My first experience was decidedly uninspiring. The cafeteria of my South Georgia school was under construction, and for 4 months lunch was a thin layer of tasteless, neon orange pimento cheese between two slices of cold white bread. My 8 year old self swore to never touch the stuff again. Thank goodness I grew up.
Now with Atlanta Eats, I eat my way through this incredible town. And along with the rest of the country, traditional “Mama’s Kitchen” Southern food is what I am drawn to the most. If anything screams the South, it's pimento cheese. The lunchbox staple for many has found a new home on many of the best menus on town. What Atlanta chefs are doing with this Southern spread is mouthwatering and has definitely erased the haunting neon orange images of childhood. Here are our picks for the best in Atlanta, y’all!
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Fox Bros. BBQThe way you really need to experience Fox Bros' take on pimento cheese is with their “burger.” Brisket is piled high on a toasted bun with jalapeno mayo, pimento cheese and red onions. Click here to see them on Atlanta Eats.
Empire State SouthHugh Acheson’s midtown restaurant does just about everything right. From perfectly pulled morning espresso to power lunches and bottled cocktails on their outdoor bocce ball court. So, of course he’s going to make a mean pimento cheese. It’s served as part of their In Jar appetizer, which features boiled peanut hummus, deviled ham with pickled mustard seeds, trout mousse, pimento cheese with bacon marmalade, and pickled vegetables.
Sweet Auburn BBQWhen you head to the new Poncey-Highland location of Sweet Auburn BBQ, you'll find their pimento cheese in wonton form. And to make it better, there's some bacon jam marmalade and Thai sweet chili sauce on the side.
WatershedEveryone knows Watershed for their fried chicken. But they're doing right by other Southern faves. Their take is available in 'log' form as an appetizer and baked into the cornbread. Pimento cheese + cornbread = Dixie nirvana.
Pallookaville Fine FoodsWith giant corndogs and Girl Scout cookie inspired boozy milkshakes, Avondale Estate’s Pallookaville is the best place in town to unleash your inner child’s need for fun - and delicious - food. And thankfully, they are making up a version of pimento cheese for those grownups trying to get our pimento cheese on. Their version is two slices of white bread, lettuce, tomato and pimento cheese. It doesn't get more down home delicious than that. Add slices of thick cut bacon? Is that a real question?
Illegal FoodA new addition to the list is the new Virginia Highland spot that got its start as an arcade pop-up. The pimento cheese is made in house (along with everything else) and then it goes to the next level. They throw each batch into a cold smoker behind the restaurant. It gives it an incredible layer of depth. Find it on the appetizer menu, or top one of their famous burgers with it, which is the preferred method of delivery for owner Steven.