Dinner here often means a wait, as the Colonnade does not take reservations. The bar, with its undercurrent of mellow booziness, adds to the restaurant's sedate, country-club feel of dark greens and hunting prints. This is an ideal place to bring relatives who fear the hurly-burly of Buford Highway and the expense of Buckhead, and it's a great place to bring yourself if you are in need of the safe and reliable.
At lunch, you can get the basic meat-and-two for under $10, leaving room in your wallet for dessert or perhaps a cocktail if you're feeling frisky. But forget opting for anything fancy here like the combination seafood platter and stick with the old-fashioned favorites the Colonnade staff prepares so competently. I usually choose the Southern fried chicken ($7.50 at lunch, $9.95 at dinner), properly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside with a very subtle hint of bacon. Other wise choices include fried chicken livers ($6.95 lunch, $7.95 dinner), very rich, satisfying and ever trustworthy; falling-apart-tender roast pork loin with celery dressing and gravy ($7.50 lunch, $9.95 dinner); piping hot chicken pot pie ($6.95 lunch, $7.95 dinner) with a flaky crust and a filling that's desirably thick.
Along with your entree, you may choose two vegetables (add $1.75 for extras) or salads. You can run the gamut here from boring apple sauce or cottage cheese and peaches to silky whipped potatoes -- whatever you do, don't call them mashed -- to decent fried okra, Southern-style (salty and slightly overcooked) pole beans or black-eyed peas. The Colonnade's hot vegetables, rather than the salads and cold vegetables, are a better choice. An exception is the popular Mary Ann salad -- a cool, crunchy combination of chopped beets, onions and flavorful tomato served with your choice of dressing. Ask your waitress, as it's not on the menu.
Don't overlook the basket of yeast rolls and corn muffins, which arrive at your table hot and steamy. The rolls are especially addictive, slightly sweet and rich enough that you won't need butter. Desserts are worth saving room for, particularly the luscious coconut cream pie ($2.50) and the sweet-tart strawberry shortcake ($3.50).
Restaurants like Mary Mac's, Thelma's and the Busy Bee may offer better food, but the Colonnade is a comfortable old friend, easy and approachable.
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