Great Comfort Foods To Eat On Miserable Days
Maybe we’re all still triggered from Snowmageddon. Maybe it's because there's never enough snow to make that life-size version of Jeezy the Snowman that we've always wanted to build. We just know winter isn’t winning any Atlantans over.
In these cold, miserable days, there aren't many reasons to venture out, but food—especially winter comfort food that warms you up—is always a good motive. From the city’s best grilled cheeses to vegan chili and fried bologna sandwiches, these are our favorite dishes to brave the cold for.
Anyone who slanders a tuna melt is missing love in their life. Allow Fishmonger, with locations in Pullman Yards and Virginia Highland, to show you love. And thankfully, it’s not the sloppy, mayo-drenched, barely-held-together variety served at derelict roadside diners. Fishmonger’s version comes correct with fresh tuna, thick slices of crispy seeded bread, and sprouts mixed with fresh mint leaves for an added zing. While it doesn’t give the melty cheese pull we usually crave, it’s a fantastic, lighter compromise. Order at the walk-up counter, find a seat in the small space, then watch the two-member kitchen team behind the seafood display as they slice, chop, and assemble your melt.
Since the By George is housed in an old historic building (circa 1906) with French brasserie vibes, even the basics here feel like a departure from the average burger and club sandwich lunch. So if you pair either one of those with a bowl of creamy, perfectly tangy tomato bisque soup, then you might as well call out for the rest of the day. And with complimentary valet to alleviate Downtown parking drama, you might find us here for lunch, too. Just grab a seat looking out toward views of the downtown scenes. Unless your feed blows up with news about an Outkast reunion album, your day won’t get any better than this.
Giving off Waffle House-for-yacht-owners vibes, Roshambo sits between a bottle shop and a variety store in the Peachtree Battle shopping center. When you wake up with a taste for oysters Rockefeller, crudo, and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, this upscale diner delivers, serving their breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections throughout the day. And while there are plenty of fancy items (hello, meaty ribeyes and tender pan-seared snapper), we found love in a simple place–a classic grilled cheese with a crispy buttered crust that makes for easy dipping in tomato soup.
It might seem like all the plant-based people and curious carnivores at Slutty Vegan are always in a jolly mood. Hip-hop tunes blasting through the sound system and cashiers on amplified microphones who greet guests with endearments like, “hey, sluts” just do something to brighten our mood, too. And now with the meatiest of meatless chilis on the menu, there’s even more to like about the vegan burger chain. Filled with crumbles of Impossible Pork (which is a rare find for Impossible product lovers) and a mix of spices, it both warms and fills you up like a good chili should.
If you head to Colony Square’s Saint + Council for lunch, you’ll probably notice the tables are filled with corporate types and couples on daytime dates. You might also notice that every table has an order of grilled cheese, which towers higher than the typical smashed after-school special. You should order one too, but so you know—the soft doughy bread stuffed with a flattened, fried mozzarella patty, smoked gouda, and tomato jam isn’t the grilled cheese you’d normally dunk into tomato soup. Yet, Saints + Council serves it with a big bowl of tomato soup—we say skip the soup since the tomato jam already provides enough tangy, sweetness to balance out the smokey, salty cheesy goodness. The menu also has boozy hot chocolate when you really want to warm up.
Since ’99, Souper Jenny has been ladling out big hearty servings of soup for lunchtime crowds. While the menu items—and the number of Souper Jenny locations—have grown over the years, crowd favorites like Dad’s Turkey Chili remain. But whenever you see the Shrimp and Crab Chowder hit the daily menu, cancel all your mid-day conference calls and make your way to the nearest location before they run out. The tomato-based chowder has a little touch of cream and is packed with jumbo shrimp, generous crab, and chunks of potato. While it's more like drinking a Southern seafood boil than a New England seafood chowder, it delights in a way that’ll send you back to the soup counter for a to-go pint. Grab a cauliflower and cheese soup to go, a more filling take on a traditional broccoli and cheese.
Build-Your-Own Breakfast Sandwich
Because their weekend brunch always draws a crowd, we prefer to roll into Highland’s Old Fourth Ward location during the weekday for breakfast or lunch. Here, the classic bacon egg cheese sandwich gets a BBL makeover. With a selection of daily homemade breads, listen to your impulse to go thiccer. “A croissant, maybe?” No, thiccer. “Yes, a heavyweight slab of their famous jalapeño focaccia.” Then, of course, play around with the cheese options and pile it higher with more meats if you’d like. Because of all the delicious, dreamy bread choices, any sandwich—from the classic grilled cheese on rosemary garlic bread to a reuben on rye—tastes like a bite of happiness.
Bringing a taste of Venice to Virginia Highlands for years, La Tavola works on many levels during an Atlanta cold spell. For starters, things are so snug inside the trattoria that you can almost feel the heat coming off the plates on other tables. And then there’s the warming spaghetti. While the menu favorite doesn’t look any differently from something you might whip up between streams, the golf ball-sized veal meatballs work so well in the basil-rich marinara sauce that you may never try at home again.
Fried Bologna Sandwich
We haven’t had a fried bologna sandwich since middle school, but one bite of the sandwich at Dad’s in Virginia Highland takes us right back to our braceface days. With their culinary ode to latchkey kid Americana, Dad’s is doing it right with a thick cut of bologna topped with purple cabbage slaw and mustard barbecue sauce that adds a nice smoky flavor. Get a side of disco fries topped with bacon, queso, and jalapeños to complete the holy grail of comfort foods. Go and bask in the ambiance of funky red orb lights perched above the bar, a working jukebox, and movies like Kindergarten Cop projected on the walls. When you make it to the bathroom, check out the wall of famous dudes from sitcoms and movies to see how many you can name.
Grilled Cheese And Tomato Soup
This outdoor bar in the Kimpton Sylvan in Buckhead is our favorite all-season courtyard. In winter, the fenced-in hotel terrace is lined with string lights, illuminating the stone pathways leading to several private (and heated) dining igloos. Above all, we really like that Willow Bar's cozy alfresco experience matches their equally comforting menu of items like grilled cheese sandwiches on pillow-soft bread. And the accompanying tomato soup stands up on its own as a spoonful of joyful memories. If you want more cheese (and who doesn’t), get their Classic Alpine Cheese Fondue, in which you can dip roasted potato slices, bread cubes, and beef tips.