Atlanta isn’t exactly known for its walkability, but there are plenty of little pockets in the metro area where you can park your car and try out several worthy bars and restaurants within a few blocks of each other. Try one of these self-guided food tours for a one-stop shop for dining and drinking.

Parsons Alley in Duluth

While Atlanta is possessed of any number of postcard-perfect town squares, one suburban downtown that has been wholly transformed in recent years is Duluth. In particular, the Parsons Alley development, a warren of shops, restaurants and public spaces at the corner of Main and West Lawrenceville streets, is a culinary destination in its own right. From oyster bars to coffee nooks, here’s a look.

Avalon in Alpharetta

Since opening in Alpharetta, Avalon has claimed its spot as one of the OTP hotspots to eat, shop, play and work. Many intown concepts — like Antico Pizza Napoletana, Bantam + Biddy, Bocado Burger and Farm to Ladle — have made their OTP debut here, seizing a market that was ripe for the taking: affluent and cultured residents living in the north Fulton burbs who are craving on-trend, intown dining experiences minus the drive.

College Park

Eating in College Park is an all-chill, no-frills experience. Nothing about this place is contrived. Rather, it’s a refreshing pocket of Atlanta, one filled with people who couldn’t care less about the tragically hip — and overpriced — Inman Quarter, or the glitz and glamour of Buckhead. Here, it is locals, and perhaps airport workers, just looking to fill up.

East Point

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the First Baptist Church in East Point was a filming location for “Stranger Things.” This city located just southwest of Atlanta and bordering Hartsfield-Jackson airport is full of character. In its historic downtown district, on streets like White Way and East Point, Sunday churchgoers waiting to get into places like Thumbs-Up Diner may share the sidewalk with panhandlers. There’s no high-brow dining here, but who needs that when you’ve got dinky shack Taco Pete? Good grub? Most of the time. Attitude? Always. Here are seven dishes that match the spunk of this city.


Food gems in this city range from a back-when soda fountain inside a fourth-gen pharmacy to ethnic eateries that line both sides of the railroad tracks running through the center of town to a historic Chick-fil-A with a Disney-esque dwarf door.

Castleberry Hill

Residents of Castleberry Hill need no reminder that the eat-drink-be-merry scene in their neck of the woods has picked up momentum. But when was the last time you stuffed your face in this storied downtown neighborhood?


In fact, between 1980 and 1990, the city lost half its white population. By the 1990s, Clarkston had been designated by asylum programs as a perfect place for refugee resettlement. On each visit home, I barely recognized it anymore. Only the buildings remained the same. Lord’s moved, then sold the pharmacy; the bank became a church. My great-grandmother’s house, where my father was born, was sold to the Methodist church.

Lunch in downtown Atlanta

Good luck, trying it all. I thought I’d taken a pretty thorough tour after spending several days scouting out the best lunches, but after I was done I got an email tipping me off to a Latin place that I’d skipped, Buenos Dias Cafe. She said the pupusas were great. Maybe next time.

Pat Mell Shopping Center

The first thing you’ll notice at Pat Mell Shopping Center, a little strip mall on the northeast corner of Pat Mell Road and South Cobb Drive in Marietta, is the remarkable number of taxi cabs.

Where idling taxis are found, good, cheap food often is nearby.

Peachtree Pavilion in Doraville

A burgeoning Atlanta food mecca sits quietly in Doraville, nestled among car dealerships and barricaded from easy access by I-285. Peachtree Pavilion, better known as the home of Super H Mart and BrandsMart USA, is home to an exciting lineup of restaurants and food purveyors that belie the shopping center’s generic name.

Memorial Drive in Grant Park and Reynoldstown

Beyond the hassles of construction detours and traffic jams, there’s an enticing new wave of bars and restaurants to discover along a roughly mile-and-a-half stretch between Bill Kennedy Way and Hill Street.

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