To-go windows and takeout emphasis could be a permanent post-pandemic addition to many Atlanta restaurants and bars, and during quarantine, I ordered more takeout than I probably ever have in my adult life. Don't get me wrong, I loved spending more time in my own kitchen, but takeout became the only way to experience any kind of "new" or "fun," so every week I would splurge a little at a local spot to both give myself some self-care and support a local establishment during a really hard time.
Four places quickly became my go-to. Their food was immaculate and some, once reopening started happening, also have awesome patio and porch areas to allow you to socially distance and smash some seriously delicious grub.
Ru San's Sushi
Ru San's is a chain of Japanese Sushi restaurants with four locations in the ATL metro area, and it was new to me being a decently recent ATLien. I've ordered from them no less than 20 times, and every single time, the food is prepared perfectly and tastes fresh. I've gotten their Spicy Salmon Roll, Midtown Music Roll, Mango Roll, and more. I've never been disappointed. They also have a great list of appetizers, ramen, udon soup, soba soup, fried rice, yakitori, tempura, kushi age, noodles, nigiri, maki, sashimi, sushi burritos, seafood dinners, and desserts.
Zunzi's is a South African restaurant that offers the most bombastic sandwiches of all time. Their menu is influenced by the rich South African, Swiss, Italian, and Dutch heritage of their founders, Johnny and Gabriella Debeer. They do "Gatsby" sandwiches, as well as "Padkos" bowls, wraps, and salads. Spruce up your entree with some Voodoo kettle chips and some extra of their homemade sauces, and you will thank me.
This absolute gem of a restaurant was awarded best dumplings in Atlanta by The Food Network and awarded one of the country's Best 17 Restaurants by The New York Post. I love this place. Their Zhong Style Dumplings and Chengdu Cold Noodle dishes are out of this world. They have multiple dumpling filling choices, a wide array of noodle dishes (the Handmade Sweet & Spicy Thick Noodles are my absolute favorite), and some of their famous favorites from their old Buford Highway location, Gu's Bistro.
Hot Dog Pete's
I go crazy for hot dogs, which is why I was so excited to find out that Hot Dog Pete's was coming to ATL. It originated in Birmingham, a hot dog hotspot (and my old home) because it has a large immigrant population of Greeks who have been food purveys for generations. They have wieners that are custom blended by Fritz’s Smoked Meats and Superior Sausage–Kansas City’s oldest smokehouse since 1927. Their brioche buns are baked fresh at Alon’s Bakery, a favorite Atlanta bakery and market since 1992.
We go wild and try a new dog every time we visit their socially distanced patio. My favorites are the Hot Rod Dog and the Sonora Dog. And you MUST get the Cheddarwurst. You can mix and match types of dogs and toppings, and you can hit your sweet spot with an ice cream float.
I hope you check out some of these amazing ATL eateries!