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What Type of Food Is Atlanta Known For?

crispy fried chicken in checkered serving baskets

A-Town, Hotlanta, The Big Peach – there’s no shortage of nicknames for Georgia’s capital, but there are even more reasons to visit this southern metropolis! A visit to the ATL is the perfect excuse to delve into the city’s rich culture and diverse history of civil rights, entrepreneurship, arts, music, and more. Of course, after visiting the must-see Atlanta spots like the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the World of Coca-Cola, and the Georgia Aquarium, you are likely to work up quite an appetite. Luckily, Atlanta also offers an excellent food scene!

But you may be wondering, what is Atlanta cuisine and exactly what type of food is Atlanta known for? Well, that’s why we’ve put together a list for you of the types of food that define the city. You simply can’t leave the ATL without having tried the following foods:

Southern BBQ

If you’ve lived or traveled in the South, you know that barbecue is a staple of southern cuisine and culture. Depending on the region you are in, the style of barbecue varies greatly and there is often heated debates on which regional barbecue is the best. From pulled pork and vinegar-based sauce in North Carolina, to brisket with a thick sweet tomato-based sauce in Kansas City, a region’s barbecue is a part of its identity.

Atlanta, however, is a little different in that respect. Atlanta barbecue doesn’t have a clear style of its own, but rather takes influence from nearby regions. Go to different BBQ restaurants in Atlanta and the flavors and ingredients may vary. Jonathan Fox of Atlanta’s popular Fox Bros. Bar-B-Que attributes this to Atlanta being a transplant city, many people move there from other regions and start their own barbecue joints. Fox himself is from Texas.

Atlanta may not be quite at the level of Texas, Memphis, or the Carolinas when it comes to its barbecue identity, but there are still plenty of delicious spots to satisfy your southern BBQ craving. Check this Atlanta Magazine list of the 10 best barbecue spots in Atlanta to get your mouth watering.

Fried Chicken

Another classic southern food you don’t want to miss on your Atlanta vacation is fried chicken. It’s a popular food you can get in nearly every corner of the city, available as affordable takeout as well as a menu item at higher end sit-down restaurants. To eat fried chicken like a local, try ordering the “lemon pepper wet” version, a uniquely Atlantan twist on the classic southern food that tops hot wings with a dusting of lemon pepper seasoning to cut the spice. This version of fried chicken has blown up recently after being mentioned on the popular FX show “Atlanta”. You can read more about lemon pepper wings and how they became an Atlanta staple in this NY times article on the subject.

International

Atlanta’s diversity is a big part of what makes it such a special city. It is a melting pot of cultures and people, and around 14% of Atlanta’s population is made up of immigrants. That means a highlight of the city’s food scene is its international food. The largest immigrant populations are from Mexico, India, Jamaica, and South Korea, so looking for those restaurants when deciding what international food to eat in Atlanta is a good place to start! You can also check out Discover Atlanta’s list of the best international food in the city.

Peaches

Is there anything more associated with Georgia than the peach? With The Peach State being Georgia’s nickname and more than 70 roads named after the fruit, as mentioned in our previous post Why Is Georgia Known As the Peach State, the peach has become a symbol of Georgia, and for good reason. The climate and soil in Georgia produces a flavorful, sweet, and juicy peach that any native Georgian will swear is the absolute best representation of the fruit you can find.

For this reason, leaving Georgia without eating peach cobbler is like never having visited at all. In Atlanta, check out Mary Mac’s Tea Room and The Busy Bee Cafe, two classic southern dining spots that have been there since the 1940s, where you can cross some of the best classic fried chicken AND peach cobbler off your list. Trust us, you won’t regret it!

There’s no question that Atlanta is a bucket-list city to visit in the US. Its mix of southern tradition and modern innovation combine to create the unique culture that is represented in the city’s people, places, and of course, food. If you’re not too stuffed from eating your way through Atlanta on your next trip, check out Roundabout Atlanta’s sightseeing tours and learn more about the city’s history from a local.

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