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Old 06-24-2012, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Wandering in the Dothraki sea
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One of the most noticeable things about Atlanta for me is the over abundance of chain restaurants and a sad lack of hole-in-the wall, family-owned type establishments. The only small restaurants I find are mostly soul food or Southern fare, which is great but not my cup of tea. Are there any good Italian or, dare I say, "ethnic" hole-in-the-wall places or delis in the metro area?
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC84 View Post
One of the most noticeable things about Atlanta for me is the over abundance of chain restaurants and a sad lack of hole-in-the wall, family-owned type establishments. The only small restaurants I find are mostly soul food or Southern fare, which is great but not my cup of tea. Are there any good Italian or, dare I say, "ethnic" hole-in-the-wall places or delis in the metro area?
There used to be more of those in southeastern Cobb. They went out of business, as well as a whole bunch of other restaurants. There's been a serious recession ... restaurant closures increased tremendously.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:13 PM
 
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Go into the city and you'll find plenty. For ethnic hole in the wall types check out Buford Highway, you'll find lots of great places. Do some searches on www.yelp.com
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 21,896,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC84 View Post
One of the most noticeable things about Atlanta for me is the over abundance of chain restaurants and a sad lack of hole-in-the wall, family-owned type establishments. The only small restaurants I find are mostly soul food or Southern fare, which is great but not my cup of tea. Are there any good Italian or, dare I say, "ethnic" hole-in-the-wall places or delis in the metro area?
What are you looking or, precisely? You say Italian places. I can think of a half dozen within five miles of my house here in Mableton, but I don't know your criteria. Delis? This isn't New York City. But there are a whole pile of family owned Mexican, Thai, Chinese, and Indian restaurants scattered all over the eastern half of Cobb County. I know there are more in the City of Atlanta proper.

So what have you been looking for, and where? Maybe those of us who know our own local areas can assist you.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:51 PM
 
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I see what you are asking for but I am going to raise a point.

Could a chain not be a family owned business? Look at Chic-fil-a, the current CEO is the son of founder and owner, truett cathy. By basic stanards, all chic-fil-a's are family businesses.

What about franchises. Could a family not own a franchise of a major chain? Would that not make them a family business?

But I digress, what you are looking for is found all over the city, you just may not recognise it.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Woodstock, GA
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Ippolito's is a family-owned (as far as I know) set of Italian restaurants throughout the Atlanta area.

The son of George and Tony Ippolito has started his own restaurant in Woodstock, called "Ipps". Very similar food to Ippolitos. Across the street from Ipps is another Italian restaurant (southern Italian) called Vingenzo's, also family owned. Up the road is another Italian place called Tuscany (up on a hill next to the movie theater). Sticking with what I know, there are at least three other family owned restaurants in Woodstock that are all excellent: Magnolia Thomas, Firestone, and the recently opened Century House (which is utterly amazing!).

In Roswell we've been to Roux on Canton and Rice Thai, both of which were very good.

There are lots of little gems sprinkled throughout the area. You just have to seek them out and be prepared to take a risk on them.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:45 PM
JPD
 
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Originally Posted by StAubin View Post
I see what you are asking for but I am going to raise a point.

Could a chain not be a family owned business? Look at Chic-fil-a, the current CEO is the son of founder and owner, truett cathy. By basic stanards, all chic-fil-a's are family businesses.

What about franchises. Could a family not own a franchise of a major chain? Would that not make them a family business?

But I digress, what you are looking for is found all over the city, you just may not recognise it.
There's sort of a fine line...maybe...but if you have billboards and TV commercials, you probably no longer qualify as the type of place the OP is looking for.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:50 PM
 
Location: North Fulton
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For ethnic restaurants, definitely Buford Highway, I just haven't eaten there much in the past few years, so not sure what is open still and not.

There are good, local Italian / Mexican / Asian restaurants going towards Gwinnett / Norcross / Duluth area near Hwy 141 (NE), just don't know the names right now to tell you as I rarely eat out. I remember Ippolito's is good, just don't recall where it is located.

On the southside (Clayton), Anne & Bill's in Forest Park has great breakfast and lunch food, but definitely American (Southern) cooking.
Matthew's is a great local cafeteria in Tucker; it has been there forever and a day. There was a place in Avondale Estates called My Way Cafe, but I don't know if it is still open, these places serve breakfast and lunch, I think.

In downtown and or in East Atlanta, the best local Turkish place I know of is Ali Baba's. I think it is limited to lunch time and not dinner.

Do you have a preference for what side of town or area or type of food?
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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The good thing about Atlanta is it's a viable restaurant market. Therefore, if you're a good restaurant, you're probably not a hole-in-the-wall for very long, you're expanding and opening satellite locations.

If you are a hole-in-the-wall, you probably either aren't a very good restaurant, aren't a very good marketer, or don't have the resources or desire to grow and make more money. Most restaurant owners do want to grow and make more money.

In any case, I don't know if it's family owned, but Provino's has done well in Atlanta and has a few locations. It's not exactly 5 star Italian dining, but the dishes are high quality and the bread and salad are amazing.

Similarly, I don't know if it's family owned, but Luciano's is high quality Italian and has two locations in northeast Atlanta.

There's no real shortage of locally owned restaurants in Atlanta, you just have to know where to look. A lot of times in order to compete, even small restaurants will obtain leases in good buildings and spend money on their restaurants in order to compete.

I don't subscribe to the notion that it has to be a hole-in-the-wall to be good.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:59 PM
JPD
 
11,851 posts, read 14,465,255 times
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Originally Posted by berkeleylake View Post

Matthew's is a great local cafeteria in Tucker; it has been there forever and a day. There was a place in Avondale Estates called My Way Cafe, but I don't know if it is still open, these places serve breakfast and lunch, I think.
Our Way Cafe. Still open. They were closed for a long time due to a fire, but they're open again.

Matthews is open for lunch and dinner, maybe breakfast, too.
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