll leave with a full stomach.
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The only thing better than a phenomenal sandwich is a phenomenal slice of pizza. The brilliant minds behind Muss & Turner’s (as well as Local Three) have developed an impeccable pizzeria, with homemade dough made with high-protein flour and fermented in-house for three day before being baked in a brick oven, giving it a distinct texture and an even more unique flavor.
Their pies vary from standard to wild. The Hell Boy is sure to set your mouth ablaze with a little calabrian action: red sauce, chili garlic sauce, provolone, mozzarella, pepperoni, calabrian salami, and calabrian chilis. The “Lasagna”, named for its resemblance to the pasta dish, is topped with red sauce, meatball, sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, and basil. The most unusual pie is the “We Say Potato, They Say Patata”, named for containing…you guessed it…fingerling potatoes, as well as garlic oil, mozzarella, ricotta, scallions, caramelized onions, and crisped rosemary. It’s a tremendous pizza unlike any you’ve ever had before.
This building has been in commission for 140 years, having functioned as a post office, a general store, a gas station, and, for the past quarter century, an elegant Southern restaurant with live music four nights a week.
Start your meal off with the charcuterie board, full of cured and smoked meats, artisan cheeses, pimiento cheese, spinach & artichoke dip, house-pickled vegetables, seasonal accouterments, herbed sea salt, and EVOO flatbreads. Then we recommend either the Dr. Pepper BBQ Lamb Ribs or the Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
At Ray’s on the River, with the picturesque view of the Chattahoochee, the food is memorable but the views are unforgettable. This is the perfect venue for a special occasion or just a night to treat yourself to a lovely meal with a stunning view.
The food is elegant but unpretentious, most evidently with the appetizers. The Loaded Statesboro Bleu Cheese Chips are a crowd-favorite: house-made potato chips, Statesboro bleu cheese, scallions, tomatoes, and Zoe’s applewood smoked bacon. The Goat Cheese Pimiento Fritters are a light but rich treat, served with a side of house-made pepper jelly. And any Southern place has to offer Shrimp and Grits, with Andouille sausage, roasted corn relish, jalapeno cheddar jack grits, and a shrimp and beer broth.
We’ve already covered their genre-bending birria pizza, but Tacos La Villa has “tacos” in their name for a reason. Nothing here is overly complex, but everything is jam-packed with flavor.
Their tacos are delicious, like the birria, but you need to grab a few friends and tackle the Heart Taco Platter. Don’t love and tacos always go hand-in-hand? You can also munch on their authentic tamales and tortas.
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If you’re looking for the best Korean and Japanese cuisine in Vinings, Yakitori Jinbei is the clear winner. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and if it’s good enough for Guy Fieri, it’s good enough for anyone!
They serve a wide swath of dishes: gyoza, at-home omakase, fried rice, and so much more. The real star of the show is their Korean Fried Chicken. Oh my God, that fried chicken. It’s ridiculously crispy and the spicy Korean sauce is the perfect level of heat; it’s fingerlicking in both the metaphorical and literal sense. The ramen is wonderful, and the sushi is fresh and thoughtfully prepared, like the Hawaiian sushi roll with tuna, yellowtail, spicy mayo, jalapeno, and cilantro wrapped with soy paper and drizzled with chili oil and fresh lime juice.