First, you may have noticed that I moved things around in order to keep our discussions along with the particular topic. For example, our talk about The Varsity was moved to this thread (see above) so we can deal with dining in Atlanta exclusively in this topic.
Now let's elaborate on what Bill H and I have discussed regarding the dinner opportunities in Atlanta that would fit our budgets and our needs. As mentioned earlier, Bill has not only suggested and done research on a few places, but he has dined at them as well to preview them for our purposes.
Let me say that it does not have to be necessary that we all eat in one place. I think there will be 12 or 13 of us, unless somebody else joins us or someone already on the guest list has to leave us before dinnertime. We could conceivably split into smaller groups dependent on personal food preferences and finances.
Continuing discussion on The Varsity
, here is Bill's take along with my comments. The location of The Varsity in question is the flagship location of 6 stores located throughout the Atlanta and Athens areas. Bill likes the place. Across the freeway overpass from this one is Georgia Tech, hence its name. It would satisfy the need to keep our expenses down, but what we would get is fast food and the opportunity to dine at a nationally known landmark and have "Whaddya Have?" shouted at us. Note that it does attract a college crowd, which may not be a negative consideration given it is the summer break.
Moving to sitdown restaurants, the first one recommended was Ted's Montana Grill
. The Ted is none other than Ted Turner. But despite the local ownership, this is a chain found throughout the country in 15 states. In the city of Atlanta, there are two locations. The Midtown location is a few blocks north of the Amtrak station. The Downtown place is in the several block stretch between Peachtree Center and Centennial Olympic Park. Between the two locations, I told Bill I would prefer the Downtown location, because it's walkable from two MARTA heavy rail stations. Midtown would necessitate us taking the same bus ride we would be taking to and from Amtrak, and it's not a time we're arriving or departing town. It would therefore only be beneficial to Bill, and the one person staying in a hotel close to Amtrak. Here's the menu for the Downtown location
. I find it to be a bit on the pricey side. If you have taken Acela Express, been served Bison meat in First Class, and didn't feel disgusted by it, you'll be pleased to know that they specialize in Bison.
Next is Durango Steakhouse
, which is a chain of just three restaurants. Two are on the east coast of Florida, and we have this one in Atlanta. It appears to be right downtown, walking distance from Five Points station. Here is their Atlanta dinner menu.
. Again it's up there in price, but one can get a 10 ounce chopped steak for $17.
Bill reports that the Underground Atlanta attraction is not what it used to be. With my research for my webpage I discovered that only about half as many eateries exist as there used to be. The departure of World of Coca Cola to a new location near Centennial Olympic Park, coupled with the bad economy, has caused many of the businesses in this complex to be closed and even boarded up. There is therefore a sense of insecurity around there that didn't exist when more people would visit to eat and shop there. However, there are still several sitdown restaurants just outside the mall, a few of which Bill has visited.
He went to Scores sports bar. He was not impressed by this, and I don't think it would meet our needs to be in a noisy bar. He said that service was slow and the place appeared to be largely empty.
There is also a Johnny Rockets there, which many know as a national chain.... mainly hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken served in a diner-like setting. A Jamaican restaurant also did not impress Bill.
On a later visit to Underground, he did eat in a place called Georgia Peach
. This place may just be the answer for us. In the medium range (cheaper than a traditional steakhouse but better than fast food), Bill reports that the staff was very friendly, and when he mentioned his intentions for eating there, they seemed very interested in meeting our needs (i.e. separate checks). They even took a tentative reservation for July 18th already for 14 people, which of course we can cancel or adjust if needed.
So I ask that you all thank Bill for his advance work in giving us this list of places to eat, and now we'd like your opinions as well.