Dining with the Gays and Grays

Lori’s post about Atlanta’s best-kept secrets coincided with my dinner at one of my not-so-secret favorite restaurants: The Colonnade.

I am sure plenty of food snobs will pooh-pooh my love for this old gem, but I can’t say enough about it. Like other long-standing popular meat and threes in town (Mary Mac’s Tea Room comes to mind), you can get great fried chicken, perfect southern sides, and cornbread correctly made. (My personal litmus test for whether a southern cuisine restaurant is authentic or not is if their cornbread contains sugar. Sugar in the cornbread? Total posers.) You can also order one heck of a large, perfectly cooked filet mignon or fried, baked, or broiled seafood. Their blue cheese dressing rocks (real chunks) and they have the old-school lettuce wedge salad. If you opt for a regular salad, though, be sure to ask for “MaryAnn style:” chopped tomatoes and onions, and blue cheese crumbles on top. The service is solicitous, prompt, and friendly. For lack of a better way of putting it, they make over you. I think they are used to catering to an older generation.

And that is what differentiates The Colonnade from other restaurants like it. This place has been around since 1927, and actually seems to have much of the same clientele. I’m thinking the only thing that’s changed in the last 40 years is the number of openly gay couples; There is something totally surreal about a restaurant populated almost completely by old ladies and gay men. The decor is sort of ’50s modern meets HoJo’s, and you will have to navigate a number of walkers and canes, but you will be rewarded with wise old smiles and the quickly vanishing native Atlanta accent. If you ever had a chain-smoking, green and white polka-dotted leisure suit-wearing, bourbon-swilling Grandma back in the ’70s, you have probably been here, or somewhere like it. It feels like my childhood.

This is an awesome place to take your grandparents or parents when they come into town (excellent handicapped access, and a covered portico for dropping off your dining partners), and it is also very kid friendly. Did I mention the full bar?

No reservations. No credit cards.
1879 Cheshire Bridge Road Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia 30324-4923

1 Comment so far

  1. tim (unregistered) on September 13th, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

    Ah yes, love that southern food. Unfortunately, Mary Mac’s loads their corn bread with sugar. (Corn Cake anyone?)

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