10 BeltLine Spots For Good Food When It’s Too Damn Hot To Work Out
Exercise your right to get food and drinks instead.
Somehow, “let’s walk the BeltLine” has become the new “let’s meet for coffee” social invitation. At first you’re game to join your friends to stroll, cycle, or skate on the popular trail, but then Atlanta gets real Atlanta-y and hits you with blazing hotness out of the blue. You could suck it up and continue the course, possibly drawing the eye of a casting agent for the reboot of The Walking Dead. Or you can yield to hellish temps and retreat to one of these spots for a refreshing drink and bite. We choose the latter. Best of all, you can come in your workout gear and no one will judge or turn you away (This one’s for you, Keisha).
Eastside Trail Near Piedmont Park
photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker
A Piedmont Park pillar since the ’70s, Woody’s is the sizzling sound of distraction you need on a day you’re ignoring all your tasks and your fitness apps. One of the city’s best cheesesteaks, the Woody’s Steak consists of a generous portion of grilled meat, onions, and white American cheese on a toasted bun. Don’t sleep on the gooey Chicken Steak, either. The Orange Freeze is an unforgettable flavor rush masquerading as a shake, but drink the whole thing to prepare yourself for the half-mile trek back to wherever you parked your car.
Eastside Trail Near Ponce City Market
photo credit: Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant
When you see people on the Rina patio sipping frozen drinks garnished with fresh orchids and fruit slices, you may find yourself mindlessly drifting to the walk-up counter for one of their fruity slushies or spiced sangria. If you’re feeling too depleted for alcohol, ask for the mocktail version of their Metzitzim, which hits the spot just as well. Order a hummus plate and any one of their big stuffed pita sandwiches. We also really love their Jallah Fried Fish, crispy grouper nuggets with a lemony, green tahini sauce.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
New Realm Brewing Company
With rooftop and front patios, outdoor beer garden space, and a massive dining room, New Realm feels like a Chutes and Ladders game board, where you can roam in and out any of the spaces with a beer in hand. Even with the crowd, though, you’re always able to find a seat when you need to cool off. Our favorite things on the menu are the burgers and sandwiches—and, of course, we grab a few beers. But if you’re still too flustered to navigate the menu yourself, we recommend the Hot Chicken Sandwich, New Realm Burger, and the B-ALT Grilled Cheese, which is a thick bacon, arugula lettuce, and tomato sandwich made with a locally produced cheese.
Eastside Trail Near Krog Street Market
photo credit: Juli Horsford
Nina & Rafi
Located right next to Pour Taproom, the interior of Nina and Rafi is all industrial chic, with black faux brick walls and red accents on the lighting fixtures above the bar. But the casual outdoor patio is filled with people, who, like you, jettisoned their BeltLine trek in favor of craft beer and Detroit-style pizza. If you’re here before 4pm, order a slice, but if you’ve got time and a crew, just get a whole pizza, which takes about 30 minutes. We recommend the sweet n’ spicy Detroit-style pie and the Caesar salad to balance out all of the hot cheese you’ll be consuming.
Bell Street Burritos
After a long walk on the BeltLine, it’s nice to retreat into the cocoon of a massive burrito. Bell Street has a shaded patio that’s situated almost underneath the BeltLine, so it’s perfect if you need a break from groups whizzing past on bicycles. Real fans of Bell Street know to “Grill My Burrito” for an extra 75 cents, but if a burrito sounds too heavy, their tacos or quesadillas are an excellent back up with plenty of veggie options like their broccoli, potato, or bean tacos.
Guac Y Margys - BeltLine
Guac y Margys' original location off the BeltLine in Old Fourth Ward has scaled back their full menu. So if you’re craving tacos, you’ll have to head to their new location in Midtown. But when you’re cruising the BeltLine and in desperate need of a place to sit and sip a drink, the original GyM is always a good choice. Head inside and order one of their 15 margaritas from the counter—or an entire pitcher if you need to chill out a bit longer. Get some queso, guac, or salsa to go with your marg and sit outside and take a drink every time you see people riding tandem on a motorized scooter. You’ll be feeling the tequila in no time.
The James Room
While the hidden speakeasy and full service restaurant behind the cafe bookshelves isn’t the place you’d want to go in workout gear (there’s a strict dress code), you’ll feel totally welcomed in the front cafe. By day, The James Room serves coffee and a variety of pastries and desserts like macarons (ask for the Negroni macaron), cheesecake, and homemade pop-tarts. The clean, bright white front room is small with just a few tables and leather chairs, but there’s outdoor seating with views of the BeltLine available. Whether you sit inside or out, you’ll feel like you’re at a classy European bakery as you sip your coffee and devour a sweet treat.
Eastside Trail Near Reynoldstown/Southside Trail By Glenwood Park
photo credit: Gabriella LePage
Muchacho in Reynoldstown has quickly transformed into one of the best and most versatile spots on the BeltLine. The sunny spot is laden with plants and foliage hanging from the ceiling, a lush complement to the bright colors and ’70’s-era decor. Muchacho fills up fast, so head to the outdoor patio to order a round of tacos, sandwiches, bowls, and a frozen “bevvie” or cocktail from the bar without having to brave the masses inside.When you order at the counter, make sure to try one of their seven salsas, which goes from their mild Verde to “you motherf*cker” Macha. With housemade chips, you kinda have to try their creamy guac, too.
Westside/West End Trail
Lean Draft House
With its motorcycle-garage decor and beer-heavy drink menu, it’s understandable if your first thought about this spot off Ralph David Abernathy is that it’s not the best place for you and your scooter-riding 3year-old to lounge after a stroll. But almost on cue, a mom pushing a stroller comes in and orders the small-but-mighty grouper tacos ($15). By the time she adds a Terrapin brew to her order, you realize, parent or not, we can all appreciate a good pour. Plus, the patio atmosphere is welcoming to everyone—pets, underaged humans, and probably even Saints fans.
photo credit: Brian Manley
This warehouse-turned-restaurant has steadily become one of the Westside Beltline’s go-to spots for every scenario, from big parties to impromptu pit spots. If you’re bypassing your 10,000 steps today, walk your eyes over to Boxcar’s extensive beer menu (a 28-draft rotating tap powered by Hop City downstairs) or peruse a sandwich section that includes the cheesesteak-y Butcher’s Bun and the heavenly G.O.A.T. (Greatest Turkey of All Time). Your tummy, not to mention your relaxed feet, will thank you later.