Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Empire State South

"Empire State of the South: This nickname represented a determination in the Georgia citizenry to be leaders in industrial and economic development in the southern tier of states."

Last night, friends and I ate dinner at Empire State South, a new midtown restaurant from the owner of Five & Ten in Athens.  The restaurant has been getting great reviews, so we were all excited to check it out. 

We collectively agreed that the evening lived up to our expectations.  The menu was what I might call upscale Southern - we had pimento cheese sandwiches and trout and mint juleps and collard greens - and the vibe of the restaurant was cool but inviting, with high ceilings, slate blue walls, unique light fixtures, and a bocce ball court outside.

In so many ways, our experience at Empire State South actually reminded me of why I love Atlanta so much.  The city, like the restaurant, is urban and elegant, yet hospitable and warm.  It's new and shiny and homey and comfortable.  It's a place where a top notch chef makes fried chicken; it's a snazzy wine dinner in one room next to four old college friends laughing and catching up.

Atlanta is a city of six million people, bustling with arts and culture, business and restaurants and parks, yet you can still find porches with rocking chairs and strangers who offer you another glass of sweet tea.  This is the juxtaposition that I love, the blend of characteristics that makes up the "Empire State of the South."  And since I come (back) to Georgia by way of the original Empire State, it seems only fitting that both the city and this restaurant feel right...everything I love all rolled into one, no matter what my state of mind.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely want to try this place when I'm back in town! And why does every cool new restaurant in atl seem to have a bocce court? I've never seen that anywhere else!