The past decade has seen Smyrna completely transform. Between a population growth of nearly 30 percent in recent years and the scoring of the Braves stadium, Smyrna is getting its due. With a rapidly growing amount of mouths to feed, it’s no wonder that restauranteurs are taking notice and flocking to the area. A recent study by Nerd Wallet named Smyrna the fourth best city in America to start a restaurant.
So, what restaurants have taken up the call? We rounded up a few that have made Smyrna such a delicious town to live in.
In Smyrna Market Village, this is the second location of Atkins Park. The original opened in 1922 in Virginia Highland. The Smyrna location is more family friendly, operating as half bar and half restaurant. The two are separated by an entranceway, so you can enjoy whichever experience you want. On the restaurant side, the food speaks to the owner’s Louisiana roots with dishes like oysters and jambalaya. The kitchen is run by chef Rusty Hamlin, who tours with and cooks for the Zac Brown Band.
Behind a Papa Johns and next to a golf supply store, this sushi spot is not what one would expect a top notch sushi restaurant to be. Don’t let the outside fool you, though. Inside, this family run restaurant is serving up some of the freshest seafood in town. The salmon is a favorite, with its buttery texture. However, insiders know to order off menu for some really delightful treats. The Cowboy Hat has a crispy rice cracker topped with crab salad and a fried scallop nestled on top. The Cowgirl Hat has that same rice cracker and crab salad, but is topped with a mixture of spicy tuna and salmon.
Muss and Turner's comes from the same team that brought us Local Three and now Common Quarter. It’s perfect for both lunch and dinner. Lunch is quick, but delicious. Sandwiches rule the menu, and you really can’t go wrong. Swifty’s Dream is a stand out. The guys put their in-house Big Green Egg to full use by filling a Holeman & Finch bun with local Berkshire pulled pork, Carolina barbecue sauce, Nueske's bacon and horseradish slaw. If you need an after dinner drink (or before, or during), head to the big cooler door in the back of the restaurant. Walk through it to find a dark and sexy speakeasy. Eleanor’s has a menu filled with cocktails and local brew.
Sure, it’s got Vinings in the name, but Smyrna is in the address. South City opened the second location of its popular Midtown restaurant in 2013, and the neighborhood fell in love. Diners indulge in buttermilk fried chicken, and shrimp and grits. Bourbon is the drink of choice, with a deep selection and occasional tasting events. If you are gluten-free, you’re in luck. South City offers up gluten-free dinner and brunch menus.
Tacos La Villa
Tacos and tortas and tamales, oh my! Tacos Villa is another spot that should not be judged by its exterior. Housed in an old Quiznos, it does not try to hide it. You’ll still be able to get a fast meal, but it will leave you grinning and plotting your next trip. The street-style tacos are the main draw, with fillings like carnitas and steak. You shouldn’t pass up the carne asada torta. The Mexican sandwich is filled with tender carne asada (or your choice of meat), refried beans, lettuce, jalapeno, avocado and mayo. The best part? The price. You can easily get out with a huge, filling meal for less than $10.
Special mention to two food trucks that got their start in Smyrna. The first is Happy Belly. Another devotee of the Big Green Egg, its menu is full of dishes that are wood grilled, smoked and baked. After the passing of founder Terry Hall in 2014, his brother and sister took over and have continued his vision of "farm to street" cooking.
Rounding out the Smyrna food truck brigade is Freckled and Blue. These guys specialize in that, oh so Southern treat, pimento cheese. It’s available in four flavors — original, jalapeno-bacon, pepper jack-poblano and sweet onion chipotle. You can get it on its own, tucked between two slices of white bread, in deviled eggs or melted on a burger. If you can’t find them driving through town, visit their kitchen five days a week, or pick up a tub of pimento cheese at the Smyrna Beer Market.