Food & Drink

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Popular eatery fails health inspection, makes amends

Joe's on JuniperAfter failing a Food Service Inspection last month, gay-popular Midtown restaurant Joe's on Juniper is now making the grade.

The inspection was conducted by the Department of Community Health, Division of Public Health on March 16, 2011. Joe's scored a 63 out of a possible 100, earning the restaurant a “U” grade.

Click here for the full report.

Joe's has since held a re-inspection and received a 100 on March 28 according to managing partner Alice Masker.

Among the violations cited in the failed inspection were workers handling food items with bare hands when a glove or utensil was required, not having a handwash sink accessible for employee use and mold in the ice machine.

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The beer is great, but you don’t have to drink to enjoy these neighborhood hubs

Brick Store Pub in Decatur

You don’t have to drink to enjoy a good neighborhood bar experience. It’s like in Olde England where the pub was the heartbeat of the community. It’s nice to have a grassroots communal experience. These two taverns aren’t about raucous screaming drunks, but rather the convivial, connective atmosphere a good pub can deliver.

Open for over a decade, the Brick Store Pub is a vital, nostalgic stop in Decatur. Many Atlantans think of Manual’s Tavern first when looking for a quintessential pub experience, but that place is hyper straight. Brick Store’s owners know they are surrounded by Decatur’s culinary gems, so they had to up their game and not serve tired stock bar food.

The scene is mainly straight, but Decatur is the Berkley of the South, so no one cares what you are. It’s the kind of straight folks that like gays because they know we move in and increase property value. The décor is classic red exposed brick.

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Neighborhood favorite provides good food for good prices

Athens Pizza

My first partner lived around the Emory – Toco Hills area so we frequented the restaurants near us. Sadly, Mexico City Gourmet closed as did Anarkli, which was the place I first tasted Indian food, which soon became an obsession. Is there anything better than chicken tiki masala on fragrant basmanti rice? We’ll save that for another column.

I was recently in the neighborhood and passed by Athens Pizza. This place is a true anchor of the area as it’s been open since 1977, owned by John and Aseimoula Papadopoulos. You’ll see the authentic urban melting pot from the elderly patrons who have been going there for decades to young Emory students. We chatted with a lovely lesbian couple while their cute adopted Asian daughter laughed with my partner’s kids. How’s that for modern family.

The non-corporate restaurant is very Greek kitschy with Mediterranean murals and is staffed with congenial employees who’ve been there for years and actually seem to care if you have a great experience. Yes, food snobs, this is not the best Greek restaurant in Atlanta — it’s not Buckhead Life’s Kyma — but the point is you can have an affordable, relevant culinary experience.

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Sweet, sweet Auburn

Bell Street Burritos

We have a historic gem in our city called Sweet Auburn, and I’m sure somewhere in the South there’s a drag queen with the same name and she’s fierce.

The Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a huge farmers market located in Downtown Atlanta on Edgewood Avenue that features restaurants and specialty culinary shops.

Whatever craving you have can be found here.

Like any good Southern drag queen, Sweet Auburn has character and charm. You get a sense of historic Atlanta while the convivial merchants are only too happy to guide your palate into simple satiation or splendid nirvana like the Sweet Auburn Bakery, with transcendental strawberry cheese Danish, or Miss D’s New Orleans Pralines.

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Sex & Dating: Date night dinners

One Midtown Kitchen

The restaurant can make or break the mood for a perfect memorable encounter. We’re lucky in Atlanta to have thousands of choices for date-night dining. Here are some of my favorites.

A noteworthy first date, second date or anniversary restaurant is One Midtown Kitchen. It’s more gay during the week and very busy with straight suburbanites on weekends. The décor is stunning with lots of ambient cylinder lights and a big-budget corporate architectural scheme. I’ll admit like most gays, I’m a sucker glamorous décor. It’s a good conversation piece on dates.

One Midtown Kitchen isn’t cheap so it’s a perfect special occasion place. The handsome chef Drew VanLeuvan’s open stainless steel kitchen turns out artisanal American comforts like crispy braised pork shoulder with collards, as well as elegant dishes like curried pan-seared Nantucket sea scallops. I love sword fish and had it grilled with foraged mushrooms and root vegetable confit. It was succulent, white and meaty and, no, I won’t make the gratuitous gay joke.