Eats – Atlanta, GA

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Heading downtown for what, ultimately, turned out to be a non-existent event, I was torn, once again, with the question, “What do I want to eat?”  My first instinct was for a box of hot Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, but reason prevailed and I determined I needed “real” food.  So there I was, on Ponce de Leon, looking for options for quick, eating alone options that weren’t fast food.  I’ll have to admit that I was sorely tempted by Chang & Chico’s Mexican and Chinese Food (open 3:00 pm to 3:00 am!), but it was dark, windy and cold and they’re primarily a carry out place with a few picnic tables out front.  I made the mental note to return when it was a) warmer and b) stayed daylight longer as I did NOT want to sit in a restaurant at the intersection of Ponce and Boulevard,in the dark, eating tacos and fried rice.

Eats has been on Ponce, near the old Sears, for twenty years or so.   I remember having eaten there a total of once, about five years ago.  Feeling a duty to memorialize a meal there, I pulled into their parking lot and walked in.  I’m not really sure how to describe it.  It’s neither a “restaurant” or a “cafeteria”.  It’s like a bastardization of a food court with two vendors.

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Coming in the front door, to your left are the pasta options.  Straight ahead is a meat (chicken – lemon pepper, jerk or BBQ- or meatloaf) and vegetables spot.  (I made a mental note about the vegetables for my vegetarian friend as they are all vegetarian prepared, something of an anomaly at most meat-and-threes.)  The clientele was an assortment of couples and singles, of all races and combinations – very “in town”.  One of the reviews I read said that the “soup-kitchen environment” was “part of the charm”.  I’ll let you decide how charming you find that type atmosphere for yourself.

On to the meal – I decided on jerk chicken with mac-n-cheese, black eyed peas and corn on the cob:
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I went with the jerk as that’s what everyone in front of me ordered and 75% of the folks sitting seemed to be having. (On a side note, in checking out their website, there are a series of humorous you-tubes where a giant chicken acts like a “jerk”, followed by the screen being stamped “Jerk Chicken” like this one)

As you can see, I ended up with almost half a chicken.  The jerk flavoring was mainly on the skin.  The dark meat, particularly, was moist and flavorful.  The mac-n-cheese was very good – full of cheddar.  These may have been some of the best black eyed peas that I’ve ever had that hadn’t been flavored with some sort of pork.  The corn on the cob was okay – I think that was probably a bad choice based on the season.

If you’re looking for vegetable options – it would be difficult to top their selection (mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes, broccoli, green beans, broccoli casserole, collards, rice, black beans and baked sweet potatoes).  And it was definitely affordable – all that, plus a soft drink for less than $10.
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