Where To Eat & Drink Near The Atlanta Airport

The ATL Airport District is more than just hotels and overnight parking, there's an exciting food scene waiting for you in the area surrounding Hartsfield-Jackson.
outdoor patio seating at retro gas station converted restaurant

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Maybe you're in town for an expo at the Georgia International Convention Center. Maybe you live here and are still trying to figure out when Tri-Cities became the “Airport District.” Whatever the case, you’ll eventually have to eat, and there’s an exciting food scene waiting for you in this south metro region surrounding Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. You’ll find BBQ that’s spent hours on the smoker, brunch in a sceney atmosphere, and coffee in a shop so gorgeously decorated you’ll break your “no phone while we’re eating” rule.


photo credit: Amy Sinclair



$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerLunchQuick Eats
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Few establishments do smoked meats as well as Pit Boss in Hapeville. This counter service BBQ spot doesn’t cut corners: no parboiled ribs or oven-roasted brisket here, only meats that have spent hours on the smoker. The airport employees who swarm this place for lunch will tell you the same. They may also tell what you should order, but we’ll save them that trouble. Get the amazing smoked ribs, wings, and tender pulled chicken sandwich with tangy housemade sauce.

The Breakfast Boys is the Beyoncé of Historic College Park’s brunch mile, but it's also among the best places to get brunch in the entire metro. From the same team behind Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, this brunch hangout with fantastic food and high energy is always packed, so book ahead, especially on weekends. When that Rihanna hit blends into an '80s soul classic, don’t be afraid to dance at your table. We assure that you won’t be the only one vibing inside the cutesy space with vibrant pink and blue striped walls and local artwork. When bites of crispy catfish and grits and tasty jerk chicken with moist sweet potato pancakes send signals to your pleasure receptors, it’s even harder to resist the groove.

For those days when only a good red or white will do with lunch, Volare Wine & Bistro in downtown Hapeville is your spot. The wine bar and restaurant offers excellent food and wine in a relaxed, casual setting. Around here, locals pop in during the lazy afternoon hours, kicking back with a glass of chardonnay and catching up on the day. And although we love wine as much as any Real Housewife, the food is the peach here, with highlights like the grilled salmon, perfectly crisp yet tender, and the flavorful blackened mahi sandwich. As the day turns to evening, Volare dials down the lights to "is this a date?" levels, making it just as great for dinner.

Bole Ethiopian Restaurant in College Park is a family-owned restaurant that’s open late and has great shared plates. Grab a seat at a large booth or at one of the cool-looking black and white photo tables. If you’re rolling deep, grab several tables since the dining room is big enough to hold all of our dreams for a Falcons championship. This place is perfect for passing food—try one of the shareable plates with vegetables, lentils, lamb, beef, and plenty of injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread that Bole makes exceptionally well.

Paper Plane, a Thai restaurant in Hapeville with a bar-like ambience and kid-friendly outdoor dining that make this place great for everyone. So much so, nobody cares that it sits on an awkward corner and you have to do some maneuvering to park. The wins here are obvious—it has a big patio with enough space to run a victory lap after you beat your kid at cornhole. Also, there’s live music twice a week, and you can order a Mexican Empire lager from Hapeville’s own Arches Brewing. Try the Pad Zu with its soft noodles, and the crispy vegetable spring rolls. Even though it’s always busy with after-work crowds, friend groups, and families, you can usually pop by any day of the week and be seated pretty quickly.

Think of this College Park location of Tom, Dick, & Hank, a casual BBQ/soul food spot that’s great for families and groups, as the chiller version of its sister location in Summerhill. The vibe here is relaxed and unbothered, and the big patio off to the side fills up with folks in the springtime and summer. One thing both locations share, however, is the top-notch food. The smoked wings still start conversations, and when you’re not in the mood for something off the BBQ grill, try the fried catfish.

Don’t judge Chairs by the dark, graffiti-tagged stairway that leads upstairs. This pub-like restaurant is highkey one of the most entertaining hangouts in East Point. We love the pool tables, retro arcade games, tinsel, string lights, and small patio (just order at the bar before heading out). Plus the actual chairs hanging on the back wall is the art situation we never knew we needed. While we like to come for Monday karaoke and Wednesday trivia, any night here is a winner because it’s the kind of place where folks leave their worries out in the car. The crispy fried chicken sandwich served on a bun with tomatoes and lettuce, and the smoked wings, crispy outside and juicy inside, are our favorites here. Pair them with a crisp cider or a punchy Old Fashioned.

Neighborhood vibes, good service, and solid food make Buttermilk Biscuit in College Park an easy-going stop if you've got time to kill before heading to the airport. It's a casual breakfast and lunch spot on the otherwise sceney College Park strip. Here, people still read papers over coffee while friend groups supply the soundtrack of chatter and snap selfies over old-school buttermilk pancakes with crispy edges. The friendly, small-town atmosphere also means talkative types won't have trouble finding a sounding board at the bar, but you can also head to the patio to sit back with your strong vodka and cucumber cocktail and watch the comings and goings. While the biscuits are so-so, their crispy battered fried chicken makes the chicken biscuit a worthy order. We also like the donut bites—they’re like little balled-up beignets, sweet and moist.

Massive retractable walls and plenty of huge windows make the Brake Pad Bar & Grill in East Point feel like is one giant patio. So even when we’re sitting inside (which isn’t very often), it feels like we’re getting fresh air. The staff is bringing “thank you for being a friend” level niceness, which makes us feel like we’re in no rush at all to eat our crispy wings, well-done burger, and other gastropub snacks out on the patio. Brake Pad’s easy breezy attitude has made it a favorite neighborhood hangout for years.

With its huge wrap-around patio, pool tables that see more action than a John Wick flick, and solid menu, Corner Tavern is a popular local hangout in Hapeville. The mood is always just-got-off-work buzzed, with animated conversations bouncing over the pool tables, and an eclectic playlist of rock, pop, and classic R&B setting the tempo. Even on weekdays, the tavern’s wood bench seats are filled with families and the central bar swarmed withs solo diners and friends just here for a drink and a good time. We like the crispy wings and their generously portioned creamy cajun pasta, which is good for sharing.

Hapeville has its fair share of coffee spots, but Cafe Belli, right on the edge of downtown, is something else. It has a cool, beachy European vibe—lots of plants, peach and forest green seating, and an entire wall of stunning black line art—making it part fancy, part schmancy. Cafe Belli flips the script from coffee shop by day to cocktail bar by night, so it’s a great all-around option for a low-pressure first date. If you’re a daytimer, give the lavender matcha latte a try. It's velvety smooth and sweet with a hint of lavender that really makes it pop. Just try not to slurp. The place isn't huge, and the regulars typing on their laptops will hear you.

There's a lot going on at J. Presso, an eccentric coffee shop that sells great coffee and breakfast sandwiches in Hapeville. Is it an antique store? A wildly eclectic art exhibit? Did you wander into your cousin’s collectibles room? The random vintage TVs, old school bicycles, horse saddles, and flags aren’t helping you decide. Quirky-cool decorations aside, J. Presso sells tasty coffee and breakfast bites, like their smoked salmon, tomatoes, and capers sandwich (our favorite). 

Kupcakerie, a cupcake shop that sells coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and books, continues to be a top East Point social hangout thanks to its consistency and high quality. We love that the cupcakes are moist, with creamy, not-too-sweet icing. Swing by in the morning for a latte and a flaky croissant filled with egg, bacon, and cheese, or have a sweet Cookies n’ Dream cupcake before lunch. Though the sunny space is small and seats are limited, it's a good spot for people-watching since the East Point Marta Station is across the street. While you wait for your order, don't miss browsing the selection of books for sale, courtesy of Jubilee Bookstore.

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