Monday, November 28, 2011

Do you love shacks, baby?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM

There's a special place in my heart for the little, old shack that serves up great food. A tiny run-down place, often on the wrong side of the tracks, more often with metal bars over the windows. There's usually a walk up counter with a view of the kitchen, a down to earth proprietor manning the stove and the cash register at the same time while chatting up every customer who walks in the door. The food is often completely straightforward and incredibly nuanced at the same time, a time-tested recipe that defies imitation. And the best shacks manage to perpetually stay great and perpetually avoid the type of success (or notion of what success is) that might send them in search of shinier digs. In Memphis, it's Payne's on Lamar. In Nashville, it's Bolton's. In Atlanta? Well, I can't say that there is one shack that stands out above the others. Carver's Country Kitchen comes close. It's definitely time-worn, decrepit in a comfortable way, family-driven, and the food satisfies deeply. Ann's Snack Bar? Nah, too much of a gimmick now. Fatt Matt's? You've got to be kidding, right? There are a few fried fish shacks that might qualify, but none really seem to capture a uniquely Atlanta vibe. And maybe that's the thing - Memphis has their BBQ, Nashville has their hot chicken, and Atlanta has a melting pot without a singular dominant flavor. Maybe our signature shack is a banh mi joint, or crawfish by way of Vietnam, or an out of the way place with corn tortillas hechas a mano. I'm still looking for my Atlanta "love" shack, but maybe the search is simply better than the final destination.

So... what's your Atlanta "love" shack?

Boltons Spicy Chicken and Fish, Nashville

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