I am in love. Madly, crazy in love. It’s sort of disgusting.
So when my love whisked me away to Atlanta for a weekend to meet his entire fam, my blinders were full on and I didn’t get nervous until I left for the airport. And then I got really, really nervous.
No, it wasn’t the flying this time. It was stepping off the plane and into 48 hours of familial judgment (which, in the end, was all in my head).
I tried to alleviate my fears by doing what I do best: planning like a true Type A. To Yelp! To the visitor guides! What are the top things to do in a city that I have flown and driven through, oh, 125,335,532 times, but never actually stopped in?!
Being slightly manic in college about Gone With The Wind (yes, I’m totally one of those girls), I decided that top of my list was the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum. I just had to see where she had written that book.
But before I dragged my boyfriend through said museum, I had booked us for brunch at a spot in Midtown that I found on Yelp. Babs, it said, has a lot of personality. “Vivacious servers with strong opinions,” in fact. Reviews were mixed, but the menu looked fab online and it was within walking distance to the Margaret Mitchell Museum, so we gave it a shot.
The restaurant’s branding is inviting. “A great place to gather,” it says from the outside. But when you walk in, there’s a sign that reads ‘No whining!’, and while the dining room is comfortable and sort of unstructured, you quickly realize the servers are sassy, witty, and in control.
Each Sunday for brunch, Babs serves up a different themed menu, and that particular Sunday it was a Fourth of July-meets-running theme, I guess, because the 10K that runs through downtown Atlanta on the Fourth of July is a pretty big deal (read: the biggest in the country).
I ordered a mimosa. “I don’t know what time it is in your world, sweetheart, but here in Georgia we don’t serve booze until 12:30,” Randy, our eccentric server (and, I learned later, the owner) quipped at me.
Instead, he brought us the day’s elixir, which was like a nonalcoholic purple sangria full of fruit. Turns out, they concoct a different fresh elixir each day, and the drink is packed with fruits high in antioxidants, creating a flavor that can stand on its own or accompany alcohol well.
Later, he brought us mini bottles of champs to pour into them, which was perfect, and better than any plain orange mimosa.
I ordered the pizza special that wasn’t on the menu. It was, quite simply, amazing. The pazet was a house-made pita that was pressed to be toasty. On top, melted, lemon-scented mascarpone cheese, covered with in-house-smoked prosciutto. All that, topped with eggs over easy, and some frisée with lemon vinaigrette. I didn’t want to share.
My love ordered the falafel wrap. The falafel is also homemade, and topped with tzatziki sauce and served with lettuce and tomato. First time I’ve had falafel in a tortilla wrap, and it was rather tasty, but my pizza won the cake.
He also ordered special side dishes to his liking: scrambled eggs with cheese, and grits on the side. It was no problem fulfilling this special request, and the grits were great.
I also ordered a side of gazpacho, which was a tiny ramekin packed with fresh watermelon and cucumber, colored peppers and fresh herbs from the garden.
Turns out, Randy grows tons of herbs and spices in the tiny garden outside the restaurant’s little patio. Grape vines are growing up the fence dividing the patio from the parking lot, and the fresh grapes and peppers are struggling to grow under the Hotlanta sun.
Right now, he told us, about 10 percent of the restaurant’s herbs and spices come from that garden. But in the first week of August, about 30 percent of what’s served in Babs is fresh from just outside the steps.
I liked the place. It was tiny, cluttered, and dusty … but it had personality, a true foundation of farm-to-table (or parking-lot-to-table, shall we say), and really delicious food. Randy even refilled our elixirs in plastic roadies for our trek to the Margaret Mitchell Museum.
The Bitches say: A. The food is just as great as the personality of the place (and its quirky employees!). Don’t go with your parents, or if you’re easily offended.
814 Juniper St
Atlanta, GA 30308