Guest Book

  Ria's Bluebird  
  421 Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA
(across from Oakland Cemetery)
  Mon. - Sat., 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  
Reviewed by:
  The Priestess  

Ria Pell opened this diner long before the recent additions of Six Feet Under next door and Mi Barrio a few blocks away. The first time a friend insisted we go to Riaís Bluebird for brunch on a Saturday, I didnít know what to think. We had to sit outside with a lot of hipper-than-thou scenesters for at least 45 minutes just to get in the door to the tiny diner, but I learned quickly why the place was so popular. Itís not just that Ria is a hot hunk of big olí dyke (hummina hummina). Itís not just that the waitrons are cooler than you ever dreamed you could be. Itís not just that the muzak is better than most any other place youíd go. And itís not that Riaís is vegetarian-friendly, though it definitely is. Itís simply that the food is absolutely delicious. I have never had a bad meal at Riaís Ė not once Ė and Iíve been going pretty regularly since I was first seduced two years ago.

The best meal at Riaís is breakfast/brunch, which is served all day. And you had better get there early on the weekends or be content to read the paper while you wait for a table to open up. The diner itself is very small (maybe ten tables and a handful of stools at the counter), but there is also space on the patio, weather permitting. My favorite meal is the brisket breakfast ($7), which consists of a helping of slightly spicy beef brisket in tomatoey stock with two poached eggs on top and French bread on the side (to sop up the yummy broth, of course). This is a wonderful breakfast spin on classic Jew food. However, everything on Riaís breakfast/brunch menu is divine. There is a daily omelette special ($7.50), and her homemade biscuits and course-ground grits are the best in Atlanta. Yes, even better than Crescent Moon!

Riaís lunch menu is a little on the frou-frou side, with such sandwiches as a tempeh reuben or a pepper turkey melt with caramelized onions, avocado, and baby swiss on grilled marble rye (each $7.50 with one side). There is always a soup du jour and a variety of salads to choose from. (Soup and salad, $6.) And there are also specials such as chicken pot pie ($8) or quesadillas ($7-$8). Whatever you choose to have for lunch, consider a side of rosemary, chick pea, and feta salad. Yummy!

Just as the hipsters sourly speculated would happen, Riaís is now drawing a business-class following from the downtown lunch crowd. I admit I was disappointed the first time I walked in to see coworkers in my favorite secret hiding place. But you know what? Yuppies are people, too. We all gotta eat. And Iím sure Ria knows that plastic from a leather billfold is just as good as crumpled cash from the bottom of your lunchbox purse.

Editor's Note:

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