13 Local Foods You Need to Try in Atlanta

From burgers to chicken wings to tacos here are the city's can't miss dishes

Atlanta — the city and the show — has a love affair with chicken wings. And while we can tell you where to get the best lemon pepper wet wings (hint: it's J.R. Crickets) and other varieties of chicken in Atlanta, the city's vibrant and diverse culinary scene extends far beyond the humble bird.

So whether you're in the mood for a steaming bowl of pho, deep-dish Detroit-style pizza (yes, in Atlanta) or a decadent, juicy burger, here are the 13 local foods you need to eat while visiting the Peach State's capital city.

01 of 13

Double Stack Burger at Holeman & Finch

Holeman & Finch Public House

1201 Peachtree St NE Building 400, Suite #160, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
Phone +1 404-948-1175

Once limited to only 24 burgers at 10 p.m. at the original Holeman & Finch Public House in Buckhead, the city's first burger to achieve cult status — and arguably one of its best — is now more readily available. Get the house-ground chuck and brisket double stack with melted American cheese, red onion and house-made pickles on the restaurant's signature bun at H&F Burger at Ponce City Market or the Battery at SunTrust Park and at the original restaurant, which now offers just 24 burgers each at lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. First come, first served.

02 of 13

Chicken Wings at J.R. Crickets

Lemon pepper wings from J.R. Crickets

J.R. Crickets

129 North Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
Phone +1 404-389-9464

While J.R. Crickets has 15 Atlanta area locations, we recommend hitting up the Midtown outpost, a few blocks from where this go-to wings spot launched in 1982. Order the lemon pepper wet like Paper Boi and Darius in season one of FX's "Atlanta," or try your drums or flats with the "Crickets Hot," "Southern Sweet Style BBQ" and more than ten delicious sauces. And don't forget the blue cheese.

03 of 13

Oysters at Kimball House

oysters at Kimball House

 Kimball House

303 E Howard Ave, Decatur, GA 30030, USA
Phone +1 404-378-3502

Get $1 oysters from 5 to 7 p.m. weeknights during the happiest of hours at this former train depot converted to a contemporary cocktail bar in the heart of downtown Decatur. The restaurant offers over 20 varietals of sustainably farmed bivalves, all accompanied by clever and detailed descriptions like "green beans and cantaloupe — for real" and "driftwood and lobster bisque," plus some of the city's best drinks like the namesake Kimball House, a Negroni riff with gin, vermouth, aperitif wine and orange bitters.

Sister restaurant Watchman's at Krog Street Market also offers $1 and half-off oysters — all of which are sourced from the Southeast — during its happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Pair them with a classic daiquiri or a shot of chartreuse.

04 of 13

Comfy Chicken Biscuit at Home Grown

Comfy chicken biscuit at Home Grown

Home Grown

412 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030, USA
Phone +1 404-373-1147

The comfy chicken biscuit isn't the prettiest or healthiest breakfast in Atlanta, but it's certainly one of the most popular. So popular, in fact, the restaurant has installed a counter to tally how many plates of the juicy fried chicken atop thick sausage gravy and perfect flaky biscuit, and oddly flanked by a solitary orange, slice have been served.

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05 of 13

Farm Egg in Celery Cream at Miller Union

egg yolk in celery cream at Miller Union

Miller Union 

999 Brady Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, USA
Phone +1 678-733-8550

While James Beard award-winning chef Steven Satterfield's menu at Miller Union changes with the seasons, this one dish is a mainstay. The perfectly baked egg floating atop celery infused cream is as comforting as it is satisfying, especially soaked up with the accompanying slices of perfectly crusty bread.

06 of 13

Margherita in Detroit at Nina & Rafi

Nina & Rafi detroit style pizza

Nina & Rafi 

661 Auburn Ave NE STE 220, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
Phone +1 404-549-8997

This Beltline-adjacent Italian spot — from Anthony Spina of O4W Pizza and Billy Streck of Hampton + Hudon and Cypress Street Pint & Plate (one of the city's best sports bars) — specializes in Detroit-style pizza. Think rectangular pies with super thick crusts, tons of cheese and all the toppings. Try the "Margherita in Detroit," the restaurant's version of the Italian classic, with marinara sauce, garlic, pecorino, EVOO, house-made mozzarella, fresh basil and a deep, cheesy crust.

07 of 13

Fried Chicken at Busy Bee Cafe

 Busy Bee Cafe

810 M.L.K. Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314, USA
Phone +1 404-525-9212

No one does soul food better than this downtown institution, which opened in 1947. The fried chicken dinner plate includes two perfectly crispy, gold brown pieces of chicken with your choice of cornbread muffin or dinner roll and two sides, like fresh collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese and candied yams.

08 of 13

Hash Browns at Waffle House

Waffle House

Waffle House

The Atlanta-based chain has been bringing scattered (on the grill), smothered (with diced onions) and covered (with gooey American cheese) hash browns to night owls, hungover revelers and breakfast enthusiasts since 1955.

You can also get them diced (with grilled tomatoes), chunked (with grilled hickory smoked ham) or capped (with grilled button mushrooms). Or go crazy and get all of the above.

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09 of 13

Asada Negro Arepa at Arepa Mia

Arepa Mia

 Arepa Mia

209 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30303-3012, USA

Not only are arepas 100% gluten free, but the savory Venezuelan staples made with cornmeal are tasty as well. Try the asado negro, made with grass-fed beef roasted for 12 hours with red wine, sugar cane and cumin served with caramelized onions and Thai chili sauce at Arepa Mia, with locations at both the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and Avondale Estates.

10 of 13

Tacos at El Rey del Taco

El Rey del Taco 

5288 Buford Hwy, Doraville, GA 30340, USA
Phone +1 770-986-0032

Have a nocturnal taco craving? Skip the Taco Bell drive-through and hit up this late night Buford Highway go-to locals swear by for their tacos, tortas, burritos, large platters and potent margaritas. El Rey del Taco is open until 5 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

11 of 13

Pho at Pho 24

Pho 24

 Pho 24

4646 US-23, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA
Phone +1 770-710-0178

Nothing is more comforting than this Southern Vietnamese soup, and we’re partial to Pho 24, where you’ll find steaming jumbo bowls of the fragrant meat broth. Choose from combinations of noodles, raw and roasted cuts of beef, tendon, tripe, and more, all topped with sprouts, peppers and herbs.

12 of 13

Black Spaghetti at BoccaLupo

BoccaLupo, black spaghetti


753 Edgewood Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307-2458, USA
Phone +1 404-577-2332

You can't go wrong with any of the handmade pastas at this Inman Park gem, but the heat and intensity of the black spaghetti with hot calabrese sausage, red shrimp and scallions makes it a menu standout.

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13 of 13

Chicken Liver Tart at Staplehouse

Chicken Liver tart at Staplehouse


541 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
Phone +1 404-524-5005

While the seasonally-driven tasting menu at this Old Fourth Ward neighborhood spot is always changing, one thing remains constant: the chicken liver tart. Sign up for Staplehouse's email list to ensure you snag a coveted reservation and know your dinner dollars support a good cause. The restaurant is a for-profit subsidiary of Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that aids restaurant workers in crisis.

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13 Local Foods You Need to Try in Atlanta