The Best Restaurants In Summerhill, RankedBarbecue, hot dogs, oysters, and donuts. There's a lot to love (and eat) in Summerhill.
A surefire way to gauge A-town cred is to ask about Summerhill. The newbies are quick to reference the current GSU takeover, with an explosion of student housing and the Panther rebrand of the old Braves stadium. Some residents will recall its '96 Olympic days. But only true OGs remember when it was originally called Summerhill—an era when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run at Atlanta-Fulton County stadium and the Beatles played their only Atlanta concert. But no matter where you fall in that spectrum, it's hard to keep up since Summerhill moves through redevelopment changes quicker than a Spencer Strider fastball. So this list always stays on top of things to help you navigate the best places to eat in the neighborhood.
Southern National is the newest—and best—restaurant on Georgia Avenue (it's from the celebrated chef/restaurateur team who helped put One Flew South on the map). SN feeds your eyes with an open, industrial-chic dining room, but their great, comforting southern plates are the real feast. The redfish over field peas and miso sauce is what you might make if you grew up with elders who watched Julia Child clips along with their stories. And the exceptional lamb burger helper is our favorite dish out the kitchen—mozzarella, parmesan, and rigatoni taste like they come with a side of nostalgia.
Little Bear’s always-changing menu is the brainchild of its chef/owner, who likes to showcase locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Props to him for crafting what’s consistently one of the most creative menus in all of Atlanta. Ingredient lists like “unnecessary garnishes,” and a drawing of a smiling, fluffy dog on the paper menu lets you know he doesn’t take his talents too seriously. While the real pup (his name is Fernando) doesn’t snuggle by your foot during dinner, the place still feels homey—like the dining room of a bed and breakfast. And we appreciate a relaxed setting that helps us forget we're out in public since we always want to lick our plates clean. Dishes like the Tajin-heavy strawberry sambal chicken and karnatzlach sausage doused with a red pea mapo sauce keep us coming back to see what fun, tasty dishes they come up with next.
Talat Market sits among the residential streets. This neighborhood spot with a Thai-inspired, rotating menu is ideal for date nights or when we just feel like slurping down oysters with friends on a random Thursday night. There's a giant wall mural that somehow looks like a trippy watercolor painting, and the dimly lit interior is usually bumping with people. The crispy rice salad is a must with a mix of flavors that combine for Christopher Nolan-level intensity for our taste buds. And if there’s a curry dish available, we'd say order two of them because fighting over the last bite is a bad look on your first date.
If the exposed brick walls, foliage-draped bar, and Sofía Reyes tunes don’t transport you to a cantina in central Mexico, this taqueria’s take on the region’s cuisine just might. Enjoy a tidy menu of fundamental (ribeye tacos on hand-pressed corn tortillas) and fun dishes (crema de frijol—a pasty, black bean dip that works well) from the colorful dining room or one of the outdoor fire pit tables. No matter your seat, fluffy churros make any meal at D Boca N Boca complete.
When you’re in the mood for a beef patty, venture off Georgia Avenue to a residential side street to find JD’s. It’s part takeout joint, part convenience store, and fully worth a trip to sample Caribbean dishes like their patties and super delicious jerk chicken egg rolls. The corner store has changed ownership about as often as the neighborhood has gone through rebirths, but this newest version might be our favorite. We love to mosey through racks of chips and coolers stuffed with ice cream. And at the back counter, snag one of their scratch-made juices and place an order for the off-the-menu cheesesteak loaded with melted cheese and juicy beef.
The massive patio, a full bar slinging boozy slushies, and tables with enough room for an extended family reunion are all enough to make this BBQ locale the one thing your folks can actually agree on. The smoker and woodpile behind the patio are the only hints you need that this joint brings serious flavors. The tender, pulled pork is easily the best meat option. The weekend-only, smoker-cooked salmon is another reason we look forward to Saturdays. And if you want a sandwich, the aioli-dripping brisket grilled cheese on ciabatta bread is the Adonis of grilled cheeses. We’ll even forgive them for their boring potato salad since we love kicking back here.
When you gotta have a slice, Junior’s is the only pizzeria within a few miles. And thankfully they’re good. There’s nothing junior about the giant slices of pizza at this casual, heavily graffitied pizza joint, which shares patio space with Wood’s. You can get a whole pie here, but we usually opt for a slice of the loaded veggie or the garlicky white. And you’ll need to do the NYC fold to avoid the dangerous pizza droop that spills toppings onto the table instead of your mouth.
Remember the big dispute for best fast food chicken sandwich on social media? How Crispy has now entered the chat. Their fun, sauced-covered takes on the standard fried chicken sandwich gives the debate some much-needed flair. While it's not the best in the city, it's the best quick-service chicken sandwich. In addition to flavors like garlic honey and tikka masala, they’ve got the ATL version we desperately needed with a tangy lemon pepper wet chicken sandwich. And the brightly colored orange and yellow counter-service spot has a nice, shaded patio when you need to shake up your lunch rotation with a new view.
The Hero Doughnuts and Buns name is a big tip-off of what they do best. Since it's one of the city's best doughnut spots, this place is always buzzing with families on weekends or remote workers staging their video calls in front of the venue’s loud red walls. A variety of donuts like the apple crisp with a fruit and cinnamon mash on top (no poser synthetic filling from a jar) make this a perfect morning pit stop. But later in the day when we need some protein, we’d make a special trip for their two-patty cheesy burger on a light fluffy bun.
Halfway Crooks isn’t just some neighborhood brewery, it’s one of the best in the city. Beer snobs can find everything from lagers to radlers. The food options lean heavily into the German bierhaus theme with a solid beer brat, currywurst, and a thick pretzel (side eyes because it’s only half a pretzel). The real appeal of this spot is the exposed brick rooftop with large picnic tables that can easily fit multiple large groups. But the new addition of the biergarten out back brings another outdoor seating option. Enclosed by colorful shipping containers, the biergarten is the perfect shady spot for people to vibe out to live music sessions on the elevated stage. It fully cements Halfway Crooks as the best place to drink and chill in the neighborhood.
Maepole is Georgia's version of those BYO salad and grain bowl chains. But they add topping options like collards, hoppin' john, and mac and cheese to appeal to our southern tastes. And we thank them for their service—especially since we can get a quick, filling meal that won't slow us down the way fast food usually does. Moving down the assembly line selecting toppings and protein makes us feel like our childhood school cafeteria got a serious upgrade, and we aren’t complaining. The natural light cascading into the casual dining area is perfect when we need a break from staring at a screen midday, but it’s rare to find many people eating there, so grab-and-go is the move.
This casual counter-service spot offers nine hot dog builds, each served on brioche buns baked fresh daily from Alon's Bakery. Additional wiener options like swapping the all-beef frank to a jalapeño cheddarwurst or chicken sausage helps to cement Pete's place on our best hot dog list. The standout is the Green Thumb with arugula, avocado, and a pickled pepper relish that tastes so incredibly fresh you'll do a double take to make sure you aren’t eating a salad instead. Sitting beneath their covered patio, with a hot dog in one hand and a milkshake in the other, makes us feel nostalgic for a small town life that we’ve never actually had.
Little Tart’s newest location brings espressos, coffee, and a variety of teas to the under caffeinated neighborhood. But what we love most about Little Tart is the pastries that are so full of flavor that even Paul and Prue would be impressed. Peering into the glass pastry case, it’s hard not to order everything, but the fruit tarts—which are not little in square footage or flavor (strawberry is our go-to)—and savory quiches are always a good idea. Massive windows on either side of the door spill happy light into the sitting area that’s usually stuffed with friends meeting over a cuppa or university students clacking away on their computers.
The scoops are big, and the ice cream is a silky soft serve, so this spot is really living up to its name. We like their delicious rotating flavors, which are seasonally inspired things like their tart lavender lemonade or refreshing cantaloupe sorbet. Go for a waffle cone, chocolate hardshell, and plenty of toppings—all made by neighboring sister bakery Little Tart. Bring your vegan friend too, since there are plenty of plant-based and non-dairy options. If you go in the evening, prepare to wait in a line that snakes out the door because this is the only spot in the neighborhood for ice cream.