Monday, March 8, 2010

A Not Really Quick Restautrant Review - Thumbs Up Diner

It was Saturday morning, first day of spring break and I was prepared to spend it vegging the hell out. Okay, I was going to figure out the completely undocumented off-season of Madden 2010 franchise mode at some point in the afternoon, but mostly it was going to be spent just letting my soul breathe. Then my phone buzzed.

Okay, for those who don't know, I've only ever heard my phone ring once in two years. The day I got it turned on, somebody who I'm not gonna name put her number in it and put it on vibrate, where it's been ever since. So my phone doesn't ring, it buzzes, which accounts for a number of missed calls if the phone isn't on my person or a hard surface.

It was Spur - old friend, new nickname. I've known Spur a decade or so now, from the original game nights out East of Atlanta. She is one of the few people who recognizes the other facets of my personality - the arty side, the wine drinker side, the eclectic side. She was the one was gonna take me to the bullfights that time. Anyway, much like Schmoopy...who I haven't spoken to in second 'cause she's so busy...Spur is on the once and while hangout just to keep in touch. We used to hang out so much and look so comfortable together, we've often been accused of being married.

But enough asides, she wants to do brunch on what turns out to be the first warm day in Atlanta at the venerable Thumbs Up Diner on Edgewood. I'm with it, so we agree to meet after her gym session at 11:30am.

For the uninitiated, what you see here is a horrible mistake. Saturdays in Atlanta in the Spring and Summer are simply made for brunch, that crucial weekend meal that you get when you oversleep because you can and still want breakfast food. And since people oversleep, then wander out around 10am looking for sustenance, anytime after 10:30 until say 1 in the afternoon you can give it up for going someplace without a twenty to thirty minute wait. And if the place is good, even longer. And for the record, Thumbs Up Diner is supposed to be good.

We find a park not too far away, and put our names on the list for a twenty minute wait, then because the space is small, take up our post outside with the other waiting patrons. We'd opted to sit at the counter if seats became available in the interest of time, and because Spur heard it was faster while trying to get our name on the list. Thumbs Up on Edgewood is a part of town that if five years will really be something, but right now is still finding its way. But they have some benches out front, and little spot on the side next to the hard to get into parking lot...and we didn't stay long because they called our name in like less than five minutes.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will note that as we were finishing up our meal sometime later, they called our party again. So in essence we stole somebody's seats. So don't get the impression saying you'll sit at the counter makes it go whoosh!

We sat at the counter - seats so close together I called it family style. I mean brushing up on folks. The space itself is industrial chic, with the prerequisite leather booths and curvy bar, with lots of exposed brick. It has that city diner feel it's supposed to have. The menu on the other hand is huge. Not Cheesecake Factory huge, but for a diner it's huge. Spur got the Catfish and grits and I opted for the Chicken and Belgian Waffles.

This is getting pretty long, but let say this...the food was outstanding! The waffle was thick, the hash browns were the sheaf not the strings, the chicken tenders looked cooked and not just "goldened", and the portions were huge.We left food on the table. Er...counter.

As we left, full and burping...and I say this warn those who follow, keep you group to four and under. I saw a group of eight walk up as Spur's name got called. We sat down, ordered, chatted, ate, chatted, and rolled out...and they were still there waiting. Big groups take a long time to seat. That said, a group with kids locked up two booths for must have been an hour and half in the back.

Bottom Line: I'm going back. But this time before 10am.

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